Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 152 / MAY 1993 / PAGE 98

Rooms for Windows. (operating system enhancement) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Beth C. Fishkind

Whether you're a Windows novice or power user, Rooms for Windows can make your computing life a lot easier. Rooms offers a convenient and simple way to multitask like a master and organize your applications and files--both Windows and DOS. The Rooms metaphor--with its concrete images of rooms, suites, and doors-makes the program fairly intuitive; learning is also enhanced by plenty of online help and a well-designed, slim manual.

With Rooms, instead of working in a window, you work with applications, files, and other objects in a room. (Each room is a separate Windows desktop, even though only one instance of Windows is actually running.) Several rooms occupy a suite, and doors enable you to enter and exit the rooms. From the Suite Overview, you can see at a glance all the rooms in your suite: They appear side by side as large squares.

Each room can contain a specific application, such as a database program and files, or all applications and files for a specific client or project. For instance, a Newsletter Room can hold a desktop publishing program, graphics application, and all newsletter files. But what if you want to draft newsletter stories in your DOS word processor? Simply create a full-screen DOS Room. The screen looks as if you exited to your word processor in DOS, except that when you finish your DOS document, you return to the DOS Room and can enter the door to your Newsletter Room.

Switching back and forth between projects and/or applications and files in Windows and DOS is as simple as double-clicking on a Door icon. And there you go: You're multitasking and well organized to boot. What's more, you can create different suites for different tasks or people. If you share the computer with someone, each can have his or her own suite of rooms.

A special room in a suite is the Overlay Room, because any application you put inside it automatically appears in all rooms. Having Program Manager in Overlay enables you to start up Windows applications from any room. With your word processor in Overlay, it's available in whatever room you need it. It's also handy to include Windows accessories such as Cardfile and Calendar in Overlay, so you can grab or jot down names and dates from any room.

You can also share a document between rooms by using the Include command; this is similar to placing a document in Overlay. A Copy command enables you to copy a file to another room, such as a contract, and make changes to it without changing the original. You can also drag an object out of one room and into another With Move.

Rooms runs as an application under Windows; when you start a Windows session, all rooms and suites you've created are automatically opened and ready for business. To conserve system resources, you create shortcut buttons in a room. Buttons may store a special Windows application or an exit to a full-screen DOS room, or they may execute a DOS command such as copying files for backup. The application or file isn't opened until you click on the button icon.

Overall, Rooms for Windows is a practical way to take the hassle out of getting the full benefits of the Windows environment.

IBM PC or compatible (80286 compatible, 80386SX/DX compatible recommended), 2MB RAM (4MB recommended), EGA or VGA, Windows 3.0 or 3.1; mouse recommended--$59

XSOFT 3400 Hillview Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94303 (800) 626-6775

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