Virtual Desktops in Windows 10

Virtual Desktops in Windows 10

I know that there are already a lot of posts out there explaining the new Virtual Desktop feature in Windows 10.
But this post is meant to be a reminder of sorts. A quick access to the shortcuts and the possibilities that this feature brings me.
But for you, if you are just diving into this world, it might be a game changing way of how you work; do multiple tasks in an orderly fashion and bring (work-)chaos to minimum levels!

Virtual Desktop?

With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft introduced their users to the Virtual Desktop idea. It is not new, Linux users have had this ability for ages.
But I love it! I loved it on Linux, and I love it even more now it is available on Windows!

Having desktops beyond the limitations of a physical display is a powerful way to organize and quickly access different features of windows.
The high-level goals Microsoft identified were:

  • Give you more desktop space to group related windows
  • Help you quickly locate and switch to any window or group of windows
  • Let you easily re-organize your groups and move windows as tasks evolve
  • Keep you in control of the degree of separation between your grouped windows

Design

To add a new desktop simply click the Task view button on your Taskbar (or Timeline button for you windows insiders ;)) and click the "new desktop" button.
There is no limit to how many desktops you can create.
I like to have my development stuff ready on the first desktop, use my second desktop for any office and mail related work, and have a personal browser session ready on a third desktop.
But you can experiment and figure out what works best for you. The possibilities are endless!

You can view a lot of the features here if you are more off a "mouse-click-kind-of-person".

I, on the other hand, am a "keyboard-shortcut-kind-of-person" :). So I'll focus more on the keyboard shortcuts in this post.

Keyboard shortcuts

Open New Virtual Desktop

Windows + Ctrl + D: Where Windows + D will minimize all windows and take you to your current desktop, adding the Ctrl modifier will open a new desktop and switch you to it.

Switch To Next/Previous Desktop

Windows + Ctrl + Left / Right Arrow Key: Switch to the next or previous desktop.

Close Current Desktop

Windows + Ctrl + F4: This shortcut closes the current desktop and will switch you over to the next one. Watch out though, this will also closes the apps you currently have open on the desktop you are closing!

Move Apps from one desktop to another

Windows + Shift + Left / Right Arrow Key: This shortcut requires a bit of tweaking as it will not work out of the box. If you really want to (I normally use the Task view or Timeline view to arrange my apps and desktops) you can use this guide to set it up.

Enjoy, and let me know how it works out for you !

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