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Has anyone here heard of or used a tool called Fences? http://www.stardock.com/products/fences/

I read about it on another discussion board, but its not a board I trust for computer stuff (it's a board for tax professionals).

I often connect remotely to my desktop computer. Doing so usually messes up the organization of my desktop icons. It looks like this program would keep my icons organized.

On my old XP system, I used a bit of freeware called Desktop Icon Restore. That worked well for me, but it hasn't been updated to run on Windows 7 (I'm on the 64 bit Professional version, in case it matters.)

--Peter <== adopted Windows 7 just in time for Windows 8 to be released
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Peter while my primary PC is a Mac, I do support some Windows boxes and think I can shed some light on a couple of items.

Peter <== adopted Windows 7 just in time for Windows 8 to be released

I am so glad you were lucky Peter. From my personal exposure/testing of Win8 over the spring and summer, I informed the folks I would not support or mess with Win8. Additionally the actual sales and adoption figures show the adoption of Win8 to be much slower than Win7.

I never heard of Fences before. But you commented that remote connection causes issues with the icons on your Desktop. My wife regularly connects to PCs remotely using LogMeIn and has not reported any such issues. She certainly can move, create or delete icons - but that is not what I understand is your issue. My wife uses the free version of LogMeIn.

Gordon
Atlanta
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Has anyone here heard of or used a tool called Fences?

Yes I've been using it now for about 18 months. No problems. It provides a method of organizing my desktop that just fits my needs.

Just FYI. If you double-click in an unused area of the desktop, that signals Fences to hide all of your icons. Another double-click brings them back. Quite worrisome the first time it happened.

Chuck
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Has anyone here heard of or used a tool called Fences?

I have a few friends who use it and I myself had it installed for a short time. If you keep your files and folders in a well organized system, I see little need for it.

I personally have mostly shortcuts on my desktop pointing to separate files or folders I often use. Fences is a program to help you do sort of the same thing. And if you are now using Windows 7 you already have a powerful organization tool in Windows "Libraries." Libraries help you gather files and folders into specialized groups without actually moving them from there original location. That way files or folders can be a part of more than one library, even though the actual file is located in one place.

Kurt
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She certainly can move, create or delete icons - but that is not what I understand is your issue.

Correct. At the office, I have organized my desktop icons in a way that makes sense to me. But when I connect remotely (I use Remote Desktop Connection that comes with Windows), it puts all of the icons in alphabetical order (or in order by date created, or something like that). Worse, when I get back to the office and work on that computer directly, the icons remain in that new order.

I have no problem adding, changing or deleting icons when connected remotely.

--Peter
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Yes I've been using it now for about 18 months. No problems. It provides a method of organizing my desktop that just fits my needs.

Thanks - I was hoping there was a satisfied user or two out there.

And thanks for the warning about how it works. Seeing all of the icons disappear would certainly be distressing.

--Peter
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And if you are now using Windows 7 you already have a powerful organization tool in Windows "Libraries."

I haven't taken the time yet to play around with Libraries. I'm sure there's some use for it, but I can't see it. I'm probably too stuck in the physical world, where things can only be filed in one place.

--Peter
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"Has anyone here heard of or used a tool called Fences? http://www.stardock.com/products/fences/ "

Read discusussions on it elsewhere and it looks interesting. Never used it myself but have considered it one of those "if I get a free moment to mess around" kinda options...that list has gotten long and days seem short. I guess I'd try it in a VM Windows installation sandbox before my on primary systems.
B
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I haven't taken the time yet to play around with Libraries. I'm sure there's some use for it, but I can't see it. I'm probably too stuck in the physical world, where things can only be filed in one place.


And that is precisely the point. Sometimes it is useful to file things in more than one location. As an example you may keep photos from special events in separate folders named according to each event. Now suppose you want to compile photos from a period of several years to run in a slideshow at grandmas 80 birthday party. You can create a new library and select photos from multiple folders to be part of the show without the need of copying or moving files to another location. This way you keep your original file structure intact but have everything you need in one spot for the slideshow. You also don't need to worry about different versions of the same file since the files in the library point to the original file. And when/if you are done with the library you can delete it without worry of losing files or moving them back.

