Microsoft Releases Free Virtual Desktop Manager for Windows

Microsoft’s sysinternals team has released a useful software utility for Windows called Desktops that allows you to have four virtual desktops at the same time. You can use the virtual desktops feature to run multiple applications at the same time with out cluttering your desktop.

Virtual Desktop Manager

Microsoft had this virtual desktop manager from long for Windows XP as a power toy (see useful power toys for windows XP). The new app is functional in Vista and is light weight.

You can run up to four desktops using this application. it comes as a slef executable file, meaning there is no installation, you could even carry it with your USB drive. This is quite useful for users who run lot of programs at the same time, you can do all your browsing in desktop 1 and listen to music in desktop 2, etc.


Virtual desktop manager sits in your systel tray, you can switch desktops using hotkeys or with your mouse.

Download Desktops, Via Digital Inspiration


  1. Jens says

    New Feature?
    Great. Every other OS in the world does this and much much more.
    Instead of implementing it in the OS it comes as an additional Program which is crap compared to Linux or OS-X.

    Microsoft if you copy functions. It´s OK. Everybody does it. But others try to make it better instead of trying to fake it.

  2. David says

    Lol looks like they aren’t good at copying other people’s software.

    This program creates four instances of your user account. You cannot send windows from one desktop to another by dragging or right-clicking.
    While the program is easy on the memory, the actual desktop swap is slow compared to linux.
    As was mentioned before the only way to shut it down is through task manager, and I’m still looking for the method to uninstall this garbage.

    Not often I can tell software is worthless in under a minute…

    • james says

      go to C:\WINDOWS\Downloaded Installations

      double click on “Virtual Desktop Manager Powertoy for Windows XP.msi” and it’ll give you an option to uninstall

  3. Daniel says

    It works as advertised and without any problems that I’ve experienced. However, I do have a couple of gripes about it.

    1. Memory hog. It’s not just separate desktops, it’s new instances of explorer.exe. Right after you start your machine, bring up Task Manager and look at how much memory explorer.exe is using. That’s how much base memory you’ll be using on each desktop. It’ll grow as needed.

    2. The desktops run in separate threads, meaning there’s no sharing between them. The most notable problem with this is that if you run, for instance, Firefox (and you really should be, but that’s another topic), and have it running in Desktop #1, it won’t run in the other desktops unless you copy the firefox directory to a new directory and run it from there. Now you’re losing both RAM AND hard drive space. Otherwise the executable shows as locked and wont’ allow another instance to start.

    3. You can’t send applications to a desktop; if you started it on Desktop #1, that’s where it’s staying.

    I’ve not tried the clipboard to see if it is shared between the instances, but I sincerely doubt it is.

  4. Demoli says

    Yes so they stole the idea from the *nix world. It’s still about time they added this.

    The implementation seems a bit of a hack. When you switch to a desktop it creates a new instance of explorer.exe. Given that explorer can be quite unstable i’m not sure how well this will.

    Can anyone enlighten me as to how KDE & Gnome implement this feature?

  5. Anonymous says

    That is laughable. Microsoft, continuing its tradition of copying the competition and not implementing mainstream features for at least 5 years, copies the X window system virtual desktop feature… badly.

    Of course, Microsoft never copies things well. Take a look at most the features in Vista, for example, either copied off of Mac OS X, UNIX, or Linux. And they’re all crappy copies. Now Microsoft brings us… a hack that was done better by a much better third-party developer.

  6. prometheus says

    I have used this,it is the worst piece of crap to ever call its self a virtual desktop manager.

  7. Tech Marketer says

    Interesting information. Well, there is no doubt that hosted virtual desktops are Hot. And the days of IT professionals marching from computer to computer performing the same tasks on multiple PCs are thankfully over. With hosted virtual desktop, after a major upgrade is integrated, there is no need to perform any tasks at an employee level—in-house or remote. Their machines are effectively the same, all of which are accessing data and applications through the cloud service provider without storing anything locally.


  1. […] Free Virtual Desktop Manager for Windows Posted in August 23rd, 2008 by admin in Computers Microsoft Releases Free Virtual Desktop Manager for Windows Microsoft’s sysinternals team has released a useful software utility for Windows called Desktops […]

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