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How to be more productive using Desktops on Windows 11

Windows 11 Desktops
Windows 11 Desktops (Image credit: Windows Central )

On Windows 11, "Desktops" is the new name for "Virtual Desktops," a feature that lets you organize and group your tasks in a more meaningful way to help you be a little more productive. Usually, this is a handy feature to expand the screen's real state when you only have one monitor. However, even if you have a multiple-monitor setup, you can use Desktops to create different virtual spaces to separate your work, personal, and gaming areas.

In this Windows 11 guide, we will walk you through the steps to get started with Desktops to group your tasks on different virtual spaces to be more organized and productive.

How to create desktop on Windows 11

To create a new desktop on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Click the Task View button.Quick note: You can also hover over the Task View button to access the view, or you can use Windows key + Tab keyboard shortcut.
  2. Click the New desktop (+) button on the right side.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to create as many desktops as you need.

Once you complete the steps, you can start grouping your work into different spaces. On Windows 11, you can create as many desktops as you need. They will remain active (even after restarting the computer) until you close them.

How to customize desktops on Windows 11

On Windows 11, you can customize Desktops in a few ways. You can rename the desktop to anything that makes sense to you. It's possible to change the image background per virtual desktop. And you can arrange the Desktops in any order.

Rename

To rename a Windows 11 Desktop, use these steps:

  1. Click the Task View button.
  2. Right-click the desktop and select the Rename option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Confirm the new name and press Enter.

After you complete the steps, the virtual space will refresh the new name.

Change background

To apply a different background image to each desktop, use these steps:

  1. Click the Task View button.
  2. Right-click the desktop and select the Change background option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. In the "Background" page, use the Personalize your desktop drop-down menu to select a background option — for example, Picture.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select the image to set as background.

Once you complete the steps, each desktop will reflect the background image you specified.

Organize desktops

To rearrange the desktops, use these steps:

  1. Click the Task View button.
  2. Right-click the desktop and select the Move left or Move right option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Alternatively, you can always drag and drop the desktop in the order you want.

How to navigate desktops on Windows 11

You also have different ways to interact with your desktops. You can switch between desktops, move apps to another space, and you can replicate a window for an app on all the desktops.

Jump to a different desktop

To move to a different desktop, use these steps:

  1. Click the Task View button.
  2. Select the desktop you want to switch to.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

You can also use the Windows key + Ctrl + Left or Windows key + Ctrl + Right to switch between desktops.

Move apps to a different desktop

To move apps to another desktop, use these steps:

  1. Click the Task View button.
  2. Right-click the app and select the Move to submenu.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Choose the desktop to send the application.

While in Task View, you can also drag and drop the app to the desktop you want.

Show app on all desktops

To show an app on all desktops, use these steps:

  1. Click the Task View button.
  2. Right-click the app and select the Show this window on all desktops option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. (Optional) Right-click the app and select the Show windows from this app on all desktops option.

After you complete the steps, the app will appear on all the desktops.

How to close desktop on Windows 11

To close or remove a Windows 11 desktop, use these steps:

  1. Click the Task View button.
  2. Right-click the desktop and select the Close option or Close button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to close any remaining desktop.

Once you complete the steps, the desktop will be removed from the system. If you don't close the apps, they will be moved to the next available virtual desktop.

More Windows resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

6 Comments
  • Third taskview thumbnail resembles BigSur stock wallpaper.
  • I hope they added support for drag-and-drop of files as well for Task View and Multiple Desktop, but before that, drag-and-drop support for Taskbar and Start menu will have to return. I hope they will fix the animation problem on W11 though. Sadly there is ko animation when using shortcut keys and it is still missing animation when you hover the desktop thumbnail and click it. This never addressed since Windows 10, leaving feeling unpolished.
  • What I would like to see for more productive virtual desktops is being able to customize the start menu per desktop. Have a work and home desktop with a different set of pinned applications.
  • That will require actually to create new Desktop folder as you create new desktop since the icons are stored in a folder. The bottleneck is when you delete a desktop and those files will have to be moved to your primary Desktop folder, which can take from few seconds or minutes depending how many files you have.
  • How does it work with having multiple instances of the same app across different virtual desktops?
  • @MAUROHUCULAK, the article states you group your work into different spaces and that they will remain active (even after restarting the computer) until you close them. Have you actually tested this because it appears that your statement is incorrect? When I restart, all the work I laid out is cleared. The apps and their placement are cleared. The only thing that remains active after a restart is the virtual desktop and its name, not the actual work within the desktop.