Description : DM2 is a very configurable window manipulation tool which incorporates itself into your every day use of computers. Extremely useful for any and every user. Also includes an assortment of plugins which aim to make your computing life easier, and succeed. Desktop Mate. It sure is, both yours and mine.
This is one of those bits of freeware which after a while, you forget you even installed DM2. Its only when your using another computer, get confused, and ask the owner why the middle click on the minimize button isn’t rolling up the window. After they get confused, you are reminded that its that wonderful DM2 program you have on your machine, and whip out your USB with it on. (oh yeh, DM2 portable too, hooray!).
Incase you haven’t guessed yet, I’m quite fond of this little app. Its rare that software this good is free, but hey, I guess its our lucky day. The image for this one was a tad hard, as it does so many different things. The about window is a safe bet I thought. As you can see from the left hand menu, it doesn’t appear to have many settings. I can assure you, that each section is cram packed with useful options and settings to make handling windows easier.
Before I continue on to explain the features in detail, I think I should give you an overview of the different features it contains. There is a function called Minimize to floating icon, which is very handy, and a unique feature of DM2! Also minimize to tray, which is rather neat. Two more are hiding the window and aligning and resizing to set sizes of percentage’s of the screen size. Another big feature for me is the enhanced system menu (also known as title menu). Right clicking on the title bar will show extra items on the drop down menu. These items are, to floating icon, minimize to tray and always on top. There are also two sub menus of opacity and process priority.
Normally, the beginning would be the best place to start. I wouldn’t agree with DM2 though, as its trade mark feature (minimize to floating icon) isn’t my favourite.
In fact, it’s one of the little plugins that comes bundled with the download. I really love the roll window up and down feature. It means with a middle click on the minimize button of any window (or any other mouse button and window button), the window “rolls up” or down. Its effectively resizing the window so only the taskbar shows. Clever, but extremely useful and effective. It keeps the window on your desktop, while allowing you to see around it.
As you may have guessed, I have an aversion to using the task bar if I can help it. (which quite often I can’t). Before I go off on a big rant about how much I hate it, I’ll try and re focus on the reasons I love DM2 so much.
My personal favourite feature is called “actions” by DM2. This allows you to use any combination of keys Ctrl, Shift and Alt, with any of the following mouse buttons (middle and right) to perform “actions” when clicking the minimize, maximize and close button of any window. That or may not sound a bit confusing, but have a look at the image to your right, and you should understand it better. I shan’t list all the actions, as you can see them in the image, however a few of my favourites include minimize to tray, minimize to floating icon, hide window, increase and decrease window opacity and Roll up / down.
I often find I want to use one of my desktop shortcuts to a folder or to launch something. Or maybe I want to see my desktop calendar, or I may even want to just use it later but keep it in view. At this point, I middle click on the minimize button in the window, and it rolls up, so only the title bar of the window is visible. If you’ve read this far, and now your scrolling for that download button, just hold on a bit, keep reading.
Ok, another instance where this little app kicks ass. Say your using your computer, and you set a virus scan or defrag going (or anything really), and someone else needs to use the computer for just a mo. Problem. If you minimize it, they may open it, and do something! ANYTHING! (which, lets face it, will probably waste the last 3 hours its been going). You can just simply right click on the close button (or what ever command you set), to hide the window. Now its HIDDEN! And no one is going to bring it back, unless they right click on the DM2 icon in the taskbar, and restore all windows. Handy? I think so.
One of the other main features which I really find useful on a day to day basis, is the additional favourites menu it adds to open and save dialog box’s. It works with the standard dialog box’s, however some programs override the default dialog box’s. which DM2 doesn’t support. You can manually add directories to this favourites menu, which can then be accessed from standard dialog box’s. This is really helpful. I use it access the directory for the images I use on this blog, my coursework, and downloaded files.
More on the floating icons. There are quite a number of options for them. These include positing, opacity, colours and size. Custom settings are a bit vague, however exceptions are rather self explanatory.
Finally, Hot keys are easily customisable for any of the commands from DM2. The parameters for the plugins aren’t clear, however the website provides a list of parameters to be used depending on what you required the action. If you want to check out what the author says about each of its features, you can also look on the website. I used to use a keyboard shortcut to open and close my disk drive, as it was right at the back of the desk. (RATHER annoying)
Conclusion : Despite not being updated from early 2007, I still cant do without it. Some of the features do not work 100%, and a few more features don’t work with Vista (reported to work mostly). The source is open under GPL, so I should hope that soon someone will use the code to update this brilliant piece of freeware. Lets hope.