VDesk for Windows 10: launch programs on virtual desktops - gHacks Tech News

VDesk for Windows 10: launch programs on virtual desktops

VDesk is a free, open source, program for the Windows 10 operating system that extends a system's virtual desktop functionality.

Microsoft added a virtual desktop feature to Windows 10 that is completely optional to use. It adds options to Windows 10 to create a number of virtual desktops that users can switch between to separate programs from each other.

The concept is not new and has been part of many Linux distributions for years. Microsoft released a program for Windows XP back then that added virtual desktop functionality to the operating system.

Virtual desktops work similar to using multiple displays but with the difference that only one virtual desktop is visible at a time.

Programs can be moved around between desktops, but there is no option to configure Windows to open programs on virtual desktops (all the time) when they are started.

VDesk: launch programs on virtual desktops

vdesk

Vdesk is a portable program for Windows that adds the feature to Windows 10. It is a command line program but ships with an option to integrate its functionality in File Explorer.

The main command looks like this: vdesk [n] [command [args]]

  • n sets the index of the virtual desktop you want to launch the program on.
  • [command [args]] specifies the program and arguments that you want it to start.

Use the command vdesk create:4 to create 4 new virtual desktops. The command vdesk run:notepad.exe launches Notepad on a new virtual desktop, while vdesk on:3 run:notepad c:\text.txt opens Notepad on virtual desktop 3 and uses an argument to load text.txt automatically.

So, on:n is used to specify the virtual desktop n, and run: specifies the program that you want to run.

You can run the application on start of Windows 10 to always load programs on virtual desktops when the operating system starts by creating simple batch files, and adding them to one of the many startup locations of the operating system.

The option to launch a program on a new virtual desktop can be added to File Explorer as well. You need to run vdesk -install for that on the command line, and will notice afterwards that a new "open in new virtual desktop" option is available when you right-click on executable files in File Explorer.

The command vdesk -uninstall removes the entry from File Explorer again.

The developer of Vdesk made a demo video that showcases the functionality of the program.

Closing Words

Vdesk extends the virtual desktop functionality on Windows 10 by adding options to the operating system to launch programs on specific desktops.

Now You: Do you make use of virtual desktops?

Summary
software image
Author Rating
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2.5 based on 9 votes
Software Name
Vdesk
Operating System
Windows
Software Category
Productivity
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Comments

  1. Jeff said on June 15, 2016 at 4:11 pm
    Reply

    Martin, do you know any free program to launch programs directly on secondary physical monitor? Or move the window to monitor where the mouse pointer is, automatically?

    1. Biu said on June 15, 2016 at 5:45 pm
      Reply

      Hi Jeff,

      Take a look here: https://www.ghacks.net/2015/10/07/start-programs-with-different-settings-on-windows-with-advancedrun/

      I use it to set X,Y coordinates of the opening app, so I can put it on second monitor.

  2. i214chess said on August 31, 2016 at 7:25 am
    Reply

    May you please create an install guide?
    How do install the context menu too?

    Thanks in advance!

    I just downloaded, from the release page, VDesk.exe but nothing happens when I (R) Click > Run As Admin
    https://github.com/eksime/VDesk/releases/

    I have this folder open too, waiting, so I can add shortcuts with WDesk commands.

    C:\Users\XYZABC\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

  3. Amstat said on September 5, 2016 at 5:50 pm
    Reply

    @batchfile test_start.bat
    vdesk 2 notepad
    vdesk 1

    REM This start the Notepad on the Desktop #2 and return to the Desktop #1
    REM Fix issue

  4. Franklin said on September 26, 2017 at 12:58 pm
    Reply

    On Win10, and using 4 vdesk’s, when [win]+right, the VM (VirtualBOX) receive de focus and works great, but when press [win]+left, the VM captures the key and don’t switch to previous vdesk, any way to solve this?

  5. Bob said on April 21, 2018 at 11:48 pm
    Reply

    The program does not work. The Vdesk demo is wrong , the install directions are wrong, the command options do not work

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on April 22, 2018 at 7:36 am
      Reply

      Bob, I have updated the article. The instructions appear to have changed since the review, the updated review reflects that.

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