How to Create a Virtual Desktop in Windows 11

Use the Task View button on your taskbar to make new desktops

What to Know

  • Click Task View > New Desktop+, then click the Desktop 2 thumbnail to switch to the new desktop.
  • To remove a desktop you’re done with: click Task View, mouse over the desktop thumbnail, and click the X

This article explains how to create a virtual desktop in Windows 11.

How to Create a New Desktop on Windows 11

Virtual desktops are managed through the Task View function in Windows 11. In addition to managing virtual desktops, Task View also provides an overview of all the apps that are grouped under your current desktop.

Here’s how to create a new virtual desktop on Windows 11:

  1. Click the Task View icon (the black square with a transparent square over it) on your taskbar.

    If you don't see the Task View icon, go to Settings > Personalization > Taskbar and turn on Task View.

    The Task View icon (black square with transparent square over it) highlighted on the Windows 11 taskbar.
  2. Click New Desktop +.

    New Desktop highlighted in Windows 11 Task View.
  3. Click the thumbnail of the new desktop.

    Desktop 2 highlighted in Windows 11 Task View.

    By default, the new desktop will be titled Desktop 2, Desktop 3, Desktop 4, etc.

  4. Your view will switch to the new virtual desktop.

    A new desktop on Windows 11.

    The desktop will have the same icons as the main desktop, but there won't be any active apps on the taskbar until you move something to the new desktop or open a new app.

  5. To switch back to your original desktop click or move your mouse over Task View and select the Desktop 1 thumbnail.

    Desktop 1 highlighted in the Task View quick switch popup.

    You can also swap between desktops by pressing Win + Ctrl + Left Arrow and Win + Ctrl + Right Arrow.

How to Remove a Virtual Desktop on Windows 11

Virtual desktops are useful for grouping different sets of apps for different purposes, but those purposes aren’t always permanent. When a virtual desktop is no longer needed, you can remove it through the Task View function.

Here’s how to delete a virtual desktop when you’re done with it:

  1. Click the Task View icon on your taskbar.

    The Task View icon (black square with transparent square over it) highlighted on the Windows 11 taskbar.
  2. Move your mouse over the desktop thumbnail that corresponds to the desktop you want to remove.

    Desktop 2 highlighted in Windows 11 Task View.
  3. Click the X in the upper right corner of the desktop thumbnail.

    The X highlighted on the Desktop 2 thumbnail in Task View.

    Removing a desktop doesn’t close the apps that were grouped under that desktop. Apps from the closed desktop will shift to one of your remaining desktops.

What Are Virtual Desktops in Windows 11?

The desktop is the main workspace of your Windows 11 computer. It’s made up primarily of a taskbar where you can run and switch between apps, and the desktop area where you can place files, folders, and app shortcuts. The default Windows 11 configuration includes a single desktop for each user, but it also allows a user to create additional virtual desktops.

The virtual desktops that you can create in Windows 11 work a little differently from the way each Windows user has their own unique desktop. When you create a virtual desktop, the files and shortcuts you have stored on the desktop don’t change. You can change the background wallpaper of individual virtual desktops, but they’ll all still have the same folders, files, and shortcuts.

Why Make a Virtual Desktop in Windows 11?

The main purpose of a virtual desktop is to separate your apps. For example, if you’re currently working on multiple tasks that use different apps, you can separate out your apps based on task and have one desktop devoted to each task. You could also have one desktop that’s dedicated to work, another dedicated to games and leisure activities, a desktop that only has your social apps, or whatever works for you.

Since it’s so easy to make and delete desktops in Windows 11, you’re free to make one whenever you want it, for whatever reason you need, and then delete it when you’re done. Virtual desktops remain even after shutting down your computer though, so you can keep them around in the configuration that works best if you do find them useful.

  • What desktop virtual machines run in the Windows OS?

    Some of the best virtual machines that run on Windows include VMware Workstation, Oracle VM VirtualBox, QEMU, and Hyper-V Manager.

  • How do I screenshot my Windows desktop?

    To take screenshots in Windows, press the Windows Key+PrtScn. To capture only the active window, press Alt+PrtScn. To capture specific parts of the screen, use the Windows Snipping Tool or Snip & Sketch.

  • How do I enable remote desktop in Windows?

    To enable Windows remote desktop, go to Settings > System > Remote Desktop > Enable Remote Desktop. There are also third-party remote access tools.

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