Ken's Korner Newsletter Logo June 2022
Using Multiple Desktops with Task View

Get more done in less time by multitasking with virtual desktops.

Task View allows you to have multiple desktops and can be a very valuable tool for multitasking in Windows 11.

Window 11 Task View icon.

The basic desktop is what you see when you have started the computer but haven’t opened any programs yet. It contains the background, taskbar and a number of icons. You can think of this as the default desktop. When you open apps on your desktop it is somewhat like an overlay on the default desktop. You can open a great many apps on this overlay but after awhile things become too crowded and confused. Finding the app you want at the moment becomes a challenge.

To solve this, you can open a “Virtual Desktop”. It starts out looking like your default desktop with the same icons as the default desktop. You can open new apps and not crowd the desktop to the point of incomprehension. For example, if you are preparing for a meeting, you can do that on one desktop while keeping your other work on a second “Virtual Desktop.

Creating Multiple Virtual Desktops
There are two ways to create virtual desktops The first is to click the Task View Icon on the taskbar. (It looks like a light square partially covering a dark square.) NOTE: If the Task View icon is missing right-click, (or press and hold) the task bar and open Task Bar Settings. Make sure the “Task View” is turned on in the Taskbar Items menu. If you are using Tablet mode in Windows 10, the option to show the Task View is not available in the taskbar’s menu.

Task View will show the current desktops, (at first there will be only one) and a clickable link for “New desktop”. Clicking on the Task View icon will show all your desktops. Click on the desktop you want to use.

The second way is to use the keyboard shortcut, (Ctrl + the Windows Key + D). This will open a new desktop and put you in it.

You can open more virtual desktops as the need arises. The number of virtual desktops that can be open at one time depends on your systems configuration. If there is a limit, I haven’t been able to reach it. Some people have opened as many as two hundred virtual desktops at one time and Windows had no problem with that.

Close a Virtual Desktop
To close a virtual desktop, click on the Task View icon and hover on the icon of the desktop you want to close. An X will appear on the top right of icon. Click the X and that will close that virtual desktop. Any open windows will be transferred to the next desktop.

Move apps from one virtual desktop to another
You can move an app from one virtual desktop to another. Click on the Task View icon and hover on the desktop with the app you want to move. Then click on the app and drag it to the virtual desktop you want to move it too.

Customizing your virtual desktop
You can rename each desktop, change the background image, move the desktop left or right in the menu. Click on the Task View icon and right click the virtual desktop you want to change. The options appear in a menu. You can modify the features for the selected virtual desktop from this menu. NOTE: you cannot change the desktop theme for individual virtual desktops. The theme remains constant across all the virtual desktops.

You can use Snap View to arrange apps on your desktop. Hover over the maximize icon on your app and select one of the layouts from the menu.

Windows 10 Task View icon

Windows 10
Windows 10 also has virtual desktops. They function about the same as the Windows 11 version but the icon looks a little different. The add new desktop and current desktops are at the top of the page instead of the bottom.

Windows 10 also used a feature called “Timeline” that would show previously open apps in chronological order. While this was a handy feature in Windows 10, for some reason it didn’t make it into Windows 11.


And remember — always back it up!



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