Feeling overwhelmed by all the windows you need open for various jobs or tasks? Virtual desktops can help, by letting you sort your windows and reduce clutter.
But what are virtual desktops, and how do you set them up in Windows?
It’s hard to explain just how useful virtual desktops are, but once you start using them you’ll wonder how you ever functioned without.
There’s something about sorting the many things you need to do throughout the day – communication, research, productivity – to different spaces. Not seeing everything at once makes getting started on your tasks simpler.
If you need lots of windows open to do your job, but feel stressed by all the clutter, virtual desktops are for you.
Mac and Linux users can set up virtual desktops out-of-the-box, but Windows computers prior to Windows 10 don’t come with this feature.
Don’t worry, though, because there are plenty of great apps out there that set up desktops for you. Let’s go over a few, and explore which work best.
Desktops (Free) from Sysinternals: Basic and Stable
Windows does come, built-in, with support for multiple desktops – there’s just no way to turn it on within Windows itself. Free app Desktops gives you a quick way to use this built-in process.
It’s no-frills, to say the least, but coming from Microsoft-owned Sysinternals you can expect stability.
Switching desktops is done with keyboard shortcuts.
Note that this app, last updated in 2012, doesn’t work perfectly with Windows 8. In my tests, the Start Menu would only load on the first desktop.
It’s also impossible to move a window from one desktop to another, meaning you can only easily launch applications you’ve pinned to the taskbar.
Still, it’s fast and stable – and perfect for Windows 7 users.
- Lightweight and fast.
- Uses keyboard shortcuts.
- Very stable: built on functionality already built into Windows.
- Quick-look view of all desktops from the system tray.
- Windows 8 users can only use the Start button on the first desktop.
- There’s no way to move applications from one desktop to another.
- Not much here for mouse-heavy users.
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