Microsoft was a little late to the virtual desktop game, but Windows 10 users can take advantage of the feature, albeit a bare-bones one. You can create multiple virtual desktops, move apps between them, and easily keep your work and play apps separated. It’s a great way to ensure you stay focused, with a little bit of effort on your part, you can really enhance your Windows 10 virtual desktop experience.
We’ve already shown you how to use keyboard shortcuts, launch apps directly on a specific desktop, and use custom wallpaper one each desktop. Here are three more tricks to keep in mind when using Windows 10 virtual desktops.
1. Move Windows Between Virtual Desktops
To move windows to virtual desktops, do the following:
- Click the Task View button.
- Right-click the window you want to move.
- You can then select where you want to move it to. You can also create a new desktop to move the window to, if you prefer.
If you prefer to use the drag-and-drop method, while in Task View, go the Desktop with the window you want to move. Drag the window down to the Desktop icons and drag it into the desktop you want to move it to. You can see this process in action in the video below:
2. Close Apps in Task View
You don’t actually have to switch to a specific desktop to close an app. You can efficiently get rid of apps simply by going into Task View, and hovering over the Virtual Desktop with the app you want to close. Don’t click on the Desktop. Just move your mouse up to the app tiles that are visible and click the X in the top right corner of the app you want to close.
3. Personalize Your Desktops
If you’re using your virtual desktops to create a functional division of your apps, or to stay focused, it would be great to be able to rename each desktop in the Task View so that you can easily see at a glance how you’ve divided up your apps. While Microsoft doesn’t let you do that, there is a third party app you can use to customize your virtual desktops quite significantly.
The Virtual Desktop Enhancer makes it possible to assign labels to each desktop, to assign unique wallpaper to each desktop, and allows you to assign custom keyboard shortcuts to how you interact with your virtual desktops.
They have some pretty straightforward instructions you can follow to install and use the program. You’ll probably have to install Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015 first, and this will only work with the 64-bit version of Windows 10.
Once you’ve installed that, you can download and extract the Virtual Desktop Enhancer anywhere on your computer. There are only two files you really need to interact with. The first, Settings.ini, allows you to enter in all your customizations. You can open it with Windows native text editor, Notepad.
To label your desktops, scroll down to the section DesktopNames. You’ll find it pre-populated with 10 desktops. After the = enter the name of the desktop you want to use.
Unfortunately, this won’t change the label in the dock in Task View, but when you open up a desktop, that name will flash on the screen.
All other elements that can be be customized are included in the settings file. A list of the various settings and possible keyboard shortcuts that you can customize can be found here.
After you’ve made all your changes, close and save the file. You can then run the Virtual Desktop Enhancer application (it’s an EXE file.) Double-click the app to open it and your changes should take effect.
What tips and tricks would you add to this list? What features do you wish Microsoft would add to Virtual Desktops? Let us know in the comments.