How-To Geek

What You Said: How You Take Advantage of Virtual Desktops


Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite virtual desktop tips and now we’re back to highlight them. Read on to see how your fellow readers take advantage of virtual desktops.

Virtual desktops allow you to easily set up discrete workspaces by virtualizing the desktop space. Whether they have have a single monitor or multiple monitors, readers weighed in on how using virtual desktops helped them.

Metril writes:

I use Actual Window Manager. It has the ability to create grids and have virtual desktops at the same time. I usually have several PuTTY sessions open, so I give those their own virtual desktop. So, as soon as I open a session, it’s immediately organized by the session name. No need for any PuTTY managers with this.

I usually have anywhere from 10 to 30 windows opened; whether it be same program or different programs. So, it’s very helpful to have my taskbar change to reflect the virtual desktop I’m on and only reflect the immediately accessible open windows. Of course, I keep my Windows taskbar universal and have it show me everything.

Virtualization combined with a grid system is a nice combination, for sure. Katsume Blisk explains the benefit of using virtual desktops like multiple monitors:

I use them sort of like multiple monitors. I’ll keep certain things open so that I don’t have to minimize to switch documents. Alt+Tab is good if you only have 2 things, but when it’s more than that, workspaces are much better. Plus, I can multitask like others have said.

Citrus Rain expands on the idea of swapping desktops for tasks:

I use it to keep windows opened according to the tasks I am doing. I love using Gnome 3′s dynamic count of virtual desktops. Never have any I don’t need, (and added a window switcher plugin so I can switch windows faster)

Currently, I’ve been having it like this:
Desktop 1: Minecraft, Chromium(Google+, Minecraft Wiki)
Desktop 2: Bluefish, Filezilla, Chromium(Google+, site I’m working on, phpMyAdmin page I’m working on, and code lookups)
Desktop 3: Google+, Psi, Shutter

Hit up the the full comments thread to see what other applications HTG readers are using.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/4/12

Comments (5)

  1. Dark Reality

    Weak. Actual Window Manager is not free and looks needlessly complicated. Dexpot is free (it will ask for a donation after your 1,000th screen switch, but never again and you can dismiss it) and only mildly complicated. I have it set up to work just like the desktop manager in Linux, which is what I was after.

  2. metril

    @Dark Reality

    Weak. You barely even tried Actual Window Manager. It is not free, but it can be had for $10 through Trial Pay. Surely your credit card has the ability to create an “online only credit card” number that you can limit the max amount on. Find the cheapest offer on Trial Pay (there are $10 offers) and complete it. Receive your license. Go and cancel offer on Trial Pay. You have only spent $10.

    Actual Window Manager can be as simple as you want or as advanced as you need. Never judge something without trying it first. It’ll come really handy for you, especially when you actually meet people.

  3. Pamela Foster

    So what the two of you are really saying is that there are multiple ways that differing users may try and prefer? No need to get snarky, as we all have the same goal in mind: to share and learn from one another.

  4. Jeff Cameron

    @Pamela Foster. Shame every one doesn’t feel that way.

  5. Moustafa Borhan

    Dear All,

    i tried the above applications but it seems that i get the desktop icons shown in all the virtual windows, i’m trying to find an application that can be the same as the Linux Ubuntu (when you switch a desktop it totally moves you to a new virtual desktop with your own customization on every single desktop)

    the first one i tried it : it’s too complicated and filled with features that i don’t need
    the second one’s features is perfect but i just don’t find it similar to Linux

    please feed me back ASAP as i need it urgent and i have been looking for such application for a very long time

More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!