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I'm used to using workspace/desktop managers in Windows like Dexpot and sDesk that give me a "panner" or "desktop preview" that shows thumbnails of the windows in each desktop, and lets me click in a desktop to move to that desktop, or drag windows from within the panner/manager to move the actual window.

I just installed Ubuntu 12.04, and I'm finding that the default workspace manager seems pretty minimal. Are there better options for a workspace manager, or is there a way to make the workspace manager more functional?

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When logging in you can select a different window manager, such as Gnome. I think it has the feature you're looking for.

At the login screen, click the cog wheel and select the window manager of your preference.

If the manger you're looking for isn't there, just search for it in the software center. Some options: "gnome", "lxde".

Edit: Or in case you like to stick to Unity, you can install the CompizConfig Settings Manager and you can change some settings there.

Edit2: You can also install a "workspace indicator" which kind of fulfills a similar purpose as the "panner" you're talking about. See the answer to this question.

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