How to Fast-Switch to Your Windows Desktop

Use Windows key shortcuts to become a power user

With Windows 10, Microsoft expanded the usefulness of keyboard shortcuts that rely on the Windows key. In general, these shortcuts govern tasks at the operating system level, while shortcuts using the Control and Alt keys usually work in the active application.

These instructions apply to Windows 10. Previous versions of Windows do not support virtual desktops managed by the operating system.

Illustration of Windows+D keyboard shortcut on Windows PC
Miguel Co / Lifewire

How to Display and Hide the Windows 10 Desktop

Use the Win+D shortcut to display and hide the desktop. This command forces Windows to switch to the desktop immediately and minimize all open windows to the taskbar. Use the same shortcut to bring back those open windows.

This shortcut works on all versions of Windows back to at least XP.

How to Create Virtual Desktops

Windows 10 includes virtual desktops, which offer more than one version of your workspace. One good use for virtual desktops is to separate professional and personal work.

Press Win+Ctrl+D to add a new virtual desktop. Repeat the button command to create more. Press the Win+Ctrl keys plus the left and right arrow keys to switch between screens.

How to Display the Task View to See All Virtual Desktops

Press the Task View button on the toolbar to open a full-screen overlay that displays thumbnails of each virtual desktop as well as apps that support timeline history. This feature was new in the Windows 10 18.09 release.

If you don't see the Task View button, right-click the taskbar and select Show Task View button.

The Task View button

The Task View button looks like a filmstrip and is next to the Cortana icon on the taskbar by default. In Task View, you can find apps and web pages you previously browsed. You can also delete, move items to, and add new virtual desktops.