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12Ghosts SaveLayout

Always (always!) keep the layout of your desktop icons


ZDNet Editor's Pick


What does it do for me?

Keep changes to your desktop icon layout once and forever. This is the final answer to the Windows desktop imperfection, keeping a strong backlog of icon layouts. This way you can never lose a layout again. Restore automatically at resolution switching, or when the taskbar is moved. Transfer icon layout between Windows versions and PCs. Restore even files from different sets of desktop files, including your wallpaper. Serval desktop management commands, like shut down with one click, start applications from the context menu, clear temporary folders, hide all windows, even those that can't be minimized, and even quick resolution switching.

This tool will help give you more confidence in your desktop. You intuitively know the position of your desktop icons. This way you can locate icons much faster than in an alphabetically sorted list. Now you can rely on and use the full functionality of your desktop.

Tray notify icon, hotkey, and FlyingIcon help you to access 12-SaveLayout faster. Command line options for shortcuts, batch files, or backups. Create as many different layouts as you want. Gives you full control over your icons!




Frequently Asked Questions

Why can't Windows itself keep the Layout?

You may wonder why the layout is not saved automatically by Windows itself. Usually this is the case! Windows does save the layout when the user logs off or shuts down Windows. As with any normal folder, its layout is saved automatically when it is closed. However, the desktop cannot be closed short of logging out and leaving Windows.

Let's think about it. There are some instances in which this method cannot work: a power failure before saving, when you inadvertently select Arrange Icons, when the desktop (Explorer.exe) has to restart for whatever reason, or when another program initiates a refresh to the desktop because a file type has been changed, etc. Beyond that, there is one inherent problem: when you change the display resolution from, let's say, 1024x768 to 640x480 or when you move or resize the taskbar, half of your icons will be hidden and inaccessible. What now?

You would need a tool to save and restore the appropriate layout, and not mechanically but at your command only. 12Ghosts SaveLayout enables you to handle all the situations described above. You will have the relaxed feeling of having a saved layout in your backup, either in a file or maybe a copy on a second disk. Or you may have several different layouts that you can switch between. Layout files can be restored at any time and are easily transferable between different PCs and Windows installations.

Can Microsoft do it Better?

Ideally, in order to prevent a layout from not being saved, you would have to be able to control each change, movement, and renaming of icons on the desktop. In that case you'd never have an unsaved layout.

The desktop itself is simply a control, a "COM" or "ActiveX" control, and this control could best handle the saving of any changes in the icon appearance or layout. But were it to do this, then it would suddenly have a lot of extra work to do; it would have to watch and save every change, and not only those made to the desktop but to absolutely everything under its umbrella. The desktop already is a quite extensive control, but if it were any bigger and slower it wouldn't do anybody any good. Expanding the tasks of the desktop doesn’t sound like such a good idea after all.

Other possibilities for implementing this watch dog function would be in the parent application of the desktop control, the Explorer, or by entering a "hook" in the command message exchange of the operating system in order to filter out the related messages. Well, Microsoft did not do that, and to be honest, we wouldn't have liked having to do this kind of work either. We don't even know of a tool that implements such a hook.

If you consider it a bit more carefully, even if we had this functionality, it would only take care of half the problem. This functionality would deal with the power supply failure, but not the problems arising when another program initiates a restart on the Desktop or when you inadvertently select Arrange Icons from the desktop's context menu. The automatic feature of the control would, in the latter instances, jump in and save the changes, thus causing your 'good' layout to be lost. OK, you may ask to confirm the saving after each and every change, but is this something that you really want to do?

In actuality, there is no other solution: when you want to save your layout, click on Save Layout. Keep a copy of your saved layout. If it happens that you need to restore it, click on Restore Layout. That is how SL works. Could it be done any better?

SL also provides the "lumberjack" method: Just save a new version of your layout every couple of minutes to a new file and relax. Don't worry about all the problems described above!!! No matter what happens, with 50 or 100 previous saved layouts you will always find one good layout.

AutoSave saves up to 100 different versions, up to every minute, to a folder that you can specify. You can restore older versions as easily as clicking on undo/redo. That solves both problems: first, should the layout get saved at exactly the wrong moment, you can always restore a previous version as needed, and second, you can restore the version you want, when you want.

I want the same for Documents!

Yes, we know what you must be thinking: multiple copies of your important documents, automatically stored every couple of minutes...?! AutoSL is a pretty nice piece of work, alright. We thought, hey, if it is good for SL, why not make the functionality available for documents, too?

This concept initiated the creation of 12Ghosts HyperBackup. This handy tool is often just sitting there and doing nothing until a change occurs in one of the watched files. Then, an additional copy is backed up, so that you end up with a history of all changes. This is very comforting.













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