Using Windows 10

Switching between virtual desktops

The idea of virtual desktops is straightforward: Instead of just a single desktop, you create a second, third, fourth, and so on. On each desktop, you arrange individual programs or combinations of apps you want to use for a specific task. Then, when it’s time to tackle one of those tasks, you switch to the virtual desktop and get right to work.

To create a desktop, click New Desktop at the top of the Task View window.

Virtual desktops show up as a row of thumbnails along the top of the Task View window, like this:

The system depicted here has three virtual desktops. Windows draws a bright border to indicate which desktop is active, and it dims the others. A New Desktop thumbnail makes it easy to expand the layout. You can switch from one virtual desktop to another by clicking its thumbnail. You’ll notice that your taskbar changes to reflect the makeup of the current desktop. To close an existing virtual desktop, select its name and click the Close button that appears. If any windows are open on the desktop you are closing, they will be transferred to the preceding desktop—from Desktop 3 to Desktop 2, for example.

A feature much in demand since virtual desktops were introduced is the ability to give descriptive names to desktops. That feature has been delivered in version 2004. To change the default name—for example, from Desktop 2 to Distractions—right-click the thumbnail and choose Rename.