How to easily manage virtual desktops in Windows 10

Since the launch of Windows 10, you can have more than just one desktop at your disposal, thanks to a concept called virtual desktops. This means that you can have 2 or more ‘digital worlds’ that you can create to divide your work without having to buy an actual physical external screen. In one virtual desktop you use for administration (e.g. manage your e-mails), while on the second virtual desktop you are using for productivity (e.g. Photoshop to edit pictures). It’s quite easy to create a new virtual desktop in Windows 10, and switch between all your open virtual desktops. Here is how!

How to create a new (virtual) desktop in Windows 10

The best way to create a new virtual desktop is via Task View. The Task View option will be visible on the Windows taskbar. If it is not yet available for you, you will first have to enable the Task View option like so:

  • Right-click on the taskbar
  • Enable Show Task View button
Enable the option: Show Task View buton when right-clicking the taskbar in Windows 10

Once you enabled this little option, a new icon should appear on your taskbar, next to the Windows start icon.

Task View icon

Clicking this new icon will give an overview of all the currently open programs on your computer. Windows calls this ‘Tasks’. Just under these open programs, you will find your recent activity: recent documents or web pages that you worked on earlier that day. However, we are not interested in these possibilities for this blog post. Instead, at the very top of the screen (left side), you find the option to + New Desktop. Clicking it will create a new desktop environment: a copy of your desktop that is empty, with no open applications.

Click on New desktop to create a new virtual desktop environment

How to switch between desktops in Windows 10?

To switch between these different virtual desktop environments, there are two main options.

Switch via the Task View

The first option you have to switch from one desktop to another is with the Task View screen. Clicking the Task View icon on your taskbar will show all open programs/tasks. On top, you can switch between the different desktops that are open.

From the Task View, you can do more than only switch between the open desktops. There is also the option to create additional desktops, or close any open desktops that you previously created. As you may expect, you cannot have zero desktops: there will always be your default desktop that you cannot close. But what you can do is create a new desktop, then close the default one. The new desktop will then become your new default desktop.

Quick desktop switching via key combinations

If you consider yourself a pro user, or you simply want the fastest way to switch between desktops in Windows 10, you should look into using your keyboard. Thanks to 3 key combinations, switching between virtual desktops is super easy.

  • Win + CTRL + Left key
  • Win + CTRL + Right key

The above key combinations will help you hop from one screen to the other in no time and with almost zero effort. It may take some time to get used to this hotkey combination, but once you press these keys without thinking, your productivity will receive a nice boost.

Customise your virtual desktops via Settings

To further customise the virtual desktop experience on Windows 10, you must go to the Settings of Windows 10. Under System, select Multitasking and scroll down to the Virtual Desktops section.


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