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Virtual Desktops: What are they & how do I use them?

Virtual Desktops: What are they & how do I use them?

Operating System
Windows 10
Virtual desktops are a feature that many users had been waiting for for years; both Linux & Mac users had had the feature available to them for years, leaving Windows users left out. Thankfully, they have been added to Windows 10 and they can be used in a number of ways, all of which will make you more productive than before.

What exactly are these virtual desktop things?

The virtual desktop feature of Windows 10 allows you to create multiple desktops, all of which can be running a different set of programs. This is hugely useful if you tend to have a lot of programs open at once, as it allows you to categorise them into different groups. For example, I tend to have 3 desktops open - 1 for my work, 1 for communication (email, Skype, etc.) and one for my music/videos/games (or other things that might otherwise distract me :p ). Obviously, how you use your virtual desktops is up to you.

OK, sounds great. How do I use them?

Before we begin looking at virtual desktops, we need to have a quick look at something called Task View. This handy feature shows you all of your virtual desktops, and all of the programs you have open (note that, by default, Task View will only show you the windows you have open on your current desktop). There are two ways to access Task View - you can either press the Windows key + Tab, or click the following icon on the taskbar:


This will bring up Task View. From here, you can see all of the windows you have open, and if you click on one it will maximise it for you (you can also do other things in Task View, but that's for another guide). You can also create a new virtual desktop. To do so, click the New desktop button:


This will take you straight to your new virtual desktop. From here, you can open up any programs that you want. If you want to move programs between desktops, simply open up Task View again (Windows key + Tab), switch to the desktop that has the program you want and drag and drop it to the desktop you want it on.

If you want to move between desktops, you can either do it from Task View (simply click on the desktop you want to go to), or you can use the Windows key + Ctrl + Left/Right Arrow keys to cycle between them. You can also use the Windows key + Ctrl + F4 keyboard shortcut to close the current desktop (or you can do so by clicking the cross next to it in Task View).
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Nice, plain and simple.