Thursday, May 15, 2008

Review: DExpose2 OSX Expose-Like Feature for Windows

DExpose2 is an application for Windows that brings forth Expose-like features to Windows. For those that don't know, Expose is a feature on Macs that let you view all the open windows at once, resized to fit the entire screen. Here's the feature running on a Macbook, as well as DExpose2 running on an EEE PC

This was always a cool feature in Macs that was a different approach to switching from window to window from Windows' alt-tab (see here for the best Alt-Tab replacement for Windows), and it's cool to see someone try it for Windows. But how well does it get the job done?

First thing's first: DExpose2 works pretty much out of the box. Hitting F11 engages the tool, and it even offers other options that add to its interactivity. From the looks of it, DExpose works by essentially taking a screenshot of all the open windows and renders those individual screenshots whenever you hit F11.

It's an extremely novel solution and one I wouldn't have imagined as a way to do this for Windows. Unfortunately, as a result, it's not as seamless as the way this works for Macs. As you know, I haven't had the most luck with taking screenshots in Windows since I began running three monitors at once, so DExpose2 would routinely chug whenever I hit F11. Worse, to save rendering time, you can also set DExpose2 to take window screenshots periodically, or whenever the window view changes. If you're on any window that changes constantly, like a browser, this will prove quite the hassle. I routinely had Windows explorer chug on me every time I went into a new window.

It also doesn't help that it takes up way too much memory, around 20-35 megabytes of RAM. When Taskswitch XP takes up less than 1 megabyte and also offers window previews, DExpose2 is just unacceptable.

I tried DExpose2 before it was recently featured on Lifehacker, but I was surprised they would endorse a product as resource intensive as this. Sure, my computer isn't the fastest out there, but such a small addition to your operating system should never come at such great a price. When it comes to switching windows, I'm gonna pass on DExpose2 and stick with Taskswitch XP.

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