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Alt-Tab and Virtual Desktops

by | Apr 27, 2017 | Windows 10, Windows 10 Tips

I use keyboard shortcuts to an extreme. I don’t hate my mouse, but I find it so much easier to use just the keyboard, in particular when I am writing. One shortcut I use constantly is Alt-Tab to switch between open windows. With Windows 10, the user interface became what I consider Linux-like with the introduction of virtual desktops. With this feature, you can create multiple desktops with different applications running. You can also make one or more applications show up on all desktops!

Warning! These are not virtual machines. The amount of memory and processor power used is the same as if they were all open on one single desktop. It is more for organizing and segregating your work area (or hiding your open Solitaire game 😆).

I found a problem with using Alt-Tab – by default, it only works on your current virtual desktop. In order to get to an open window on another virtual desktop, you have to go there first and then use Alt-Tab to move around on that particular desktop. There is a solution, though, that is easily changed!

First, bring up Windows Settings. Then, click on the System icon and, from that page, select Multitasking from the left hand menu. Towards the bottom of the Multitasking window, you will see the Virtual Desktop settings.

Here, you can choose two options. The first one, showing windows that are open in the taskbar, I choose to leave at them being shown only on the desktop I am currently using. Showing them all tends to clutter the taskbar too much.

The second option, the action of pressing Alt-Tab showing the next window, is the one you need to change if you want to go through all desktops when looking for a particular window.

This one simple change give you total control with Alt-Tab for every window open on all desktops.



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