DesktopCoral is a program that can reserve a part of the edge of your screen (on any of the 4 sides) such as to prevent applications and windows from maximizing over the reserved area. This allows the user to place some objects in the reserved space that will be visible at all times (and will not be maximized over by other windows).

When I first found this program I was attracted to its uniqueness and originality much more so than any practical applications of it. Having said that it is easy to imagine how a reserved area on any side of the screen can be the perfect spot to place some applications; however, unfortunately you cannot place all apps in this reserved space but rather those that do not use normal windows but rather a sort of ’floating window or icon(s)’ (the only way to be sure if the app you want will work is to try it). The following are examples:

  • A desktop sticky notes program such as Shock Sticker works (see first Desktop Coral Screenshotscreenshot).
  • A launcher such as RocketDock. Since a launcher can provide links to your favorite apps and folders it seems an especially good idea to be able to have access it at all times (see first screenshot).
  • A system monitoring app that might display a number of system indicators in real time; in fact, the initial impetus behind creating this program was to display system info from a program called Samurize without other windows covering it up (see 2nd screenshot).

More notes on this program:

  • You cannot place normal file or folder icons or shortcuts in the reserved area.
  • Although you can move normal windows such as the encroach on the reserved area, they always have to keep a toehold in the non-reserved desktop area. This is a significant handicap asDesktop Coral 2nd screenshot it prevents you from placing applications there that in theory would be ideal fits for this sort of thing: (e.g. I was not able to place Pidgin, my favorite IM client, into the area, nor Klipfolio, my favorite widgets program).
  • The reserve area can be as wide or tall as you like (you can set the value in pixels).
  • You can set values for the transparency or opaqueness; you can even use an image as background (i.e. the strip you create can have its own distinct wallpaper).
  • Includes a function for saving and restoring icon positions.

Wish list (or how this program can be even better)

  • Two things: (1) allow for the placement of normal file/folder icons and shortcuts in the reserved area, and (2) allow for the placement of normal windows in their entirety in that area. This would make DesktopCoral infinitely more useable.

The verdict: this is an interesting program that gets points for originality. Although its usefulness is limited by the issues mentioned in the wish list above, it might work very well for you, depending on what you need to use it for. Note that this program is registerware (i.e. you need to provide an email address in order to receive your free registration code).

Version tested: 1.00.07

Compatibility: Windows 2k/XP; no info on VISTA.

Go to the program page to get the latest version (approx 912K).