Sticky Windows = Clear Desktop

Sticky Windows (ShareWare) is an application for Mac OS X Tiger which extends the tab browsing experience to the Desktop. Sticky Windows shrinks your windows into tabs when you drag a window towards the edge of your screen. Providing you with a completely clutter-free workspace. By clicking on the tab the user can show and hide the window. Sticky2-60pix.gif

It is funny but every now and again you come across an application that makes you think “exactly what I need”, sometimes when you didn’t even know that you needed it! Well Sticky Windows is just such an application. If you read my revised workflow you will know that I have an issue with avoiding distractions and I don’t always remember to hide a window. I also end up with too much stuff active on my desktop, especially when downloading and doing reviews. Sorry I should have said I DID have an issue.

Now I just have some really neat tabs on the side of my desktop. They are set to either automatic or manual depending on how I want to use them – let me explain.

A tab that is set to automatic will open when you click on it, but at the same time will close down any other automatic tabs that are open. So for example I have iTunes as an automatic tab (once Sticky Windows is installed and activated in System Preferences you just drag the open window to any side of your desktop to create the tab) as once I have set something playing I am happy for it to ‘disappear’ from my desktop. By this I mean that when I click on another tab to open that application iTunes automatically disappears back into its tab. If for example I was dragging some files into the library from Finder then I would set the iTunes tab to manual. In manual mode it opens when I click on the tab, but doesn’t close automatically when other windows are opened. To close a manual tab you click on the tab at the side of the desktop.

Now that may sound complicated but it isn’t. It is very simple, very effective and very very useful. I really like this application.

What’s new in version 2.1 (released on April 19th 2007) ?
– Incompatibility with FileVault fixed (known also as endless authentication loop bug)
– The user can now pick which color to use for the different visual effects
– User can selected which margin of the screen can enable Sticky Windows
– Black windows bug fixed
– more reliable Installer and Uninstaller

Developer Note (April 20th 2007)
It seems like Microsoft Word’s documents have a hard time becoming “Sticky Windows”. We are presently working on a work around that will make Sticky Windows compatible with it.

How does it work?
Sticky Windows keeps track of all the windows which are visualized on the Desktop, as soon as the user drag a window, and the mouse reaches the edge of the screen, Sticky Windows shows a tab corresponding to that window. Afterwards Sticky Windows “takes care” of the window and communicates to the Windows Server to show and hide it.

Is Sticky Windows CPU heavy application?
Sticky Windows has been designed to be light in CPU usage. You will seldom see it using more than 1% of your CPU. This is particular important for Powerbook/MacBook users that will be able to use it without worrying that it will drain their batteries.

7 thoughts on “Sticky Windows = Clear Desktop

  1. Darren Rolfe

    Damn, I actually heard about this and thought it wouldn’t be of interest to post. How wrong I was!

    Just shows you, if in doubt post it out!

    Back to the app. I was reminded that this was actually a feature of OS 9. This won’t mean a thing to you newbies. Back in they day!

  2. Chris Marshall Post author

    A tip – if you have your Mac set up for dual screen then you can’t drag the tab over to that side of your screen – unless you actually have both screens running in which case you can. For me, as the iMac is set up for dual screen but is only used that way when the TV is on it wasn’t a viable option!

  3. Nick Young

    I’ve been meaning to give this app a try, but haven’t got around to it. I’m pretty efficient at using alt+tab and Apple+H. Have you noticed if the automatic tabs make you more efficinet? Doober logic says that it would, but then again I find that using keystrokes is usually faster than using the mouse. So whats the verdict?

  4. Chris Marshall Post author

    I have to say it has made me more productive a) by removing distractions and b) by allowing me to move around and focus on the stuff I want to do more easily.

    Is well worth taking a look

  5. Mac Sokulski

    Thanks Nick for this little tip. All the time I was wondering what was this big deal about hiding windows. Now I get it. So instead of minimizing a window you hide it. Very very nice.

  6. Chris Marshall Post author

    Sticky Windows and PopChar don’t like each other. Ever since installing SW PC freezes every time I try and use it.

  7. Chris Marshall Post author


    Thank you for your feedback, we are aware of this issue and we are currently researching ways to fix the problem.

    Vhat version of pop char are you using?


    I am using Version 3

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