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Blog: Showing off my desktop

By Dave Morton

Years back, when the Internet was more or less new to me, I frequented another forum (sadly, now defunct) who's goal was to assist others with problems and challenges with their computers. It had a great community, full of people who were helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable, much like here. And one of the "Off Topic" things that many folks got involved in within the community was to periodically show off screenshots of their desktops, so that others could see and enjoy them, as well. I saw some wonderful images in this way, and in some ways, it's nudged me toward getting into graphic design, and expanding my creativity in that direction.

Thus, I thought it may be interesting to show off my desktop, and give a brief description of how it came to be.

Be warned, however. My desktop is a custom-made image, meant to cover three monitors with a different image for each, so it's HUGE! I'll also be sharing the details of how I made the desktop, and a photo of the entire setup, so you have an idea of the monstrosity that is my computer. I hope you enjoy it.

Ok, let's start off with my current desktop. This is an actual screenshot, including icons, obtained by minimizing or closing any current programs, and pressing [PrintScreen] and pasting the captured image into my favorite graphics app (in my case, Paint Shop Pro) and saving the image:

The black areas are portions that are outside the dimensions of my desktop, so are, essentially, blank. Interestingly enough, that's not what the actual desktop image looks like, because of the actual configuration of my monitors, and the way that Windows "tiles" the image. To demonstrate:

As you can see here, the layout of the monitors is a bit odd, because it represents how they're physically laid out, so that my mouse can move between them in the expected manner. The "main" monitor is 1920 by 1080, while the two left monitors are both 1280 by 1024. that makes for an overall size of 3200 by 2048 pixels, which is a nice, large bit of real estate to play with. :)

However, it takes up a LOT of memory, so having 4 Gig or memory or more is highly recommended for such a setup. I'm using 2 graphics cards to make this work (the on-board card, and a PCI-Express card, as well). Otherwise, I'd be limited to only 2 displays.

Anyway, because of the way that Windows XP handles display images across multiple monitors, I've had to "arrange" the images a bit to make them come out right on the screens. Here's what the actual image that I'm using looks like:

You'll notice that one of the monitor images is more or less split across the middle, and placed with the bottom half of the image above the lower left monitor's image, and the upper half placed below it. It took a bit of experimentation to get the placement right, but when I finished, the results were terrific! Again, the black area is part of the image that lays outside the bounds of the displays.

And finally, here's a photo of what my computer actually looks like:

I hope you enjoyed this post. I rather liked making it.