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why doesn't Win have a virtual desktop like OSX/Linux


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#1
does anyone know if some MS guys have said something about it in a blog or something? I just wondering because I use this feature (spaces or know mission control - or the same thing with another name in linux) all the time. They make multitasking for me (and a lot of other guys) faster and more pleasant than using the taskbar. So Win is the only OS which doesn't have something comparable.

btw. all 3rd party implementations from a virtual desktops in Win feels just very "unsmooth" with it's transitions (flickering windows etc) and not very reliable (I tested a lot of them). They behave all like an alpha version.
 

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FSeal

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#2
I'm sure they've been asked a million times, just not something they've ever seriously considered. I agree with your assessment of the third party tools as well. Never found one that I wanted to stick with.

And now... in the Metro world, your not expected to be running more than one or two apps at a time anyway so who would need multiple desktops full of multiple apps open at once any more? (I'm being facetious of course, but the way MS is going, they certainly don't)
 

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Mystere

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#3
Unfortunately, the architecture of Windows just doesn't lend itself well to virtual desktops like that.

Most implementations try to do what is done in the X Windows world, where you just hide and show windows. It just sort of simulates virtual screens. The problem is that Windows allows apps to control their own visibility and position, so often times apps conflict with these programs and you get really weird situations.

Windows has something called "Window Stations" which are virtual screens, but they are totally isolated. The Sysinternals app called Desktops uses this, and it's very stable. But, it has some limitations which make it hard to use. For instance, You can't move a window from one desktop to another, because the windows are tied to the window station. You also can't stop it once you've started it.

Microsoft could certainly enhance windows to support this, but so far it's not been a priority for them.
 
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slacker3343

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#4
And now... in the Metro world, your not expected to be running more than one or two apps at a time anyway so who would need multiple desktops full of multiple apps open at once any more? (I'm being facetious of course, but the way MS is going, they certainly don't)
Spot on, I love that feature in Linux.
 

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#5
Mystere, wow thanks for the info!

too bad, I worked with all OS (osx, linux, win) in the last couple of month and I really miss virtual desktops and the smooth visial transitions when I come back to win. I wasn' aware of how much smoother visual transitions work in linux and osx, even when you just change tasks. this visibility conflict with flickering windows from time to time in windows is really cumbersom. and the it's there since a long time with no hope that it may change.

There isn't another concept or workaround for virtual desktops in windows8 I did not see, right?
 

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Mystere

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#6
There isn't another concept or workaround for virtual desktops in windows8 I did not see, right?
No, as far as I know, nothing has been done to Windows to improve this situation, although I suppose in a way Metro is a virtual desktop.

Theoretically, With the advent of DWM (Desktop Window Manager) in Vista, Microsoft should be able to do what OSX does, but so far there has been no implementation of it.
 

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Kebero

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#7
I haven't tried it in Windows 8, but Dexpot works amazingly well in Windows 7.
 

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#8

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#9
I haven't tried it in Windows 8, but Dexpot works amazingly well in Windows 7.
the functions from program are almost perfect, yes, but if you change the desktop you often see a flickering from the window drawing (mystere pointed why, I guess). I havent't seen a programm which have a smooth transition in windows. (maybe you don't notice it if you don't know how smooth it is in linux or osx).

hopachi, thx I will chck it out.
 

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Kebero

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#10
the functions from program are almost perfect, yes, but if you change the desktop you often see a flickering from the window drawing (mystere pointed why, I guess). I havent't seen a programm which have a smooth transition in windows. (maybe you don't notice it if you don't know how smooth it is in linux or osx)
I think Dexpot works as well as any Linux implimentation. I use it because when I went from Linux back to Windows, I missed virtual desktops. Dexpot even gives you the cube if you really want it ;)
 

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#11
don't get me wrong. I like the program too! It's just this flicker when you change between desktops... I like a quick elegant transition (a very short fade - note: in OSX you have to change the transition time shorter via terminal to work better with massive multitasking).

and the cube is way too distracting for me and it flickers too. :) (flicker= a short flashing were you can see the desktop or just a short refresh from the window). I'm sensitive when it comes to flicker, but I think in 2012 we should have smooth transitions. even my android phone is way smoother in it's transitions. I have this problem in windows since a long time but I'm tired of accepting it when all other OS can do it way better.

by the way: the transition in win8 to the metro screen is perfect imho! I want this smoothness for my virtual desktop too.
 

