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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Make the Most of Windows 10 Virtual Desktops

Are you aware that Windows 10 has built in Virtual Desktops? What this means is you can have multiple "desktops" on your computer that act like separate monitor screens.  If you're working on separate activities, rather that have all the windows stacked on the same screen, create a separate desktop for each activity and easily switch between them.

How do I use Virtual Desktops? 
Have you noticed the icon in your taskbar next to the Windows icon?  This is called the "Task View". It's the key to get started. Click on this icon and your screen will show all of the windows in your current desktop in miniature. At the bottom of the screen will be separate icons for each desktop.  If you only have one, it will be Desktop 1.  If you have more than one, you'll see each one listed on the bottom of the screen.

  • To create a new desktop, click on the "+ New Desktop" icon at the bottom right.
  • To delete a desktop from this screen, move your mouse over the desired desktop icon and click the X in the upper right of the icon.
  • To switch to a different desktop, just click on it.
  • To move a window from your current desktop to a different one, just click and drag the desired window in the main part of the screen to the desktop icon at the bottom.

Quick Switching Between Desktops
Rather than open the Task View, you may change desktops by simply holding the Ctrl and Windows key, and tapping the left or right arrows.

Windows 10 Shortcoming...
Virtual Desktops are a great feature, but there is no quick, easy way to tell which desktop you are on.  A great solution is a 3rd party program called Virtual Desktop Enhancer, available at:


I've been using this program and it appears to be very effective and safe, if retrieved from the link above.
  1. Extract the zip file and install.  
  2. You will see a number icon in the bottom right 'system tray' representing the current desktop number.  
  3. If you don't always see it, it may be in the 'hidden icons" area .  Click on the 'hidden icons' symbol to display it, then just click and drag the numbered icon into the system tray, and it will always be visible.

Another useful utility I have found is to enable you to move to the next available virtual desktop by simply clicking the middle button of your mouse. 

To do this,
  1. Retrieve a utility named X-Mouse Button Controller, available at 
  2. Install program.
  3. Open the setup.
  4. Find the entry for the middle button.
  5. Click on the field and a drop-down menu will be displayed.
  6. Select Simulated Keys.  
  7. Click the 'gear' at the right and enter:  {LWIN}{CTRL}{RIGHT}  into the custom keys field
  8. Click OK, then Close and you are all set.
 Hope you find this feature and enhancements as useful as I do.

Len

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