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Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun

Need More Control Over Your Monitor & Desktop? Try SwitchRes
September 25th, 2000

SwitchRes 2.4.1 ($15 Shareware)
Stéphane Madrau

After reviewing Desktop Resetter, a handy utility for tidying up your desktop after a resolution switch, several Observers pointed us towards SwitchRes. We decided to check it out and found that, in addition to keeping your desktop in order after a resolution switch, it offered additional features that should be of value to our readers.

The basic SwitchRes package consists of a control panel and extension, and has an optional contextual menu and control strip module. After installing them and doing a restart, you'll see an additional icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. Clicking on it will reveal a pulldown menu with several options. The most obvious benefit you may notice at this point is that you should have a greatly expanded list of possible monitor resolutions and update frequencies, when compared to the selection offered by the Monitors control panel and control strip.

Available Selections Before and After SwitchRes

But wait, there's more! On this same pulldown menu, there are Save Desktop and Restore Desktop selections. Like Desktop Resetter, you can "remember" your desktop icon and window settings, so that if something messes them up, the settings will be restored. What makes SwitchRes especially handy is that this change happens automatically, with no need to run a separate application.

You can also define multiple Display Sets, which is a resolution and bit depth combination that you'd like SwitchRes to remember. This set can be displayed in the SwitchRes contextual menu, for easy selection, but can also be associated with one or more specific applications. If you launch an application that has been associated with a Display Set, your monitor will switch to it automatically. When you quit the application, you can revert to your original resolution.

So take maximum control of your monitor and desktop and give SwitchRes a try.

Have any other Mac OS Gadgets you use on a regular basis? Let John know via e-mail, so he can review it, or share it with the rest of us in the Mac Gadget Forum.

Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.

John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at

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