Create, Delete, Use Virtual Desktops in Windows 10

By adding Virtual Desktop or Task View feature, Windows 10 has given more power to its users. The earlier versions of Windows did not have this feature. One had to stack all the opened programs or tasks in one single desktop’s taskbar. As the number of opened programs grew, it started becoming very cumbersome to manage tasks. Virtual Desktops in Windows 10 is expected to solve this problem.

Task View is a virtual desktop manager for Windows 10 and is launched, when you click on its button, next to the Search bar on the taskbar. Using this feature, you can create different arrangements of your running apps and open programs. You can create new Desktops, open different apps in each, work in each or any of them whenever you want, close the opened desktops when you finish work, etc. You can switch between applications, and you can also move an application from one desktop to another. This feature augments a snapping feature called Snap Assist, which can help you snap different windows in any arrangement, a little more easily.

Create Virtual Desktop in Windows 10

In order to get started, click on the “Task View” icon next to Windows 10 search bar in the Taskbar as shown in the below image.

Virtual_Desktop_Windows_10

Clicking on the Task View button opens up a new view. Right above the taskbar you can notice a panel where all desktops are stacked side by side, with a number suffixing it e.g.,. “Desktop 1”, “Desktop 2” etc…

Creating_a_new_desktop_in_W

You can create a new desktop by clicking on “New Desktop” icon which is present at the right corner of this panel. You can now use the created desktop to run and group your programs within the created desktop. Win+Ctrl+D will also create a new virtual desktop.

Use Virtual Desktop in Windows 10

With the help of Virtual Desktop feature, one can add a unlimited number of desktops and manage tasks better. For example, one can open all editor programs in one virtual desktop and have music, photos, etc. in the other. This way a person can logically separate the tasks based on its nature and simultaneously switch between them.

Use_Virtual_Desktops_in_Win

You can view all the opened programs by hovering on the desktops thumbnail – this gives you a quick overview of programs running on a particular desktop. You can directly navigate to a particular opened program in any desktop by clicking on it. Most importantly, you can move an opened program from one desktop to other by dragging it to your desired desktop.

To close the current virtual desktop use Win+Ctrl+F4. Win+Ctrl+ Arrows will help you navigate between your virtual desktops.

Delete Virtual Desktop in Windows 10

If you have opened multiple virtual desktops on your PC, you might want to close few or all of the opened desktops. Remember, the programs opened in a particular desktop are grouped underneath it. If you wish to close any of the virtual desktops, simply click on “Task View” button in the taskbar which opens up all the active desktops, hit on the “close” button to terminate that particular desktop as shown in the image.

Close_Virtual_Desktop_001

This closes the intended virtual desktop, and all the open programs on that particular desktop will be moved to its neighboring desktop merging with the existing opened programs. In short, you cannot terminate all the opened programs in a desktop by simply closing the desktop – the created desktops are virtual in nature and help you organize the opened programs in a cleaner way. You will have to individually close the programs even after killing a virtual desktop.

To conclude:

  • To add a new desktop, click the task view button on your taskbar and click the “new desktop” button.
  • There’s no limit to how many desktops you can create.
  • The top part of this view shows previews of the windows you have open, just like Alt+Tab. However, task view also filters this list when you create virtual desktops, so only the relevant windows appear.
  • Under that, you will find the list of desktops you have opened. The labels along with accurate previews make it easy to find what you want to switch to.
  • What if you’re trying to find that music player and you forgot which desktop you had it on? Just hover over each desktop preview and Windows will let you see what windows are open there.
  • You can drag any window to the desktop you want to move it to right from task view.
  • You can even drag a thumbnail to the “new desktop” button to create and move it to a new desktop in one step.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Virtual Desktop:

  • WIN + CTRL + LEFT/RIGHT: Switch to previous or next desktop
  • WIN + CTRL + D: Create a new desktop
  • WIN + CTRL + F4: Close the current desktop
  • WIN + TAB: Launch task view.

Pro Tips

  • Using the keyboard shortcut Win+Tab, one can open the Task View window.
  • In order to navigate between different desktops, use Win+Ctrl+Left or Right Arrow key
  • In order to close virtual desktops, use Win+Ctrl+F4.

In case you do not use this Virtual Desktop or Task View feature in Windows 10, you can simply remove the Task View button from the taskbar.

Now take a look at these Virtual Desktop Tips and Tricks!

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.