Kurt
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I believe the Windows Default for icon/file organization on a Desktop is alphabetical -- I would guess the Windows Remote Desktop has that same default (which it is imposing on your remote desktop). That seems like a crappy design or sloppy programing. I have no idea about the origin of Windows Remote Desktop - but Microsoft has purchased a great many "features" over the years. So it is possible this "bug" was in something MSFT purchased. In any event, it appears from the thread Fences will work as will other 3rd party programs such as LogMeIn.

Gordon
Atlanta
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I think the messing around with your icons may have something do do with your remote setup having a lower screen resolution than your desktop. The software may be re-arranging things to let you see more of the icons.

Jeff
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I think the messing around with your icons may have something do do with your remote setup having a lower screen resolution than your desktop.

Not a lower resolution - just a different format. One computer has a wide screen monitor, one has the older 4:3 ratio.

If this issue is unchanged from XP (and I'm pretty sure it is unchanged), the problem is that every time you change screen resolution, the icons are re-arranged, even if you have auto-arrange turned off. To some extent, that makes sense, as Windows tries to make sure all of your icons are accessible. When you use remote desktop, the remote computer works like you attached a different monitor, therefore changing the icon arrangement.

--Peter
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I have no idea about the origin of Windows Remote Desktop - but Microsoft has purchased a great many "features" over the years.

I think Remote Desktop is related to a similar Citrix product, but those recollections are pretty hazy.

So it is possible this "bug" was in something MSFT purchased.

It's not so much a bug as just the way it works. The icons are rearranged just as if you connected a monitor with a different resolution, such that without rearranging the icons would be off the screen. Windows rearranges the icons so they will all be visible. That's good, unless it rearranges all of your icons because just one would not have been visible.

In any event, it appears from the thread Fences will work as will other 3rd party programs such as LogMeIn.

Fences and LogMeIn are very different products. LogMeIn provides the same service as Windows Remote Desktop. They are both ways of remotely accessing your computer. I suspect LogMeIn doesn't have the icon problem because it maintains your current monitor resolution.

Fences is a desktop organization tool. It expands on the Windows desktop, allowing to you put things on your desktop in ways that Windows itself can't. It not intended to solve an icon arrangement problem with Remote Desktop, but it happens to do that as a side effect of its main purpose.

--Peter
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Kurtv,

You can create a new library and select photos from multiple folders to be part of the show without the need of copying or moving files to another location.

You mean you can select certain photos from one folder, and certain photos from another folder, and so on... then have all the selected photos appear in your new library? I thought one could only put folders in libraries, not individual files.

I admit I haven't played with libraries much. It seems needlessly goofy and limiting. They already had files called Shortcuts that you can double-click on to open the file pointed to. Why not create something similar, called perhaps Indirects, that (once created in a folder) simply appear to be the file (or folder) pointed to? With an option, if the Indirect points to a folder, to appear as either just that folder or as all the items within that folder.

Then you could create libraries just by making a folder and saving in it an Indirect pointing to each folder you want to include. Or even Indirects to individual files, if that's what you want.

Of course Windows Explorer would need a mode where it shows you the Indirect files themselves instead of what they point to... so you could do things like copy some of the Indirects to another folder (copying in normal mode would of course just copy the files the Indirects point to). And in normal mode, you might want some small subtle indicator on files that appear through an Indirect just so you know. Backup programs would have to know to back up the Indirect file itself, not the file pointed to, but all other programs would just function on the file pointed to.

Phil
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You mean you can select certain photos from one folder, and certain photos from another folder, and so on... then have all the selected photos appear in your new library? I thought one could only put folders in libraries, not individual files.

OK, granted I had never actually done the scenario from my example but you can move or copy separate files to a library. But there has to be at least one folder in the library first. By default loose files added to the library will go into the first folder added to a library but you can change the default folder if you wish.

When I was first getting used to Windows 7 I created several libraries of locations where my personal data was stored that wasn't in My Documents. Stuff like the .default folder in my Thunderbird & Firefox profile folder made it easy to remember everything that needed to be copied when I was doing it manually. After I started using Karen's Replicator I only had to create a separate job to copy data from each of 8 locations. Still, already having the libraries made this really easy plus I could name each one with a meaningful name like Firefox backup compared to a folder named 8js45tg7.default.

YMMV,
Kurt
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