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Display Fusion Review: Strech the Taskbar and Increase Productivity

February 5, 2011DavidReviews, Utilities0

I’ve been using multiple monitors for around the last ten years, and one of the most frustrating limitation of Windows (Windows 95 through Windows 7 so far) is that there is no native support for extending your taskbar.  So I worked for a long time, managing my two monitors and their windows by hand, and leaving all of the minimized programs on the primary monitor.    Then one day I downloaded a trial of Display Fusion (actually for my laptop and my external monitor – but more about that later), and I haven’t look back since.  To tell you that Binary Fortress’ Display Fusion seamlessly and easily extends the Windows taskbar across two monitors is in itself enough to justify the low $25 price tag of the software.  But I won’t stop here — Display Fusion can do so much more.

Extending the Windows Taskbar

In my office I have a dual monitor setup as well as a laptop attached to an external monitor.  Now normally I keep the laptop closed and just pump out the video to the external monitor.  But one day I was working on a complex spreadsheet and I needed some more real estate — so I decided to try Display Fusion to help me manage the taskbar.  So I downloaded and installed Display Fusion.  Once you install the software an icon is added, and you can right-click to bring up a context menu:

df_menu

To extend the taskbar I simply clicked Multi-Monitor Taskbar choice and enabled it in the menu:

df_multimon

Note you can also set the program to start up when you start up your machine so you have your extended taskbar present without doing thing!

TitleBar Buttons

So there I was working away with my extended taskbar, enjoying the fact that the right monitor taskbar (the extended portion) actually “knew” which windows were on that monitor.  So since I was using Firefox in my second screen (the right screen), when I minimized it, the minimized application minimized into the right taskbar.

I then maximized Firefox from the right taskbar — and of course it restored to the right monitor — and I noticed a button at the top of the Firefox title bar.

df_corner

Now I’m a guy that doesn’t like clutter or extra button in my title bars.  But before I decided to go under the hood and remove the button I figured I’d see what the button does.  When I clicked the button it automatically moved the window to the other monitor — in the exact position and size it was in the previous monitor.  And while this feature didn’t impress me at first, once I began multi-tasking again I realized that instead of having to drag windows from one monitor to another, I could simply push the button to achieve the same goal.

Wallpaper and Wallpaper Profiles

I thought that I was the only one who really liked rotating customized wallpaper — until I saw that Display Fusion ALSO lets you not only select what images (yes, a group of images) you want for your wallpaper (among other features you see in the image below):

df_images

but you can set wallpaper PROFILES! Yes — PROFILES!

So not only can you select a group of images for your wallpaper (along with the position and the scaling)  but you can chose to have different sets of images.  So you can create a profile for pictures of your kids and a profile for wallpaper pictures of your favorite sports team — and then quickly switch back to your kids when your sports team suffers an embarrassing loss.

Conclusion

If you’ve been working with dual monitors (and if you aren’t you should be), and you haven’t used a product like Display Fusion then you are missing out.  You can see the full feature list at http://www.displayfusion.com/Features/
at you can download a free trial at the site as well.  Once you use Display Fusion you’ll wonder how you ever worked without it.

Disclosure.  I originally approached Binary Fortress about about writing a review of Display Fusion Pro.  I was given a free license to use the product.

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