Windows 10 has a built-in feature that allows users to not only connect two or more computers to one monitor, but also create multiple virtual desktops. Each of them will display different applications, programs and windows, allowing you to perform many tasks at the same time.
It’s great for people who want to keep their personal and business apps and data separate, to make room for specific tasks, and to organize groups of related jobs.
This article explains how to:
- Create a new virtual desktop.
- Switch between desktops.
- Work with applications and windows on virtual desktops.
- Close the virtual desktop windows.
- Set up multiple desktops.
- On the taskbar, find the View Tasks button and click it.
Create a new virtual desktop in Windows 10
- On the taskbar, find the Task View button and click it.
- In the image above, this is the icon next to the search bar. If you do not see the Task Viewer button, right-click any free space on the taskbar and select Show Task Viewer Button to enable it.
- You can also use this shortcut by holding down the Windows key + Tab.
- When you open Task View, you will see all the applications running on your computer. Switch to the app by clicking on it.
- Add a new desktop by clicking the New Desktop button in the lower right corner of the screen.
- The task view pane will display all open programs in rectangles on the screen.
You can create as many virtual desktops in Windows 10 as you like. However, don’t create too much, or you will lose control and be unable to organize your actions.
Switch between desktop devices
After you add additional desktops in Task View, they will appear at the top of the screen.
Here are some ways to switch from one desktop to another:
- If you are already in Task View, select the desktop you want to use by clicking on it.
- Use your keyboard by pressing Windows + Tab. This will bring up the task view. Click on the desktop you want to use. Move from screen to screen using the Tab key.
- To switch between desktops without using Task View, hold down the Windows and Ctrl keys and press the left or right arrow key to scroll through the open desktops.
- Users of high-precision touchpads or touchscreen devices can move from one desktop to another by swiping their fingers across the screen with four fingers.
Work with applications and Windows on Virtual Desktops
If you’ve created a new virtual desktop that you don’t want to use, click the X at the top of the virtual desktop to delete it.
Now that you’ve created your new desktops, how do you populate them with the applications and programs you need?
You can open different programs on each virtual desktop created in Windows 10. If you open an application or window on the same desktop, it remains open and remains on that desktop. Some applications, such as Microsoft Word or Chrome, allow you to open different windows on different desktops.
However, other apps (like the Windows Store app) will only let you use them in one window at a time. For these applications, if they are running on desktop 1 and try to open it on desktop 2, you will be taken back to desktop 1 where the application is running.
This can be awkward. Your only option is to look in the task view to see where the app is installed.
You can move an open window from one desktop to another by following these steps:
- Go to the desktop where the window is open.
- Click the Task View button or use the Windows Key + Tab keyboard shortcut.
- Right-click the window you want to move.
- Select the Move To option.
- A window will open. a list of all desktops on your computer.
- Select the desktop you want to move the window to and it will be moved.
Close Virtual Desktop Windows
Having multiple virtual desktops on your Windows 10 computer is very helpful. However, depending on your hardware and how many are open at the same time, your system’s performance may be degraded.
Use the Windows + Ctrl + F4 keyboard shortcut to close the virtual desktop. Repeat this shortcut to close more or all of the remaining desktops.
Allocate multiple desktops
To control the virtual desktop view, right-click any open window.
If you want to dock your desktop to the left or right side of the screen, you can use the snapping options from Snap Assist to arrange screens with two windows side by side.
- Use a keyboard shortcut by holding down the Windows key and pressing the left or right arrow key.
- Snap Assist will move the active window to the direction you choose.
- The other half of the screen will display all other open windows.
- Click the desired window on the other side of the screen.
Use multiple virtual desktops as temporary workspaces in Windows 10 to stay productive and organized. For example, instead of switching between PowerPoint, the browser, and the music app, placing them on separate desktops makes it easier to navigate between them. You also don’t need to collapse and expand each program while you use another.