I hang out over in the Donation Coder forum from time to time because there are a lot of people over there who have discovered some extremely useful apps. One example of this just happened a few weeks ago when Nighted, a member of the forum, pointed out a great freeware utility called ThumbWin (Google Translation to English).
Seeing that all of the screenshots were in Japanese, I decided to try the program out myself so that I could fully understand what it was capable of doing. I was rather impressed after I got it installed (English is the default language of the program), and it took me no time at all to get the gist of the program. With it, anytime a window is minimized there is a thumbnail generated for it on your desktop:
Note: This program works with both Windows XP and Vista.
I’m sure I have your attention now because it isn’t everyday that you see a program do something like this. I’ve got a video demonstration posted below, but before I get into that I thought I would walk through some of the features. Most of the things I’m about to mention can be enabled/disabled in the settings, which will also be covered later on.
- Drag-and-drop arranging – This could be a lot of fun if you have a dozen or so windows open. ;)
- Close and Restore buttons – You’ll notice in the corner of all the thumbnails are two buttons for closing and restoring that specific window.
- Exclusion list – Pick and choose which programs you don’t want to show up in the thumbnails. There’s a screenshot of this below in the Settings section.
- Customizable thumbnail size – Choose what size you want the thumbnails to be, ranging from 64 pixels up to 300 pixels.
- “Bring to Front” – This will overlay a transparent background on top of your entire desktop. On top of the background will be every window that you have open, not just the ones that are minimized.
- Multi-monitor support – The thumbnails can be set to show up on a secondary monitor that is connected to the computer.
- Pick a shortcut, any shortcut – You can designate keyboard shortcuts to do a variety of things, such as thumbnail (a.k.a. minimize) all open windows.
There are a lot of different settings that you can configure, including keyboard shortcuts, thumbnail size, and which programs should be excluded from the thumbnails. It’s all in the options:
The best way to demonstrate the features of ThumbWin is with a video, so before you head on over and get it setup checkout what it really has to offer. The thumbnails may appear a little jumpy in the video, but I attribute that to the low frame rate.