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ZBar

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ZBar

ZBar is a utility for those who use multiple monitors. If you have a single screen, then there's nothing to see here. Move on.

If you have two or more monitors, then Windows only puts the task bar at the bottom of one of those monitors, and although you can move windows to the second monitor, the task bar button for those windows still lives at the bottom of the primary monitor. This doesn't "feel" right to me, so ZBar was born.

Functionality

ZBar will:

  • Put a taskbar across the top or bottom of all non-primary screens with one or two rows of buttons, in six styles, with an optional clock
  • Provide keyboard shortcuts to move windows one screen along
  • Organise your desktop wallpaper one image per screen or one image across all screens
  • Display a six month calendar, last month, this month, and four months ahead







Restrictions

I had to learn a lot to get ZBar running, and it's taught me that although Windows clearly defines how applications should create windows and use the task bar, there are a number which don't use these conventions. Yes, I'm talking to you WinAMP, Office and Skype. As I use those apps myself, I've been able to make a special case for them within the ZBar code, but there will no doubt be more.

I spent a long while trying to get the wallpaper code to work every time. My virtual desktop is 3200x1200, and it works every time. However, when I added a third monitor to make the wallpaper 4800x1200 in size, it would work once or twice before failing. Rebooting means it would work again.

Alternatives

Does this sound all a little ... alpha release ... to you? There are a few alternatives you could try, like MultiMon, DisplayFusion, Desktop Wallpaper Tool, but the daddy of them all is Ultramon. However, ZBar is the only one which provides multiple taskbars, manages wallpaper, and is free.

Versions

v0.82 - 3rd March 2012

  • Only one instance of the app will run at a time
  • Skype and Paint windows a little better handled
  • Tweaked hyperlink opening code
  • AM/PM shown in twelve hour displays
  • Bug causing "Oops should not be here" to show in wallpaper dialog fixed
  • Clicking the middle mouse button on a button closes that window
  • Option to zoom images smaller than the monitor in wallpaper dialog
  • MusicBee no longer handled - the window class it uses is not unique
  • "Premiere Pro Monitor EchoPort" and "PSViewC" now fill the screen
  • Choosing "None" in the keyboard hook now actually clears it
  • Wallpaper previews could be displayed off the preview area
  • Option to leave taskbar alone (does not add or remove buttons on it)
  • Button text colour can be chosen
  • Ampersands in tooltips now display correctly
  • Some notication tray icon menu commands added to ZBar menu
  • Windows 7 theme colour now also affects "W7 small"
  • Maximise to virtual screen shortcut can be disabled
  • Bug fixed with calendar which could cause it to jump a month ahead
v0.85 - 22nd December 2012
  • "Leave Taskbar Alone" value now saved
  • XP Silver theme now draws correctly in double height
  • Explorer icons under W7 now update when their window changes
  • Crash with FireFox fixed (by introducing a small memory leak ...)
  • XP and Chrome styles distinguish between focus/no focus on mouseover
  • "Fix wallpaper on resolution change" option
  • Xcalday class ignored
  • Royale Noir style added
  • Fixed up the hint close icon
  • \\.\DISPLAYV4 name now handled for a USB screen in Japan
  • -wallpaperonlyquiet command line option added
  • Sunday as first day of the work option added
  • Tidied the layout of the options dialog
  • Fixed ??This?? button text in Lync
  • DLL updated to hook12.dll, custom keys and alt/control options, but can only be set from the registry
  • SendMessage -> Postmessage when handling WM_RBUTTONDOWN to avoid crash when using a right-click menu
  • MSO_BORDEREFFECT_WINDOW_CLASS class windows excluded

zbar.zip (129k)

© Zhorn Software 2012