Some icons are placed on the desktop by default so that users can get access to them easily. You can also agree to create a desktop shortcut every time you install a new application. But how can you get to the desktop directly when there’re many opening programs, documents, and windows. This post on MiniTool website will introduce 3 ways to show desktop on Windows 10 quickly.
Windows 10 desktop is the main window you see after starting your computer. Several icons are placed here by default: This PC, Recycle Bin, Internet Explorer, etc. Besides, every time you install a new application on the computer, you’ll be asked whether to create a shortcut on the desktop or not in the last step of installation.
But how can you show desktop Windows 10 directly when there are many programs and windows opening? Don’t be anxious; 3 methods for Windows 10 show desktop will be introduced one by one in the following sections.
How to Show Desktop on Windows 10
For users who are opening too many windows for multitasking, it’s hard to find the correct window they need manually by clicking the icons on the taskbar. So they prefer to use keyboard shortcuts or key combinations to shift between windows (Alt + Tab) and view all task thumbnails in one window (Windows + Tab).
However, what if they want to show desktop icons Windows 10 quickly? It would be very troublesome to hit the minimize button (or close button) on opening windows one by one so as to get to the desktop. People are wondering if there’s a Windows 10 show desktop shortcut. In the content below, I’ll show you how to get to desktop on Windows 10 in 3 ways.
The First Way: Click on the Show Desktop Icon
- Look at the lower right corner to find the tiny area to the right of the small vertical line. (It’s on the far right of the taskbar.)
- Move your cursor here and click on it; the desktop will be shown to you immediately. (All the running programs and windows are minimized not closed.)
- You can also right click on this tiny area and choose Show desktop from the pop-up menu.
If you click on this area again (or right click on it and choose Show desktop again), the windows will pop right back up where they were before.
You can take a look at your desktop so as to see some key information directly by moving the mouse to the show desktop icon as long as the Peek at desktop option is enabled in its right click menu. You may configure the Peek at desktop by following steps:
- Open Settings.
- Select Personalization.
- Choose Taskbar.
- Navigate to Use Peek to preview the desktop when you move your mouse to the Show desktop button at the end of the taskbar.
- Toggle the switch under it to On.
The Second Way: Right Click on the Taskbar
- Navigate to the taskbar, which is located at the bottom of your screen by default. (You can change it manually.)
- Right click on any blank area on the taskbar.
- Select Show the desktop from the pop-up context menu.
To bring back the opening windows, you just need to right click on the taskbar again and choose Show open Windows.
If you find your Windows 10 taskbar is not working, please don’t panic since I have useful methods to help.
The Third Way: Use Keyboard Shortcut
- Make sure your keyboard is connected and functioning well.
- Press Windows + D simultaneously, no matter what window you are in.
- The desktop will be shown at once.
If you need to go back to the opening window where you left off, press Windows + D again.
That’s all about the methods and steps to show desktop Windows 10.
About The Author
Sarah has been working as an editor at MiniTool since she graduated from university. Sarah aims at helping users with their computer problems such as disk errors and data loss. She feels a sense of accomplishment to see that users get their issues fixed relying on her articles. Besides, she likes to make friends and listen to music after work.
Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast. Read more.
Sometimes you need to quickly see your Desktop in Windows 10, but you don’t want to tediously minimize every open app window or move them and lose their layout. Luckily, several ways to allow you to quickly see the Desktop, then pick up where you left off. Here’s how.
How to Show the Desktop Using the Taskbar Button
Let’s say you’re casually browsing your favorite website, and you have several windows open like this:
If you’d like to see an item on your Desktop quickly without disturbing your window layout, click on the tiny area to the right of the small vertical line on the far-right side of the taskbar.
That’s right—this tiny slice of taskbar is actually a “Show Desktop” button. Once you click it, your application windows will temporarily disappear, and you will see the Desktop.
This taskbar button works like a toggle switch. If you click it again, your Windows will pop right back up where they were before.
Very handy. If you don’t like using this tiny button, it’s possible to craft your own “Show Desktop” shortcut that you can place on the Quick Launch toolbar or pin it to the taskbar itself. You can also show the Desktop using a few other methods that we’ll cover next.
How to Peek at the Desktop Using the Taskbar
Windows 10 includes a second way of looking at the desktop quickly called Aero Peek. To use it, first find the tiny “Show Desktop” button on the far-right side of the taskbar. It looks like this:
Right-click on the “Show Desktop” button and a tiny menu will pop up.
