If you used a Mac or a Linux computer in the past, then you know that these operating systems offer multiple desktops . If you're a Windows user, you never had this choice until Windows 10, which is the first Windows ever to include multiple virtual desktops . That means you can create and use more than one desktop on your device. It's a handy feature that allows you to better organize your tasks. Furthermore, if you don't have a dual (or multi) monitor setup, you'll find this feature even more useful. In this guide, we’ll show you how you can create, use and remove virtual desktops in Windows 10 so, without further ado, let's start:
NOTE: The features shared in this article apply only to Windows 10 with Anniversary Update or to Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14367 or newer. Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be available for free, to all Windows 10 users, as of August 2, 2016.
Where will you find the virtual desktops in Windows 10?
In order to create, use or close desktops , you should first know where you’ll find all these options. In Windows 10, the multiple desktops feature is called Task View , and can be accessed on the taskbar, next to Cortana’s search field. The Task View icon looks like two rectangles stacked one upon the other.
How to create a virtual desktop
In order to be able to create a desktop, you'll first need to open Task View. To do that, click or tap on its icon from the taskbar. An alternative is to simultaneously press the Windows + Tab keys on your keyboard.
When you open Task View , you'll see the screen dim and all the opened windows displayed as thumbnails. To create a new desktop, click or tap on + New desktop tile from the bottom right corner of the screen.
After a new virtual desktop is created, Windows 10 will display all the available virtual desktops, in a bar on the bottom of the Task View screen. Each thumbnail shows a preview of the desktop it represents.
If you want to create more virtual desktops, repeat the procedure above: simply click or tap again on + New desktop.
How to switch between virtual desktops
Now that you have two or more virtual desktops created, you need to find out how to switch between them. Fortunately enough, this is a really simple thing to do: launch the Task View and click or tap the desktop you want to switch to.
A fast alternative to switch between desktops is to use keyboard shortcuts. To switch to the following desktop, press Windows + Ctrl + Right Arrow. To switch to the previous desktop, press Windows + Ctrl + Left Arrow. When you'll use these combinations, Windows 10 will scroll the next or previous virtual desktop into view.
How to move windows from a virtual desktop to another
When you launch an application, it will always open on the active desktop, the one you're using right now. However, at some point, you might want to move a window from a virtual desktop to another.
To do that, start by opening Task View. Then, hover over the desktops until you find the one on which the window you want moved is opened. When you identif y the desktop containing the window, keep the cursor over it for a short while. This action will make Windows 10 display all the windows from that desktop.
On the screen, identify the window you want to move, and right click it. The contextual menu displayed will offer you several options for the selected window. To move it to another desktop, select Move to , and then choose the one on which you want the window to be placed.
Of course, there’s also another way to move a window from a virtual desktop to another: drag and drop it. Click or tap on the window you want to move and drag it onto the virtual desktop on which you want to move it. Then simply release it.
How to pin a window or an app to all virtual desktop s
There are cases in which you need to work with one application a lot and you want it to be close by, regardless of the virtual desktop you’re on. For instance, if you use Word to write a document and you need to use several other applications, you can open each of them on different desktop s . On the other hand, you might want to have Word open on every desktop you use. In such a situation, you might want to take advantage of the pinning feature. Windows 10 lets you pin a window or even all the windows opened by a certain app, on all the virtual desktop s you have open.
To pin a window or all the windows of a certain app, to all the virtual desktop s in Windows 10, open Task View , right click or tap and hold on the window or app you want pinned and then click or tap on “Show this window on all desktops” or “Show windows from this app on all desktops” , depending on what you want.
How to close a virtual desktop
When you no longer need a desktop, you can close it. To do that, open Task View and hover over the desktop you want to remove. You'll notice that a X button is displayed on its top right corner. All you have to do is click or tap this button to close the desktop.
You might wonder whether the windows opened on the closed desktop are also closed. The answer is no, all the windows on the closed desktop are automatically moved to the previous virtual desktop.
You can also use your keyboard to close the active virtual desktop. To do that, simultaneously press the Windows + Ctrl + F4 keys.
Having more than one desktop is a really nice feature, which many users asked Microsoft to include in Windows. They listened and implemented this feature in Windows 10 and, as you’ve seen, it works well and can boost your productivity a lot. However, there are things still missing, that we'd like to see added. Among others, we'd like to be able to set different backgrounds for each desktop, and it would be helpful if the Task View icon would show the active desktop number. What do you think about the virtual desktops from Windows 10? Do you like the idea? Are there any other features you'd like Microsoft to implement? You can use the comments form below to leave us your feedback.