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Dated: Jun. 26, 2013

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Windows Vista
Product Reviews

What is wrong with the Alt+Tab routine in Windows? Nothing! Especially if you are using Vista or Windows 7. On a blurred background you get a neatly displayed windows of active programs together with fitting thumbnails and names. If you hold your finger on the key Alt there is a mouse that steps in the play – by parking the cursor above any thumbnail the content of the screen appears in the background (in the full screen regime), so it is clear to you what is going on.

The author of the program, the programmer group NTWind Software, thought that it is not enough, so they gave their opinion of things. The program is was once created as a fulfillment of the Vistas Alt+Tab routine, but you can freely say that it is used in Windows 7 and XP. Finally, there is the native 64-bit version of the program, respectively the possibility to deactivate it in the case that you want to go back to the default routine. At first glance, the VistaSwitcher doesn't bring many new things. After pressing the well known combination of keys a special form appears in where you can find a list of all active programs. The difference is in that the preview display is much larger that in the case of the Microsoft solution and it takes up a lot of space on the screen. Admittedly, the content of the screen is not rendered in the background and it is possible to see it only in the work form of the switcher, and that justifies the dimensions of the window.

Furthermore, the programs are aligned in a row, presented in large icons and their original names. We have no remarks about this organization, especially that the understandable process doesn't change much, and it still brings improved visibility and comfort. As the programs are aligned in a row, traveling between them is done vertically instead of horizontally.VistaSwitcher 1.1.5

Holding the Alt key will bring the mouse, but there is a catch. Namely, the mouse doesn't serve only for fats switching between programs, but it also brings the possibility of using a context menu. That means that the right mouse button is active, with which you call an extra menu with options. Using the function Minimize, Maximize, Restore and even deactivating the programs is enabled. The menu with the settings reveals that the VistaSwitcher has a few more aces up it's sleeve. For example, you can activate the sticky regime, that keeps the window with the running programs open on the screen even after you let go of the Alt key. The form disappears only after you choose the desired programs or click the mouse on the desktop.

There is the support for working in multimonitor environment, where you have the possibility to choose where on the monitor the dialog will be shown. Furthermore, the preview can show only a part of the window or the whole desktop. Finally, we should point out that there is a option of calling and managing the mouse exclusively. When it is activated, the work form, instead of pressing the combination Alt+Tab, is called by holding the right key on the mouse and by moving the scroll wheel up and down. For the end we should mention that the VistaSwitcher offers scrolling between windows of the same application (for example, Word document) – it is necessary to press the combination of keys Alt+`.

M.B.

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