How to use virtual desktops in Windows 10

How to use virtual desktops in Windows 10

Computers do everything these days. You can use them for work, socializing, entertainment, and much more. With so much going on, it happens that sometimes you end up with 30-40 browser tabs, 10 or more apps and lots of different windows open.

You don’t want to close anything because you may need to do it again soon. But it takes up a lot of space on the screen. What do you do?

Windows has heard our prayers and has made ordering your life easier with virtual desktops.

Virtual desktops expand the size of your screen by creating separate desktop windows. In effect, each is a new and independent computing experience. That means you can have a desktop to work, one to chat with friends, another to play games, and many more for other things you need.

Here’s how to use this great feature and some crucial tips to remember when doing it.

What you need to know about virtual desktops

The best way to think of virtual desktops is that they are like having many browser tabs open. You can go back and forth between them, but the tabs do not impact each other. However, if you close your browser, then you close them all.

Similarly, any system activity on your computer will affect your tabs. So if you are watching Netflix on one tab and using social media on another, you will notice reduced speeds due to the amount of bandwidth the stream uses.

The same goes for virtual desktops. For example, if you are playing a game on a virtual desktop, you will have a new desktop to do things. But you are still sharing the same computing resources. Your new desktop may not be as fast because the game is using RAM.

Although there are also benefits to this. For example, all background applications and processes work, no matter what desktop you are on. That means that if I hide my IP address with a VPN on my current desktop, it will remain hidden when I open the browser on a new virtual desktop.

[Also Read: What Is a VPN, and Why Would I Need One?]

Here are a couple more things to keep in mind:

  • You cannot drag and drop files between desktops, but you can copy / paste.
  • If you use a time tracker, take a screenshot of whatever desktop is currently on the screen.
  • Virtual desktops cannot support having different desktops open on different monitors. All screens show the same desktop at any given time.

How to enable virtual desktops in Windows 10

Windows 10 makes it easy to activate virtual desktops. To go back and forth between them, you must open Task View, which you will find to the right of the Windows search box.

Click on it and you can add a new desktop. You will also see a timeline of your last thirty days.

Hit + New desktop to create a virtual desktop. You can then set up multiple desktops and navigate between them in Task View.

The most convenient way to manage your virtual desktops is through keyboard shortcuts or touchpad gestures:

[Also Read: Hidden Tricks Inside Windows 10]

Keyboard shortcuts

  • Windows key + Tab = Open task view
  • Alt + Tab = Shows all open applications on a desktop. Click Tab to move between them.
  • Window key + Ctrl + Left key / Window key + Ctrl + Right key = Move between desktops
  • Windows key + Ctrl + D = Create new virtual desktop (no task view)

Touchpad gestures

Three fingers + scroll up = Task view

Four fingers + scroll left / right = move between desktops

You can change your preferences in Multitask and touchpad (located in settings) if you want to customize the touch gestures, as well as the virtual desktop functions.

Stay tuned for new features

Creating a virtual desktop is one of the many amazing features in Windows 10. Windows releases other great tips and tricks a few times a year.

You can expect a big update in the spring and a smaller one in the fall. They open up many more things you can do with your Windows devices.

Until then, make your computer more productive by taking advantage of the wonderful virtual desktop feature.

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