|SysTray utility for systems running
multiple monitors to define wallpapers / backgrounds for each display or
stretch an image across all diplays in a panoramic. Tested with XP and
Since Windows Vista and higher does not support Active Desktop or any features like it,
you're forced (currently) to stare at the same background image across all your
displays. It's not possible to define multiple backgrounds for multiple
monitors or stretch a single image across all monitors...until now. Vistas is a
SysTray resident utility that detects multiple monitor setups and attempts to
give users the ability to do just this.
Vistas allows you to take images like this one (2560x1024)
member grafixeye :
...and display them like this...
...or you can define different backgrounds for each screen
Once you have backgrounds defined, you can right click on any
of them to get the context menu popup:
PLEASE NOTE: While Vistas allows one to define different wallpapers for
each monitor (or stretch one across all of them in a panoramic style), it is
just another window. To that effect, these windows end up covering up the
standard Microsoft Windows desktop and the shortcuts contained on it.
Please read the Background section below for my reply
in this regard.
It's Windows-based, open source (GNU),
and solely written, maintained, hosted, and supported by me, Sean Shrum. Source code is written with
AutoIT (.au3) and the
most recent version can be found via the source link in the navbar above. If you're just looking for the latest binary build, it can be downloaded from
the binary link in the navbar above. Click
to get my list of AutoIT tools.
I run 3 monitors (details
here). When I was running Windows XP, I used XP's Active Desktop feature to
create multiple 'background' windows that would display different images on
each. With the release of Vista and my migration thereto, I've found that
Active Desktop is (at the time of this writing) not available.
As I had just finished programming my
Relocate utility (a
SysTray application for repositioning and moving windows across multiple
monitors via hotkeys), I had code that allowed me to detect various display info
including the number of monitors, their sizes and locations, etc. Using that
code for detecting monitors, I sat down and kicked out Vistas (at first I
called it MultiMon, then Backgrounds, finally ending up with
Vistas...get it...Vistas for Vista). While Vistas allows one to
define different wallpapers for each monitor (or stretch one across all of them
in a panoramic style), it is just another window. To that effect, these windows
end up covering up the standard Microsoft Windows desktop and the shortcuts
contained on it. The Windows Taskbar still will appear above the Vistas
background so taskbar functionality remains intact. As a workaround to this,
you can turn on the 'Desktop' toolbar on the taskbar to gain access to the
shortcuts on your desktop.
When I started writing Vistas, I wasn't looking to replicate the shell. I
just wanted an easy way to allow me to change the wallpapers of each screen.
Due to this design decision, certain features were omitted, like the presence of
desktop shortcuts. As I personally tend to disable the "Icons on desktop"
feature as it just clutters up my screen, I had no need for this functionality.
I opt to use the taskbar and the quick launch toolbar to place my shortcuts on.
I did make an effort to create a right-click context menu for accessing display
property dialogs but it's not dynamic (like the Windows desktop context menu)
but it gets the job done for me.
Sooner or later (most likely much later), Microsoft will catch on that they
need to build in some multi-monitor utility support and will incorporate
features like Vistas and Relocate into
the Windows shell directly (one can only hope).
Simply launch Vistas (or put a shortcut in your startup to have it launch
every time your system boots up). Vistas will detect your screen(s)
resolution and match it to a saved setting in the registry. If not match
is found, Vistas will inform you that a new resolution has been detected and
prompt you for new wallpapers for each screen.
Q. Where are all my desktop icons?
While Vistas allows one to define different wallpapers for each monitor
(or stretch one across all of them in a panoramic style), it is just another
window. To that effect, these windows end up covering up the standard
Microsoft Windows desktop and the shortcuts contained on it. The
Windows Taskbar still will appear above the Vistas background so taskbar
functionality remains intact.
Q. Is there another way to get to my desktop icons?
Yes. You can turn on the 'Desktop' toolbar on the taskbar to gain access
to the shortcuts that reside on your desktop.
Q. What file formats does Vistas support?
Jpeg, GIF, and BMP
Q. I tried defining a background and got a grey screen. What now?
Some files are in a format or size that Vistas has a hard time reading.
Save / shrink these files to either JPG, GIF, or BMP and redefine the
background. I've run into this as well and this worked for me. To redefine
a different background (since the context menu work be working at this point
on the monitor in question), use the CTRL+ALT+V hotkey and use the
Background Selection dialog and make your adjustments.
Q. I just changed my screen resolution and now the backgrounds don't line
For now, simply exit Vistas and restart it. I may code in some sort of
resolution monitoring later if it doesn't eat up to much CPU resources.
Q. What are profiles?
Profiles are saved Vistas settings that can be loaded either via Vistas
menus or by double-clicking on them (in Windows Explorer). This allows you
to save your favorite desktop configurations for easy recall later without
having to redefine all your screen backgrounds again.
Q. Where do you get your wallpapers from?
I'm a heavy deviant-user...ergo I use
(art, photos, sci-fi, fantasy) for almost all my images as these tend to be
art-medium based and sci-fi fantasy.
Flickr.com is yet
another images site but is primarily photo-based. Ultimately, it doesn't
matter where the images come from, just as long as you like it.
Q. Where's a good place to get panoramic images?
On-line photo / art sites are great for this sort of stuff. As more
people start using widescreen / multiple monitors, this will become the next
hot commodity. For now,
suits my need (this
link will take you to Deviantart with a search filter for
'widescreen'). If your looking for photo-base material for your panoramics,
Flickr.com would be
another source (this
link will get you to Flickr's panorama pool)
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, etc., please make sure to
Support & Legal page first.
If you question is not answered after reading that page, feel free to use the
Support button / Systray menu in my applications to submit a request. I welcome all input and hope you find my