This menu has two options. The first, “Show desktop,” is an action. If you click on it, you will see the Desktop just as if you had left-clicked on the button. The second option, named “Peek At Desktop,” is a toggle setting. If you click it, a checkmark will appear to its left.
After that, if you hover your mouse cursor over the “Show Desktop” button, you will see a quick peek at the Desktop with approximations of the current application windows showing as translucent outlines.
When you move your mouse away, your application windows will appear again. Once the novelty fades and you’d like to turn Aero Peek off, right-click on the “Show Desktop” button again and uncheck the “Peek At The Desktop” option.
How to Show the Desktop By Right-Clicking the Taskbar
You can also show the Desktop quickly by right-clicking on the taskbar. When a menu pops up, select “Show The Desktop.”
As with the methods above, all of your application windows will be temporarily hidden. To bring them back, right-click on the taskbar again. This time, select “Show Open Windows,” and they will return just as they were before.
How to Show the Desktop Using a Keyboard Shortcut
If you’d prefer to use a keyboard shortcut to temporarily hide your application windows and show the Desktop, press Windows+D. Like the ‘Show Desktop’ button, this shortcut works as a toggle. To bring back your application windows, press Windows+D again.
Further Adventures in Showing the Desktop
If you have a mouse or pointing device with extra buttons, it’s usually possible to assign the “Show Desktop” function to a button. For example, you could configure the middle scroll wheel button this way, and when you’d like to quickly see your desktop, just click the button. Configurations vary, depending on the mouse utility software (or drivers) you are using. Whichever way you set it up, you’ll probably feel like you are using Windows 10 more efficiently. Have fun!
It’s no doubt that Windows is right now the most used desktop operating system. Compared to every other desktop operating system, Windows provides users more features and customization options. On average, we use almost 10-15 Windows software. Due to the opened windows, sometimes, we face difficulties while accessing the desktop.
Although you can minimize all opened windows one by one, Windows provides you a better way to minimize all Windows at just one click. Yes, there’s a fast way to minimize all Windows in one action.
How To Quickly Show Your Desktop on Windows 10 PC
So, in this article, we have decided to share some of the best methods to quickly show your desktop on Windows 10. These methods would allow you to see the desktop quickly, then pick up where you left off.
1. Using the Taskbar Button
If you deal with lots of software Windows, then you can use the show the desktop taskbar button to open desktop instantly. The taskbar button views the desktop quickly without interrupting your Window layout.
To use the Show the desktop button, click on the small vertical line on Taskbar. The Vertical line is located on the right end of the Taskbar.
2. Using the Peek at Desktop Feature
Not many would know, but Windows 10 does provide users a second way to peek at the desktop. The feature is known as ‘Aero Peek’. The Peet at desktop feature will give you a quick peek at the desktop. Once you move your mouse away from the taskbar button, the application Windows will appear again.
To use the feature, right-click on the taskbar button and then select ‘Peek at Desktop’. This will change the button functionalities.
3. Show the Desktop Using Taskbar
Well, if you are not comfortable with the tiny taskbar button, then you can choose to use the Taskbar itself. To show desktop from the Taskbar, right-click on anywhere on the Taskbar and select ‘Show the Desktop’ option. This will show you the desktop.
To bring back the application Window, right-click on the Taskbar again and select ‘Show open Windows’. This will take you back where you have left off.
‘Show open Windows’ option
So, these are the three best methods to show your desktop on Windows 10 quickly. I hope this article helped you! Share it with your friends also.
If you are a fan of Windows 7, you will miss the large “Show Desktop” shortcut in Windows 10. Though you can click on the small vertical bar on the right corner of the taskbar to show desktop, this is highly inaccessible. Many users do not know there is a button hiding at the corner and difficult to precisely hover or click on that small area. The solution is to create a custom show desktop shortcut and keep it on the desktop or taskbar or start menu as per your convenient. This will help you to toggle the desktop and open applications freely.
Enable Peek Preview Desktop
By default, you can hover over the button to peek preview desktop without clicking on it. If this does not work, you can enable from the settings.
- Press “Win Logo + I” shortcut keys to open Windows Settings app.
- Go to “Personalization” section and then to “Taskbar” tab.
- Enable the option “Use Peek to preview the desktop when you move your mouse to the Show desktop button at the end of the taskbar” under “Taskbar” section.
How to Create Show Desktop Shortcut in Windows 10?
There are two methods, you can create “Show Desktop” shortcut for quick access.
