Virtual desktop software enables users to open programs in multiple desktops. Instead of opening and squeezing all your programs in one desktop taskbar, you can open them across multiple virtual desktops. This enables users to group software windows into separate desktops and reduce taskbar clutter.
Microsoft added virtual desktops to Windows 10, which you can access by pressing the Task View button on the taskbar. Consequently, Windows 10 users might not really need any extra third-party virtual desktop software. However, the built-in Task View is fairly basic with limited options.
For example, you can’t add individual wallpapers to virtual desktops or customize their hotkeys. Some third-party programs have much more extensive settings for virtual desktops than Win 10, which is the only Windows OS that even includes Task View. This is some of the best third-party software for Windows with which you can organize software on virtual desktops.
Virtual desktop software for Windows PCs
Dexpot is perhaps the best virtual desktop program for Windows that’s freely available for personal use. However, some user groups will need a 24.90 euro (approx $26) license for the software. Press the Download Dexpot 1.6 button on this page to add the program to Windows, and you can also save a portable version to USB stick by clicking Download Dexpot 1.6 Portable. This is a virtual desktop package with customization options that should be incorporated into Task View.
Dexpot enables users to set up 20 virtual desktops within Windows. The best thing about this software is that you can customize those desktops by giving them their own separate wallpapers, screensavers, hotkeys and custom resolutions. You can even distribute icons so that each desktop has its own unique software and file shortcuts. The amount of customization is well beyond what you can do in Windows 10‘s Task View.
Dexpot also includes numerous extra plug-ins, such as MouseEvents, Taskbar Pager, Dexcube and Wallpaper Clock. My favorite is Dexcube that activates a 3D-rotating cube effect when switching virtual desktops. The Desktop Slideshow plug-in automatically switches between the virtual desktops much the same as a slideshow. There are also a few experimental plug-ins you can add to Dexpot, which include Gadgets that adds sidebar gadgets to the virtual desktops.
VirtuaWin is virtual desktop software that hogs minimal system resources and has a good number of configuration options. The program works with all Windows platforms from Windows ME up, and there’s also a portable version of the program. This is open-source software you can add to your desktop by clicking VirtuaWin 4.4 at this page.
VirtuaWin is primarily a system tray app with which you can switch between virtual desktops and select other options from its menu. However, its setup window still includes a diverse range of configuration options with which you can customize the virtual desktop titles, layouts, hotkeys, mouse actions and more besides. One of the best things about VirtuaWin is that it supports up to 20 virtual desktops with minimal resource usage.
Another great thing about VirtuaWin is that you can enhance it with modules, which are similar to plug-ins. The software‘s website includes a variety of extra modules you can add to the VirtuaWin modules directory. For example, VMPreview provides a preview of the virtual desktops in window or full-screen modes; and KvasdoPager adds a virtual desktop pager to the taskbar similar to the Gnome pager in Linux.
Editor’s Note: This article continues on the next page. If you’re interested in other desktop tools, check out our wide collection of guides.