How to work with virtual desktops in Windows 11

Windows 11 has spruced up the way you can run virtual desktops and juggle different apps.

Image: Microsoft

Windows offers you a couple of ways to multitask different apps and files. You can certainly open a host of windows on your current desktop and navigate among them. But the more windows you open, the more cluttered and crowded your screen becomes. If you need to juggle multiple apps, a better option may be to organize them through virtual desktops.

SEE: Windows 11: Tips on installation, security and more (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Windows 10 has long provided a way to create and work with multiple virtual desktops. That capability carries on in Windows 11, where it’s more accessible and fluid. You can set up multiple virtual desktops, each with its own apps and windows. After creating your virtual desktops, you’re able to quickly jump from one to another. You can also move, rename, and change the background for a desktop. Here’s how this works in Windows 11.

Let’s say you’ve already opened some apps and windows on your desktop. You’d like to open others but don’t have much room for them. At the Windows 11 desktop, hover your mouse pointer over the Taskbar icon with the two overlapping squares. Two thumbnail windows appear, one named Desktop 1 and one named New Desktop. Click the thumbnail for n\New Desktop and then click the thumbnail for Desktop 2 (Figure A).

Figure A

On this second virtual desktop, open the additional apps you need. To switch between the two desktops, simply hover over the Taskbar icon and choose the desktop you wish to view (Figure B).

Figure B

Need another desktop? No problem. Hover over the Taskbar icon and click the thumbnail for New desktop. You can now populate this third virtual desktop with more apps (Figure C).

Figure C

At some point, you may find it difficult to distinguish one desktop from another or remember which apps and files are in which desktop. To help you more easily identify each desktop, right-click on a specific one. Click the Rename option and give the desktop a more descriptive name, perhaps one that indicates which apps reside in it. Do this for each desktop (Figure D).

Figure D

Next, you can change the order of your virtual desktops. Right-click on a specific desktop and select Move left or Move right to switch its position (Figure E).

Figure E

To further distinguish each desktop, you can change its background. Right-click on a desktop and select Choose background. Pick a different background from the Background Settings window (Figure F).

Figure F

Finally, if you’re finished with a particular desktop and no longer need the apps or files on it, right-click on it and select Close (Figure G).

Figure G

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