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Most of the heavy computer users like to have multiple desktops in working computer. If you are Linux or Mac OS user, you must be knowing the built-in feature to have multiple desktops and manage them separately. Unfortunately Windows OS is not having this feature. This small guide shows how to get Windows 7 multiple desktops with free tools.
Multiple desktops in Windows 7 basically helps to organize opened programs and files across multiple desktops. It is very similar to have another three monitors with ‘Extended Desktop’ feature. But, here you will have all four desktops (sometimes more) on same monitor and access them easily by switching among them.
For example, you can browse internet in one desktop and do MS Word or Excel office work on other and next one can be used to play game. So, it helps to have organized desktops with open programs and files on same computer monitor.
There are few free and paid applications available to get Windows 7 multiple desktops, but here we will be talking about three free products.
First free Tool for Windows 7 Multiple Desktops – Microsoft Desktops v1.02
Available under Sysinternals tools for Microsoft and still it can be downloaded from Microsoft site. When reliability comes to the consideration, this product is better than second tool because of Microsoft. You can create maximum 4 multiple desktops by this tool.
Installation is very simple. I have Windows 7 64 bit and the same package is installed inside 32bit program folder and worked fine.
Once you installed the application, new icon will appear in notification area. Right clicking this icon will bring the settings of Desktops v1.02. The hotkeys can be setup here to switch among different desktops by keyboard shortcuts.
The original desktop will be marked as Desktop 1. Other three desktops will be created when you try to access them at first time either by using keyboard hotkeys or accessing from notification area.
Open source Free Tool – mDesktop
This is developed by an individual person. mDesktop is doing the similar job as Desktops v1.02. Both tools are very lightweight which do not consume more resources from computer and not much settings are required.
More discussion about this product available at Microsoft site here.
Installation is very easy and you will see a new icon in notification area after the installation.
Right click the icon to get more options. With mDesktop you can have 10 virtual desktops in Windows 7.
These both tools are very small piece of software and do the job easily to get Windows 7 multiple desktops. But both are having few drawbacks and missing what is really required in multiple desktops.
What is Missing?
These tools should allow us to have different wallpaper, icons set, appearance, task bar and gadgets in each virtual desktop. But the above both tools do not full fill this requirement.
We can’t have different wallpapers on each virtual desktops and if you delete (or add) a file on a desktop, it will appear on all other three desktops. Also the theme and appearance remain same in all virtual desktops. Obviously it doesn’t serve the exact purpose of multiple desktops.
If you are looking to have customizable multiple virtual desktops in Windows 7 with free tool, then Dexpot can be a good solution. Dexpot allows to have multiple desktops which can have separate settings and options. Dexpot is free for private use but not a light weight application as other free two tools. It needs more resources and more settings to work with multiple desktops.
Here is a good and complete guide available at How-to-geek to customize Dexpot settings.