A few weeks ago I wrote a post about a free alternative to the multi-screen manager called Ultramon. If you haven’t read that post, I talk about a free tool called Zbar. Right after that post a co-worker of mine told me about another tool that I actually think is way better.
His tool is open source, and is designed for use with Windows 7 and Windows Vista only. His is a little more simple than Zbar though as it only provides an additional taskbar for your monitor. This task bar is better than Zbar’s though as it seamlessly blends in with whatever theme you are running in Windows. In that respect it is more like Ultramon’s task bar. The tool is called Dual Monitor Taskbar.
Here are some features:
- Taskbar on the second monitor
- Pinned programs
- Aero support
- Window manager
- Mirror mode
- Notification area
- Start Button (BETA)
For me, that is the biggest thing I like about Ultramon. I just can’t stand multiple monitors without a taskbar on them. If it were up to me, this is the perfect alternative, but for some of you it’s not enough. That’s because Ultramon also manages wallpapers for dual screens. Windows 7 natively supports extra long wallpapers that spread across both monitors. All you have to do is select your double size wallpaper, and change the picture position to Tile. If you want separate pictures, Ultramon will do that for you but Dual Monitor TaskBar will not.
For you wallpaper freaks, I have something you can use too. It’s called Wallpaper Manager, which is also free. It will not only allow you to use long wallpapers, but will also allow you to use different wallpapers on each monitor. Hell, not only that, it will also cycle through multiple wallpapers automatically!
Here is a list of features:
- Applies multiscreen wallpapers over all monitors.
- Applies multiple single screen wallpapers (one for each monitor) and offers three different cycle modes.
- Allows automatic cycling of wallpapers in an given interval.
- Adds new wallpapers automatically by watching one or more folders for changes.
- Allows to define a priority for each wallpaper for a better cycle control.
- Offers five different placement modes to make each wallpaper fit well on the screen.
- Provides several additional display settings like margins or simple effects like mirroring or flipping.
- Cycles wallpapers only on specified day times if configured (like cycling one wallpaper only in the morning, one in the evening etc).
- Can draw text overlays over applied wallpapers to show useful information (like the name of the current wallpaper, the computer name, the system's up time etc)
- Offers special Windows 7 features like displaying the time until the next cycle in the application's overlay icon in the Task Bar.
- Modern easy-to-use user interface.
- Open source project without any advertisement.
True, it would be nice for these features to be an all-in-one solution like Ultramon and Zbar, but for free you really can’t beat this dynamic duo.