- Add default Show Desktop shortcut
- Create a custom Show Desktop shortcut
Add Default Show Desktop Shortcut
Windows 10 keeps the Show Desktop shortcut in the following location.
C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
Open the location in File Explorer, by changing the username to your username.
Copy the “Show desktop” shortcut and paste it on your desktop.
Now, you can double click on the “Show desktop” to toggle between desktop and open applications.
Note, AppData folder is a hidden folder in Windows 10. If you do not see the shortcut, enable viewing hidden files by selecting “Hidden items” option under “View” menu in File Explorer.
Assign Keyboard Shortcut to Show Desktop
Though the above method is useful, you cannot pin the “Show desktop” shortcut to taskbar or start menu. When you right click on the icon, you will not see any options to pin it to taskbar. This make adding the shortcut icon on the desktop useless as you have to first view the desktop to double click on the icon. However, you can assign keyboard shortcut so that you can toggle desktop with shortcut keys.
Right click on the “Show desktop” icon on the desktop and go to “Properties”. Click on the “Shortcut key” text box and press alt, shift or control keys. You will see the modifier keys appearing in the text box and press any shortcut key like 1 or / to complete the combination. For example, we have setup the shortcut keys as “Control + Alt + 1” as shown in the below screenshot.
Click “Apply” and “OK” buttons to save your changes. Now, press the shortcut keys to toggle desktop whenever you need.
Create Custom Show Desktop Shortcut
If you love to use taskbar or start menu shortcut then follow the below instructions. First, delete the “Show desktop” shortcut created using the above method.
- Right click on the desktop and select “New > Shortcut” option.
- Enter the below code in the location text box and click “Next” button.
- Provide a name for your shortcut like “Show Desktop” or “Desktop”.
- Click “Finish” button to add a new shortcut to your desktop. Now, you can see a “Show Desktop” shortcut on your desktop. Right click on it and select “Pin to taskbar” option.
- This will pin the shortcut icon to your taskbar.
Change Icon for Show Desktop Shortcut
As you see the default icon looks like the Folder icon in Windows 10, it may create confusion when pinning to the taskbar. In order to change the icon for your shortcut, right click on it and select “Properties”. On the “Properties” window, click on “Change Icon…” button.
Select an icon that you can remember to show desktop.
Click “OK” buttons on the dialog boxes to apply the change. You can see the show desktop shortcut has a different icon as you have selected.
You can unpin the previous Folder icon from taskbar and pin the new shortcut. Henceforth, click on the taskbar shortcut to toggle the desktop and open applications with single click.
Consideration for Additional Monitors
When you have dual monitors, you can allow the taskbar on both monitors so that it is easy to show desktop from any of the monitor.
- Go to Windows Settings app and then to “Personalization > Taskbar” settings.
- Turn on “Show taskbar on all displays” option under “Multiple displays” section.
- Also, select “All taskbars” option for “Show taskbar buttons on”.
This will enable the taskbar and pinned shortcuts on all monitors connected to your computer.
Make better use of your computer’s memory
What to Know
- Put files on the desktop in the My Documents folder (or anywhere other than the desktop).
- Create shortcuts on the desktop for the files you use frequently. Use the Start Menu to park app shortcuts.
- Schedule a regular cleaning to put away files as they accumulate on the desktop. Delete files and folders you no longer use.
This article explains how to clean up your Windows desktop and keep it that way. Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.
How to Clean Up Your Windows Desktop
If your formerly fast-running computer has slowed down noticeably, take a close look at your desktop. Is it littered with icons, screenshots, and files? Each of those items takes memory that your computer could put to better use elsewhere. To speed up your computer, clean your Windows desktop.
Each time Windows starts, operating memory is used to display all the files on the desktop and to locate the position of all files represented by shortcuts. If there are dozens of files sitting on the desktop, they use lots of operating memory, essentially for no purpose or gain.
The best way to clean up your desktop is to put your documents in the My Documents folder and your other files where they belong (anywhere other than the desktop). If you have numerous files, you can put them in separate folders and label them accordingly.
Create shortcuts on your desktop only for the folders or files you frequently use. Simplifying the desktop contents frees up operating memory, reduces the time and frequency the hard drive is in use, and improves the response of your computer to programs you open and things you do. The simple act of cleaning the desktop makes your computer run faster.
How to Keep Your Desktop Clean
The more desktop items you have, the longer it takes for your computer to start up. Make a conscious effort to “park” fewer icons on your desktop. Other steps you can take include:
- Schedule a weekly or monthly cleaning to corral any stray items that have gathered on your desktop since the last cleanup.
