360desktop Beta Review

The first public beta of 360desktop was made available today. I downloaded it, played around, and uninstalled it. Neat concept, not even close to ready for daily usage.

360 desktop in action

Yes, it’s a beta. That’s why I’m cutting it some slack. In truth? It should be labeled alpha. The Vista PC I tested it on is a P4 2.8GHz, 2GB RAM, 300GB 7200RPM HD and an NVIDIA GeForce FX 5500. 360desktop ran so slowly it was painful to use. It brought the entire system to a standstill. Admittedly, my video card certainly is not top of the line, but it does run Aero perfectly smoothly.

I’ll back up a second, since you might be asking “ok, but what is 360desktop?”. From their FAQ section and home page:

360desktop is a free and safe software download, that transforms your standard Windows desktop into a 360-degree panoramic workspace, giving you many times more desktop space. 360desktop is the convergence of the web and the desktop. If you “get” what they mean by Web 2.0, you can think of us as Desktop 2.0.

If you give it a shot, by all means please let me know how it runs on your PC (leave a comment). Right now it’s available for both XP and Vista, though not the 64bit version of Vista.

It crashed, twice, in the 20 minutes I tested it out. It brought explorer.exe down with it once. It randomly placed widgets on my desktop, though at no point did I have any installed. Update: thanks to Paul (see comments) for explaining that the widgets were included as a part of the (currently) default theme, “4th of July”). I don’t want to discourage you from trying it (though my installation of Vista is 2 days old, so it’s rather unlikely that it was “my system” at fault, in terms of conflicting software or OS errors). But in case you decide to wait a version or two, here are some screenshots to tide you over.

360desktop in action
360 desktop in action

360desktop quicknav slider
The QuickNav slider

360desktop options


360 Manager 360’s

360desktop widgets
360 Manager Widgets

A version or three from now I hope to be eating my words. This product is a great idea, in theory. The current execution is lacking.

  • Nrupesh

    I just installed and tried out the beta as well, running vista ultimate on laptop with 2 gig ram and 8600 256mb card, runs decently fast, but as you said, it is still beta and a lot needs to be done.

    I was going through their video demo on their website and I noticed the link http://www.360desktop.com/gallery on the video so I typed it in… go and have a look and that will give you an idea about how much they still need to get done to get it to the masses, there are a few cool backgrounds on their site though.

    Cant wait for them to tweak it further.

  • Hi Guys, thanks for your feedback – really appreciate it. Yes our software is beta and your feedback helps make it better. The couple of widgets that you see are actually 4th July content, embedded as part of the 4th July 360. You can add your own widgets via button on QuickNav. Also thanks for the find (/gallery) ouch, a 2am miss! Cheers Evan

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  • Brendon Bower

    i cant seem to find any of these backgrounds please help

  • we’ll have a few new backgrounds on the site later today, with new content every day or so, ahead of the release of the authoring and gallery, where you cna create and share your own 360’s. Cheers Evan 360desktop

  • John Williams

    This looks great. I’m running Vista 64 bit. What’s the plan? Are you making a 64 bit version?
    Or, will it work on 64 bit as is?
    Cheers, John

  • beta release for 64 bit is almost there, but still a couple of weeks away. We’ll announced once we release. thanks Evan

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  • dan

    dear sir
    i can’t uninstall 360 desktop.
    i looked for an uninstall on google and can’t find one.
    please tell me how to uninstall this.
    thanks
    dan

  • John Williams

    Won’t it uninstall through Control Panel?
    If not try downloading Revo Uninstaller. It’s freeware and will uninstall programmes and then scan and remove any leftovers in Registry etc.
    Any sign of a 64 bit beta yet Evan?
    Best wishes, John

  • Hi John, thanks for the feedback. We’ve not heard of any uninstall problems through Control Panel. re 64bit, just about ready for beta – should be next week. Thanks evan

  • Bob Mathews

    Why is 64 bit is still not available? A month and a half after Mr Evans Jones said is “should be next week”.

    I was doing some nosing around in their DSN records and came across this link: staging.360desktop.com
    You guys need to learn how to hide your unfinished work!

  • Bob

    I loaded it onto our new MSI AE1900 Wind Touch all-in-one computer (32bit, Intel Atom N330, 2 GB RAM, Vista Home Basic) along with RocketDock. It appears to be running fine. There was one instance in which the system did not go into sleep/hibernate properly and the 360desktop was blank on startup. Rebooting fixed the problem. We have made our own 360, but have not attempted to add widgets yet. Initially wanted to use BumpTop, which had a great look/feel to it, but needed to constantly reinitialize BumpTop settings. The only drawback so far is the fact that panning does not appear to work with touch on the main screen. One can, however, pan via touch within the small 360desktop control panel.

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