A month of using GimmeSpace Desktop Extender in Windows 7 has given me a headache, literally. But I've figured out how to get a pan-and-scan virtual desktop in Windows 7 using ATI Radeon video cards and I'm sure that folks using NVIDIA cards can figure out how to do it with them too using the basic principles described below. Essentially you'll want to force install a Windows XP video driver in Windows 7. Read on for details, in the extreme.
Thanks to the spouse of a friend who is a hardware engineer at a company that must remain nameless, I have learned how to set up a pan-and-scan virtual desktop in Windows 7. It took some experimenting, but his suggestions eventually worked. I am writing this on a pan-and-scan virtual desktop in Windows 7.
Microsoft caused the problem when it created the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) for VISTA and now Windows 7. It's Windows 98SE all over again where Microsoft disabled the ability to create a pan-and-scan virtual desktop in order to encourage consumers to buy two monitors.
WDDM disables this capability. However, WDDM is only the default system for graphics in Windows 7 and VISTA. The old Windows XP Display Driver Model (XPDM) is still present in Windows VISTA and and Windows 7. The key is that you must force install the Windows XP display driver for your ATI card (and I would bet this would work with NVIDIA-based cards as well). The Windows XP display driver uses the XPDM graphics system that's still within Windows 7 and VISTA. You must install only the display driver. Do not install the Catalyst Control Center (hereinafter called CCC).
This approach works if your monitor is connected via VGA or DVI. It didn't work for me when I tried HDMI.
Note that this is not quite a fine a pan-and-scan virtual desktop like you can get in Windows XP using the CCC to set it up. The virtual desktop is not quite a wide or tall as what I could get in XP. But it beats a static desktop for me and maybe for you as well.
Doing this will disable the Aero graphics in Windows 7 because they use the WDDM graphics system. I can live without the visual candy of Aero, even though it really did look nice. But I'll sacrifice good lucks for functionality any time -- when it comes to a computer.
Steps To Take
Here's how to do it if (1) you are installing Windows 7 and have not yet installed ATI CCC, and (2) if you have already installed Windows 7.
This is a step-by-step guide, probably more detail than most readers need.
If you are just installing Windows 7 and haven't installed ATI Catalyst Control Center yet:
After you've installed Windows 7 and your Internet Security program, download from ATI the Windows XP driver for 32 or 64 bit Windows. I recommend that you find the 10.4 version of the Windows XP driver since I know it works. More recent versions may work, but I have not tested them. To get to the 10.4 version (which was released in late April 2010) follow the steps to find the Windows XP drivers for your ATI card. This will get you to a screen with a black background for the AMD Radeon Video Card Drivers (I'll use my card for this example). Near the bottom of the box with the drivers is a link called Previous Drivers. Click on the link and pick the Catalyst 10.4 choice. Go to the Individual Downloads and select the Display Driver or the WDM Integrated Driver. Download it. You may also want to download the ATI HDMI Audio Driver and the Avivo Package of Video Codecs. I imagine you could download the whole CCC package and use it (which is what I guess I actually did). More recent versions may work. I just haven't tried them yet.
Go into your Device Manager (right click My Computer and select Manage). If there's a display adapter for your video card, double click it and uninstall (and delete) the video driver that's there. Restart Windows 7.
Run the ATI file you downloaded so that it sets up its files in
That's the subdirectory when you use the full ATI package. Cancel the installation.
Go into your file manager (Windows Explorer, Directory Opus, or other file manager) and go to
Right click on
Setup.exe and choose Properties. Click on the Compatibility tab and under Compatibility Mode check Run this program in compatibility mode for Windows XP (SP 3). Also under Privilege Level, check Run this program as an administrator.
Do the same thing for
I don't know if it was necessary, but I did something similar with
where I selected running the program in compatibility mode for the *previous version of Windows (I have a dual boot with Windows XP -- I don't know what would be available if you don't have a dual boot set up). I did the same thing for the file
You must choose a custom installation when given the choice between Express and Custom.
When you get to the list of items to install, check the ATI Display Driver. Uncheck Catalyst Control Center (CCC). If you install it, CCC will crash and give you BSOD whenever you run CCC. I let it also install the AVIVO codecs and the ATI Problem Report Wizard. After installation, restart Windows 7.
Right click your desktop and select Screen Resolution. Go to Advanced Settings and click on the Monitor tab. Uncheck Hide modes that this monitor cannot display. Click the Okay button. Back in the Change the Appearance of Your Display window, click on Resolution. There should be at least one choice at the top of the scale that is a higher resolution than what your monitor actually supports. Select and apply one of them. In my case, my monitor's actual resolution is 1920 x 1200. These steps gave me a 2048 x 1536 resolution -- and a pan-and-scan virtual desktop. It's not as large the the pan-and-scan I could get in Windows XP, but it works. I can open my desktop publishing program full page and not have to waste time and energy using the scroll bars.
If Windows 7 is already installed and you have already installed ATI Catalyst Control Center:
The only real difference from the instructions above is that you need to completely uninstall the Windows 7 CCC and the other Windows 7 ATI features that are already installed. You can open the Control Panel and pick Programs and Features. Scroll down to the ATI Catalyst Control Manager and right click it. Select Change. You can either pick the Uninstall Manager to uninstall CCC, the display driver (if possible), and other features -- or select Express Uninstall ALL ATI Software. Either way, you need to uninstall all the ATI video-related software and restart Windows 7. You should also be sure to perform Step B above to make sure the ATI driver is uninstalled and deleted.
The remaining steps should enable you to produce the pan-and-scan virtual desktop.
One of my programs consistently caused a BSOD after I made these changes. It's a freeware text editor called EditPad Lite 6.4.4. I don't know why it would crash Windows 7, but it did so every time I ran it. So I just got another freeware text editor. Hopefully all of your programs will run just fine.
That's it. Hopefully this procedure will work for you. Please let us all know it goes for you.