Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


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

  1. #1

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


    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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  2. #2


    Posts : 636
    Windows 7/8


    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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  3. #3


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    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.
    Last edited by Mystere; 23 Aug 2012 at 10:51.
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  4. #4


    Posts : 21
    windows7 x 64 windows 8 x 64


    Quote Originally Posted by FSeal View Post
    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. #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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  6. #6


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by Password View Post
    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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  7. #7


    Posts : 354
    Windows Server 2012 Standard w/Hyper-V


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


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    I agree that some extra desktops are missing in Windows but not all users need them.

    I use something basic like: Multiple Desktops for Windows | Free Development software downloads at SourceForge.net
    and made a personal 64bit version which works very well on Win7 x64 sp1.
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  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Kebero View Post
    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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  10. #10


    Posts : 354
    Windows Server 2012 Standard w/Hyper-V


    Quote Originally Posted by Password View Post
    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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why doesn't Win have a virtual desktop like OSX/Linux
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