Windows 10: Everything you need to know about virtual desktops

Windows 10: Everything you need to know about virtual desktops

Do you want more desktop space? If you have to coordinate several projects and activities at the same time, you will certainly appreciate the function of several virtual desktops. Instead of juggling different programs, you can easily switch between desktops. This guide will show you how to use them.

What is a virtual desktop?

The easiest way to describe a virtual desktop on a computer is to use an example on a smartphone. On your cell phone, you probably also have several screens with different apps or widgets on which you can navigate using a swipe gesture.

The situation is similar on a PC with virtual desktops. For example, if you want to quickly switch between open applications, a second desktop is a good choice. There is also the possibility that you set up a work and a leisure desktop to keep a better overview. Basically, what other people can do with multiple screens is on a single computer.

Add a new virtual desktop

A new desktop can be added with a few simple clicks or with a keyboard shortcut. First you look for the symbol of the "active applications" in the task bar. This is right next to the Cortana symbol or the Cortana search bar. The view can also be called up using the key combination " Window key + Tabulator" .

Desktop active applications

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The symbol next to "Cortana" brings you to the following overview.

An overview of all open windows and programs opens. On the right is a timeline that shows what you've worked on in the past. You can then add a new desktop using the button in the top left corner. A desktop thumbnail opens at the top of the screen and when you click on it, you are directly at the second desktop.

add new desktop

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You can add a new desktop using the top button or a key combination.

If you have a computer with a touchscreen, you can also swipe your finger from the left side of the screen or use the combination " Windows key + CTRL + D" . This will automatically add a new virtual desktop. The number is not limited here, several hundred new desktops can be added.

Switch between virtual desktops

You can switch between different virtual desktops at any time. The simplest method is the key combination of "CTRL + Windows key + arrow" to the left and right. On a Windows device with a touchpad, you can also swipe left or right with four fingers to switch between the virtual desktops.

Move windows between different desktops

If you need a window or program on another desktop, you can also move it. There are two ways to do this:

Click and drag

  • Go to the desktop overview from which you also added the new desktop.
  • All open programs and windows are listed there.
  • Click one of these windows and drag it onto a desktop thumbnail.
  • The window has now been moved to the other desktop.
Switch windows between desktops

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You simply drag the window onto the other desktop.

Right click method

  • Navigate to the overview that shows all desktops.
  • You will see all open programs and windows.
  • Right-click on the window you want to move.
  • In the following menu, press "Move to> Desktop X".
  • The program now opens on the selected desktop.
move to another desktop

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The window can also be moved by right-clicking.

Duplicate windows

Open windows can be duplicated on multiple virtual desktops. To do this, first navigate to the overview using the "active applications" button. Then do the following:

  • Right-click on an open window that appears in the overview.
  • A small menu opens.
  • There you tap on the item "Show this window on all desktops".
  • The window is only duplicated if you have already opened several desktops.
Show on all desktops

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The menu offers various actions.

Delete virtual desktop

To close a virtual desktop, open the overview of all open windows and the available desktops. Move the mouse over the desktop you want to close – a small red "X" will appear in the top right corner. Click on it and the additional desktop closes. Alternatively, you can simply use the key combination " Windows key + CTRL + F4" . But beware! This closes the desktop you are currently on.

close desktop

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So you close a desktop again.

Multitasking settings

To get even more control over switching between virtual desktops, there are the so-called multitasking settings. Navigate to the system settings and then under "System> Multitasking> Virtual Desktops".

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Working with virtual desktops can be further configured in the system settings.

Here you will find two settings. With the first you can choose whether all open windows should be displayed in the task bar. So also those that are open on other desktops. With the second setting you have the choice whether all applications should be displayed when Alt + Tab is pressed or only those on the current desktop. The key combination is used to quickly switch between programs.

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