[actualtools.com] Actual Window Manager 5.5 beta 2 is available!

Actual Tools
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Hello, John Smith!

If you belong to those who look forward to each new release from Actual Tools, awaiting for new features - it's time to reward your waiting: our Beta Testing section now offers the 2nd beta of the upcoming Actual Window Manager 5.5 for downloading, and this beta comes out with some exciting and long-awaited features.

Necessary warning: if you already downloaded and installed this beta, I strongly recommend you to re-download and re-install it upon receiving this newsletter: right after releasing beta 2, our early-adopting beta testers discovered some serious bugs. We have fixed the most nasty of them and released the update which is now considered as official and actual beta 2.

Download Actual Window Manager 5.5 beta 2!

In this issue:


The first thing I'd like to turn your attention to is the significant internal change made in this beta to improve the behavior of Actual Window Manager and other programs upon their unloading, either manual or automatic during the logoff process. (If you are not interested in technical details you may skip the next paragraph.)

In technical terms, before this beta our library (aimemb.dll) stayed in memory even after unloading AWM due to the stability reasons - it embeds so deeply into other processses so that removing it might cause (and it did cause!) hangups and crashes (especially in our "beloved" Windows Explorer). Though the stuck-in-memory library did nothing but it is not well-behaved from the system point of view - each program should clear the resources it used. Also, such approach doesn't allow us to develop the long ago requested portable version of AWM - being run from a flash stick with the library stuck in memory, system won't allow you to unplug the flash safely even if you completely exit AWM. So, in this beta, after some deep research and experimenting, we present the well-behaved library which unloads accurately upon closing Actual Window Manager.

The important consequence of the subject change is that since this beta Actual Window Manager is incompatible with previous versions. It means that if you have several versions of AWM installed on your PC - don't launch beta 2 after you launched any previous version, because they left their copy of library in memory which is incompatible with beta 2 executables, and you'll end up with all running applications crashed or hanged up. If you need any additional details or further explanations - please contact our technical support: either via email or at the forum.
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After discovering that in Windows 7 console windows became free of limitations and can be made transparent or ghosted, our software engineers have been undertaking some additional research which has brought the exciting result: now console windows can be made transparent or ghost in any Windows as well, since Windows 2000! You can use any method provided by Actual Window Manager for this, either automatic (startup, deactivation, mouse hovering, etc.) or manual (title button, window menu item, hotkey, etc.).
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In this beta we have made the second important step on improving further the Multi-monitor Taskbar's usability: the Multi-monitor Taskbar extension is finally able to display the clock and mirror the primary notification area (a.k.a. system tray) on secondary monitors! Now you can easily access programs running in background from any monitor. You can turn these features on in the Configuration window as shown below:

How to turn on the clock and the notification area on secondary monitors

Although there is a limitation in the current implementation of the notification area on secondary monitors (it does not hide the inactive icons), we plan to remove this limitation until the release. To compensate the incompleteness of current implementation, we have added a bonus feature: it's possible to manually reorder tray icons by dragging them with the mouse both on secondary taskbars and on the primary one as well. See below the new options added to the Multiple Monitors - Taskbar panel to control this feature:

How to enable dragging the icons in the system tray
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One of the most popular requests we receive regularly is to add the ability of minimizing windows by clicking the right mouse button on the title bar. Oh, no, sorry: the most popular request, of course, was the ability to roll windows up by clicking the middle mouse button on the title bar. Or it was the request to minimize windows to the system tray by clicking the right mouse button on the title bar while holding the Shift key pressed? Man, I'm confused! So, to prevent our customers from such confusing, we have added the whole new panel in the Options window to customize advanced mouse actions:

How to customize advanced mouse clicks

Here you can see some advanced actions which can be invoked by clicking on standard spots that most windows have (such as title bar, Minimize/Maximize buttons) and can customize how exactly they should be invoked: which mouse button should be clicked, in which way (single or double click) and with which modifier keys pressed - so that everyone can adjust the set of actions and methods of their activation according to his/her personal preferences. Hope you'll like the specially designed Maximize Horzontally (Shift+RClick on Maximize button) and Maximize Vertically (Ctrl+RClick on Maximize button) actions!
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In addition to the above-mentioned mouse actions, there is finally available the feature to drag windows freely without the need to click on the title bar but click anywhere within window's interior instead, with the specified activation key (Alt by default) being pressed. The same is true for resizing a window except you should use the right mouse button instead of left (which is used for moving). You can enable/disable this feature and customize the set of activation keys in the Mouse Options panel, as shown above.
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Because of its increased popularity (we received several requests recently) and relatively easy implementation, the Cut to Clipoard title button has been added. Thus, the set of buttons for quick Clipboard operations (Cut/Copy/Paste) is complete now:

Quick Clipboard operations via Cut/Copy/Paste additional title buttons
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The inevitable part - shoft description of most noticeable bugfixes and improvements:

  • the bug with interrupted Desktop Background Slideshow feature in Windows 7 has been fixed;
  • components that work with window captions (like Multi-monitor Taskbar, Virtual Desktops Switcher, tray and screen icons) have been made Unicode-compatible;
  • the Multiple Monitors - Background/Screen Saver tabs in the Configuration window now more accurately display the current system settings;
  • the intermittent crashes of applications written in Visual Basic have been fixed.

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For those who joined us just now, I'd like to briefly remind that now our beta versions know that they are beta versions and they can tell you about it: just open the About dialog to see how many days remain until the beta expiration. Despite this fact, I still can't give up the habit of reminding the terms our beta testing at the end of each beta-related newsletter, sorry! :)

  • Beta versions have an expiration date which they can't be used after.

    The beta 2 of Actual Window Manager 5.5 will expire on December 15, 2009.

  • When the beta version expires you should either roll back to the last stable release, update your beta to a new one (if available), or upgrade to a new stable release (if available).

And don't forget about the recently added internal error reporting service! If some fatal error occurs in Actual Window Manager you will see the special query asking you to send us the error report - I beg you don't hesitate and click Yes: this report contains no private information whereas the error information could be invaluable for us! Many thanks in advance for your co-operation!


That's all, thank you for your time! Waiting for any kind of feedback from you at our Beta Testing forum section - you are always welcome!


Alex Fadeyev,
Actual Tools

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