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Published on 07.21.06 by Brent Trahan

Windows XP Powertoy Virtual Desktop Manager

Get more done and keep your desktop a little more organized with the Virtual Desktop Powertoy for Windows XP. You can have up to 4 virtual desktops running at once with this Powertoy. It’s similar but not quite as nice as the virtual desktop feature on most Linux operating systems.

15.pngGet more done and keep your desktop a little more organized with the Virtual Desktop Powertoy for Windows XP.  You can have up to 4 virtual desktops running at once with this Powertoy.  It’s similar but not quite as nice as the virtual desktop feature on most Linux operating systems.

Download the Powertoy

Microsoft offers what they call Powertoys for Windows XP free of charge.  You can download the Virtual Desktop Powertoy here.

Once you’ve downloaded the Powertoy, install it on your computer.

Using the Virtual Desktop Powertoy

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the Virtual Desktop Powertoy right-click on an empty space of your task bar (the bar with the start button on it) and point at Toolbars then select Desktop Manager.  You should see a desktop manager similar to the screen shot below near your clock.

The blue numbers 1-4 are your 4 virtual desktops.  Click each number to work on that virtual desktop.

If you press the green button you will see all 4 virtual desktops at one time on the same screen.  Click on the virtual desktop you want to work on.

Example of Virtual Desktop Usage

Most Windows users have never seen a virtual desktop before and might not find any use for it right away.  Linux users have used virtual desktop for a long time and are very familiar with it.

Here is an example of how a virtual desktop is used:

Let’s say on one desktop I have a few web pages open with news and weather sites so I can stay informed with what’s going on.  On the next desktop I might have Word and Excel open doing work.  On a third virtual desktop I might have a few online games up for when I am free.

I can easily switch between the virtual desktops and use each one while still keeping my desktop clean and organized.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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5 Responses to “Windows XP Powertoy Virtual Desktop Manager”

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  1. Michael says:

    This is indeed a great powertoy; is it possible to switch between desktops via the keyboard, or do you know? Even MS is no help on this one and Google’s coming up dry, but if you know that might be helpful. (In KDE you can, by default, do Windows_key-Tab to switch.)

    Thanks!

  2. Brent Trahan says:

    I don’t know. Microsoft doesn’t offer support for power toys. Please let me know if you do find a way to switch between desktops via your keyboard.

  3. ScottDF says:

    Right-click on the MSVDM and choose configure shortcut keys.

  4. Safi says:

    The default setting is win key + desktop number (1-4)

  5. Nelson Azambuja Jr. says:

    Hello. Is it possible to have different screen resolution settings for each virtual desktop?

    Example:
    Desktop 1: 1024×768
    Desktop 2: 800×600
    and so on.

    Thanks.

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