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The Central Point Desktop
The Central Point Desktop is an alternate desktop shell for Windows
3.1 included with PC Tools For Windows Version 2.0. It starts up with Windows
instead of the Program Manager, completely replacing its functionality
while adding many features that Microsoft would not add to Windows until
much later (and some features that are still not present).
The desktop program has a customizable menu bar at the top (with optional
toolbar), and "file item" icons (roughly equivalent to aliases or
shortcuts) on the desktop workspace. A drive list window gives quick access
to all drives on the system, and there is a status bar called "CrashGuard"
that monitors Windows resources.
Multiple desktop workspaces are available through a feature called "MultiDesk".
By default 4 desktops are created: The Main desktop for imported program
groups, the PC Tools desktop for the PC Tools utilities, the Applications
desktop for documents associated with installed applications, and an empty
extra desktop. These desktops are selectable by double-clicking the corresponding
windows on the MultiDesk bar, or selecting it from the drop-down box on
the desktop menu.
Application windows that are opened on a desktop will only appear on
that desktop. This allows many applications to be open at once without
cluttering up the screen. Representations of windows that are open on other
desktops can be seen in the MultiDesk bar.
It is possible to drag and drop items between desktops by dragging and
dropping them to the window of the destination desktop on the MultiDesk
This is the Main desktop. When PC Tools For Windows is installed it
imports the Program Manager icon groups in to file items and folders on
the Main Desktop.
Folders open as new windows and the contents can be viewed as icons,
a list, as text only, or as a toolbar. (Sorry, no mindless web page view)
Folders may also contain other folders.
Unlike Windows 9x the file items and folders do not exist in the file
system. All of the file items, folder items, and other desktop information
actually exist in a database file maintained by the desktop program.
This is the PC Tools desktop. It contains file items for all of the
programs installed by PC Tools.
This screen shot also shows the PC Tools file manager. It is similar
to the Windows 3.1 file manager, but it contains a number of enhancements
that integrate it with the PC Tools utilities.
The Applications desktop is set up to provide easy access to documents
and the applications that create those documents. By default this desktop
is filled with special types of folders that search the hard drive for
files of certain types and displays them as file items. The file items
may be given long names, but this can be confusing as the file that it
points to must still have an 8.3 filename.
Also, on this desktop I selected a different background. Each desktop
may have a different background pattern or color.
The Extra desktop is just an empty desktop to get you started on creating
your own custom desktop. You can also add additional desktop workspaces
or delete existing ones.
A few other things shown in this screen shot: Each folder may have a
custom background color (solid color only, no graphics). Folder icons can
be changed to anything you like, when changing folder icons a default selection
of alternate colored folders and styles of folders are provided. Right-clicking
on the desktop or other desktop items provides a useful pop-up menu. Also,
the CrashGuard status bar can be customized somewhat.
As mentioned earlier, the entire desktop menu and an optional tool
bar can be completely customized. Any menu item can be removed, and others
can be added. There is also an option of using a default "long menu" that
contains more advanced options, and a "short menu" that displays basic
The long menu contains a "Quick Launch" menu that is customizable by
placing file items in to the Quick Launch folder on the Main Desktop. Only
basic Windows accessories are included by default, however I have added
a few items and folders (such as the "Settings" folder to make it feel
a little more 95-ish) in this example.
Finally, the desktop also modifies the behavior of some common Windows
features. As shown in this screen shot, it adds a file management menu
to the standard "Save As" and "Open" dialog boxes. It also adds the Quick
Launch menu to all system boxes.