How to increase productivity on Windows by using virtual desktops [Guide]

With virtual desktop options you can have multiple desktops on your Windows desktop or laptop, allowing you to be more productive. Virtual desktops is an option included with Linux, but Windows does not have anything comparable. That is unless you download virtual desktop software to Windows. Read on ot learn more.

Dexpot is a free software package (free for private use only) that has virtual desktop options with 3D effects. Dexpot works on Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8/8.1. Check out the Dexpot software website, select Download Dexpot to download it, and install it. (Take note Dexpot comes bundled with OpenCandy bloatware during install.) Then click on the Dexpot desktop shortcut to launch the software. A Dexpot icon should then be included on the Window taskbar.

Dexpot on Windows 7/8/8.1 includes thumbnail previews of the virtual desktops. Hover over the Dexpot taskbar icon to open thumbnail previews of the Dexpot desktops. However, thumbnail previews are not included with the Dexpot on XP/Vista.

Right-click the Dexpot taskbar icon to open a submenu. From there you can switch between your various desktops by selecting Desktop 1, 2, 3 or 4. Alternatively, press the Alt + 1, 2, 3 or 4 shortcut keys to switch desktops. To open the Dexpot settings, click Settings. That opens Dexpot window below includes various customization options for the software.


To open a preview of the four desktops, click on the Full-screen preview option. That will then open previews of the four desktops as in the shot below. From there you can select a desktop to switch to.Image


The Windows catalog option displays all the open windows within a desktop. A grid of thumbnail previews provide shortcuts to the windows. Select one of the thumbnails to open the window.

You can move open windows from one desktop to another. To do so, right-click the window’s title bar at the top. Then select Dexpot > Move and an alternative Desktop to move the window to.

Alternatively, click Desktop Preview to open the desktop previews in the shot below. From that grid left-click one of the application icons, and then drag it to an alternative desktop on the grid. That moves the software to an alternative desktop.

Dextop 3

Customize the Dexpot Desktops

To further configure the desktops, right-click the Dexpot taskbar icon; and then select Configure Desktops to open the window below. From there you can add separate wallpaper to each the desktops. Click the Background tab, and then select a desktop number. Click Browse and select an alternative wallpaper background image for the desktop. Then click OK.

Dextop 8

You can change the Dexpot keyboard configurations from the Settings window. Click the Controls option and Hotkey tab. To change the switch desktop shortcut key, click the + beside Switch desktops. Select a desktop, and then one of the key combination check-boxes such Shift etc.

Dextop 4

To add a Compiz-style 3D cube effect, click on Plugins and Settings at the bottom of the Settings window. Then click on the Dexcub check-box. That adds a 3D transition effect when you switch between the desktops.


Overall, Dexpot is a great package with which to add virtual desktops to Windows. It has a multitude of customization options, and the publishers regularly update the software. With Dexpot virtual desktops you can organize your applications and reduce desktop clutter.

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  • realuser

    Dexpot isn’t free. It has “open candy” spyware.

  • sgrams

    [@CJ Cotter]
    I will post back if I find it offensive, I recall opting out of something while installing the program.

  • CJ Cotter


    Right under the homepage download link is the statement, “powered by OpenCandy”.

    Whaddya tryin’ to do to us here? Is this thing laced with adware/spyware? OpenCandy is not easy to get rid of, either.

    As much as I’d like to have this program, NOT with OpenCandy, I’m not!

    Persuade me otherwise!

  • The real productivity gain in multiple desktops is that you don’t waste time maximizing and minimizing or searching through open windows when you are running several apps. Like, cutting and pasting between documents, or sorting through images and editing them. I used to think it was silly when I first started using Linux, but then I found that it was almost as good as having another couple monitors (almost). Just go to the switching hotspot with the mouse, flick the scroll button to the right desktop, get to work on that window, flick back again.

    Ideally, you’d have the option to have separate backgrounds on each desktop, but only Enlightenment does that, that I’m aware of. You can name them on KDE and Gnome, though.

  • sgrams

    [@Al P.]
    Free for personal use, I just installed it but will need to wait until I have more time to try it out, if I can get it to work like the examples I have a good use for this.

    Thank you Dottech for another useful program!

  • Al P.

    FYI: Dexpot costs “Approx. $ USD ? 33.00”

  • Mr.Dave

    I also use VirtuaWin. Started many years ago, and it still works great (Vista Home Premium 32 at home and Win 7 64 at work). I like it because it works well, it’s simple (even moving windows to different desktops, or gathering them all back together). Mostly it’s very light on system resources. Dexpot is a beautiful program and does a lot more than VirtuaWin, but I don’t have the space for it.

    My only complaint about VirtuaWin, and every other virtual desktop program I’ve tried, is that when programs decide to pop up alerts or open new windows, they open in your current active desktop and not the one they started from. Anyone know if Dexpot prevents this?

  • jipy

    I wanted to give the portable version a try but the download has been stopped by my anti-virus:

    “Pour votre sécurité, BullGuard a bloqué l’accès à cette page.
    Le site est répertorié dans les sites malveillants pouvant usurper votre identité, infecter votre ordinateur avec des virus ou effectuer d’autres actions malveillantes.”

    So, attention…

  • Harrkev

    I have used VirtuaWin. While not as fancy, you can add plug-ins to get a lot of extra eye candy back.

    Plus, it is OPEN SOURCE. That means no problems using this at work if you need to.