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Hopachi

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#12
I haven't tried it in Windows 8, but Dexpot works amazingly well in Windows 7.
the functions from program are almost perfect, yes, but if you change the desktop you often see a flickering from the window drawing (mystere pointed why, I guess). I havent't seen a programm which have a smooth transition in windows. (maybe you don't notice it if you don't know how smooth it is in linux or osx).

hopachi, thx I will chck it out.
You're welcome.

Just keep in mind that it doesn't have a cube and there are no transitions from what I've seen: but there is no flickering.

It's still very basic and the reason for choosing it it's because it resembles Sysinternals Desktops:
Desktops
but it's source code is available and it's the only one I could build a x64 binary of it to see how it interacts with the system.
 

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jimbo45

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#13
Unfortunately, the architecture of Windows just doesn't lend itself well to virtual desktops like that.

Most implementations try to do what is done in the X Windows world, where you just hide and show windows. It just sort of simulates virtual screens. The problem is that Windows allows apps to control their own visibility and position, so often times apps conflict with these programs and you get really weird situations.

Windows has something called "Window Stations" which are virtual screens, but they are totally isolated. The Sysinternals app called Desktops uses this, and it's very stable. But, it has some limitations which make it hard to use. For instance, You can't move a window from one desktop to another, because the windows are tied to the window station. You also can't stop it once you've started it.

Microsoft could certainly enhance windows to support this, but so far it's not been a priority for them.
Hi there.

XP had this (I think you could have up to 4 Virtual desktops) -- Great feature used it all the time and still use it on my XP VM's and my 2003 server VM. Excellent piece of software -- why it disappeared after XP I'll never know.

However the Start Screen in W8 acts similarly (For launching Non Metro apps of course). Not quite the same but functionally achieves the same object. The 2nd / 3rd etc application open in Full screen (Windowed - not METRO) mode - but these are actually just multiple windows running on top of each other so you can re-size, switch to other monitor etc.

It's not a Virtual desktop unfortunately but It's an easy way of starting other applications without minimizing the desktop, or interfering with currently running applications.

In Win 7 you'd usually - especially if you had a few applications running - would minimize the desktop, then either launch your new app via quick launch toolbar or start menu, and then finally restore the desktop again at some point to switch to another application.

in Win8 you can leave everything running - go to Start screen - click on NON METRO TILE for your application and it will start in full screen (Windowed - not metro full screen mode) . You can then re-size etc - move to 2nd monitor etc. You still have all your other apps - you don't need to "restore the desktop" either.

I think this is actually easier than the Win 7 method although a Virtual desktop would give you individual desktops running the selected applications.

(Linux as people have posted does this stuff as a matter of course).

cheers
jimbo
 

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#14
...
Windows has something called "Window Stations" which are virtual screens, but they are totally isolated. The Sysinternals app called Desktops uses this, and it's very stable. But, it has some limitations which make it hard to use. For instance, You can't move a window from one desktop to another, because the windows are tied to the window station. You also can't stop it once you've started it
...
Hi there.

XP had this (I think you could have up to 4 Virtual desktops) -- Great feature used it all the time and still use it on my XP VM's and my 2003 server VM. Excellent piece of software -- why it disappeared after XP I'll never know....

Windows Stations (if it's based on Desktops) or Desktops doesn't support Aero / Transparency on the virtual desktops and I think this was one of those disadvantages (+ limitations that Mystere described) that they decided to remove it as a feature starting from Vista.

Desktops from Sysinternals used the basic theme in the virtual desktops. Does anyone tried this program in Win8 to see if it runs?

What I found out is that this prog looks like Desktops but has no problems with Aero and can be closed:
Multiple Desktops for Windows | Free Development software downloads at SourceForge.net

but as I said it's very basic but a x64 version is easily built.

Cheers
Hopachi
 

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