Need help and ideas for a new desktop management addon

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Mrs Peel
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Need help and ideas for a new desktop management addon

Post by Mrs Peel » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:08 pm

Hiya addon gurus, inf magicians and tweak artists,

I am wanting to build a custom addon pack that addresses two of my major windoze annoyances in one fail swoop. First I'll explain my annoyance:

I always set up my desktop so that my taskbar is at the top of the screen. I sometimes find myself having to work on a mac (with my graphics design work) and I have always liked the idea of having the taskbar at the top - plus it makes it easier for me (mentally) on the times that I have to switch between systems.

The ongoing annoyance with this is that many applications do not properly recognise the 0/0 co-ordinate of the top left of the screen as starting directly below the top taskbar and every time you re-open the application it places itself underneath the top taskbar and is a total pain up the butt to have to haul the thing out of there back into my proper desktop area.

I have tried various tweaks and third party tools over the years to try and compensate for this windoze problem (too many to list here I am afraid) but none of them has ever been user friendly and some of them conflict with my nVidia dual desktop setup (I have a dual-vga gfx card running twin monitors - but I do not always have the 2nd monitor active, unless I am doing particular video-editing jobs).

The other major annoyance for me (which MIGHT in actual fact be related to my above-mentioned annoyance) is that many apps I use tile their windows - even when I have tried to configure them to do otherwise - and I want to be able to force them to open in exactly the same location every time, even when they do not have a reg setting to "remember last window position".

So in a nutshell, I am looking for possible registry hacks.... OR a combination of registry hacks AND some reliable third party desktop management utility.... that I can put together as a custom "Manage Desktop Display Addon" - specifically targeted towards the needs of users who like their taskbar at the top of their screen and which disables windoze tiling.

This idea is currently at the "proof of concept" stage - well really I am asking for your help to prove if this concept is actually possible - so I am interested in any feedback y'all might have to offer on what to include and how I might approach the construction of such an addon.

Thanks for reading!
Last edited by Mrs Peel on Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Mitsuko Aninikkou » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:26 pm

Without looking into it, I'll say one solution would be a kernel hook (I guess.. right term?) that intercepts CreateWindow and CreateWindowEx messages when a process is created, and changes them to open windows away from the taskbar, or to specific locations if it's a process you specified to open at a specific place. I don't know how to do any of that, but it should be possible.

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Post by Mrs Peel » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:42 pm

Sounds like and interesting concept Mitsuko, but the prize winning question is would this kind of tweak/hack be possible to apply using an inf installer? Hrmmmmm :?

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Post by Zacam » Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:40 pm

How about shell replacements? Litestep is configurable in such a way that it's basic desktop management should accomplish what you need and all it's configuration files are in plain text. And it can be installed via an addon.

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Post by Mitsuko Aninikkou » Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:31 pm

A full shell replacement seems excessive to me. I don't see any reason why such a program couldn't be installed using an inf installer, but I don't know what form it would take.

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Post by Mrs Peel » Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:18 pm

Mitsuko Aninikkou wrote:A full shell replacement seems excessive to me.
Yeh I agree with ya there :wink:

I have found a temporary solution to the titlebar-under-taskbar portion of my problem in the discovery of Yz Shadow, but it's overkill to my ultimate requirements and quite a resource hog considering I only have the one needed feature enabled.

I've also been investigating the problem from another angle in the possibilities of Hawkeye ShellInit, but the scripting of it is looking somewhat like rocket science to me at the moment and I'm not sure if I would be able to code it to some kind of generic setting (eg: prevent application windows opening in the top 28px of the screen where the taskbar resides) that would be suitable for a publically released addon :?

I've since realised that my other windoze annoyance is not actually "tiling" - what I am trying to stop is "cascading" of windows on each next new instance. Try opening and closing a file properties window a few times and observe how each new time it offsets to the left and bottom by approx 28px each time - so before long the damned thing is opening itself on the bottom right hand corner of your screen.

I'm damned if I can find anything ANYWHERE regarding stopping this ultra-annoying windoze default behaviour which drives me insane in my addon work - cos it effects two of my most used app windoze over a usual workday that do this cascading thing - win file properties and jCarles compression bin grrrrrrrrrrrr.

I've unearthed quite a few search references with googling about disabling this cascading issue on Mac platform - but not a sausage about it relating to windows - not even on my usual trusty tech sites like NeoWin and Annoyances.org.

The only references I can find which even remotely resemble a solution to my windoze cascading issue all involve scripting fixed window positioning for each individual app and I simply do not want to do that - I need to address this from a "disable default behaviour" perspective.

Still hoping some clever geek will read this and maybe be able to offer me some alternative creative ideas to point me in the right direction here.

Cheers for reading and all your replies :)

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Post by newsposter » Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:22 pm

have you looked at desktop sidebar? The dev space there is pretty open and 'extensible'. There might be room there for an implementation of what you want to do without wholly reinventing the wheel.

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Post by Mrs Peel » Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:27 pm

Can desktop "sidebar" be positioned where the top taskbar is?

I am already struggling for desktop space as it is (and sometimes even have to fire up my dual monitor to cope with my multi-tasking madness) so I don't want to be running anything that a) takes up extra space or b) gobbles any more than 2Mb of extra RAM (this Yz Shadow is sucking nearly 6Mb grrrrrrrrr)

It would help if you gave me a link too please, cos I am not familiar with the commonly used pretty-up-your-desktop utilities (I'm a bare bones system kinda gal)

Cheers ;)

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Post by newsposter » Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:44 pm


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Post by TechnoHunter » Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:25 pm

not sure if you will be able to track this down or not MrsP but i found reference to a prog that sounds exactly like what you are lookin for by searching "change new window placement microsoft" on google.

link follows here

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Post by Mrs Peel » Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:35 am

OK, I checked both of those out.

Desktop Sidebar is a "sidebar" and it is bloated to hell and a screen real estate hog - I need lean simple solution.

WinSize does not save settings when an app is exited - which seems like a waste of time to me if you have to reset your size each time you open an app (especially when Sizer can save those settings). Also WinSize is not free and can't preserve window placements.

Ackkkk I'm gonna have to try and get my head around this Hawkeye ShellInit thingee I guess :cry:

Thanks for the input chaps and please keep the ideas coming.... ;)

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