- Use the Start Menu as a parking place for app shortcuts. Pin any app on your desktop to the Start Menu by right-clicking it and selecting Pin to Start.
- Delete any shortcuts, screenshots, or files you no longer use.
- Gather all the files and folders you want to keep on the desktop and instead place them in a single folder on the desktop.
- Hide all the icons on the desktop by right-clicking on the desktop, going to View and deselecting Show desktop icons in the context menu. Repeat the process to show them again.
You may need to organize your Start Menu into groups to keep everything there tidy and accessible.
Before you know it, hoarding files on your desktop will be a thing of the past and your computer will be running like it did when it was new.
Minimize open windows and use your screen space more efficiently
- Wichita Technical Institute
What to Know
- Tap the minimize icon of an open app to hide its window to the taskbar.
- To quickly minimize all open windows, press Windows + D.
- Use Windows + Home key to minimize all application windows except the active window.
This article will show you how to minimize your screen in Windows 10.
Use the Minimize Button on the Application’s Title Bar
Minimizing windows that aren’t active helps you optimize the limited screen estate of computer screens.
Tap the minimize icon to hide the window to the taskbar.
Tap the icon on the taskbar again to maximize the window.
Where Are the Minimize and Maximize Buttons?
The Minimize and Maximize buttons are located in the top-right corner of the application window’s title bar. The Minimize icon looks like a dash or an underscore. The Maximize/Restore icon is usually a square when maximized partially or two overlapping squares when it is maximized completely. The last icon in the group is the X button to close the app.
Hover on the button to display a tooltip when you are confused.
Use a Right-Click on the Application’s Title Bar
The right-click context menu is a shortcut to different commands.
Move the mouse to the top of the application and its title bar.
Right-click anywhere to display the menu.
Select Minimize to hide the window to the taskbar.
Use the Taskbar Preview
There are quicker ways to control the view of an app window, but the little preview window can help when you open multiple browser windows.
Hover the mouse over the taskbar icon of an open app to display the preview.
Right-click on the preview thumbnail.
If the app is minimized, you can opt to select Maximize, Restore, or Close.
How Do I Minimize My Screen Quickly?
The primary way to minimize a window is also the fastest method with a mouse. Every open app displays an icon on the taskbar. Tap on the icon once with the mouse to minimize the open app window and tap it again to get the full view.
Keyboard shortcuts can also be a quick way to minimize and maximize your active screen. The different keyboard shortcuts are mentioned in the next section, but using Windows + D keys to toggle the windows is arguably the fastest way to minimize your screen and show your desktop.
- Press Windows + D to minimize all open windows.
- Press Windows + D again to restore the minimized windows.
Alternatively, select the tiny slice of the Windows 10 taskbar next to the notification area. It’s the “Show Desktop” button that makes all open windows disappear to reveal your desktop. Like the shortcut keys above, it also works as a toggle.
What Is Peek at Desktop?
The Aero Peek feature on Windows 10 is another quick way to bring up the desktop.
Right-click on the Show Desktop area on the taskbar to display a small menu.
Select Peek at desktop.
To display the desktop, hover the mouse over the Show Desktop button. Move your mouse away, and the open windows will reappear.
Uncheck the feature from the menu to turn it off when you don’t need it.
What Is the Shortcut Key for Minimize?
Shortcut keys are the only ways to minimize your screen without a mouse. Here are the combinations you can turn into a habit.
Shortcut 1: Alt + Space + N
The Alt + Spacebar combination opens the tiny system menu with the minimize and maximize options. The extra “N” modifier selects the minimize option in the menu (you can see the letter underlined in the minimize command). This combination will only work if your PC’s default language is English.
Shortcut 2: Windows Key + M
This will minimize all open windows. Press Windows + Shift + M to restore all the minimized windows.
Shortcut 3: Windows Key + Home
This shortcut will minimize all apps except the active one.
Shortcut 4: Windows Key + Down Arrow
Press the Windows key and the down arrow key to slightly reduce the size of the open app window. Press Windows Logo + Up Arrow to restore to original size.
How Do I Resize My Screen in Windows?
The minimize and the maximize button are the two extremes. There’s an in-between state where the icon resembles two overlapping boxes. The restore down option reduces the size of the window but does not minimize it to the taskbar.
Select the Restore Down button to reduce the size of the application window.
Drag the corners to resize the application window to any suitable dimension.
Windows remembers this size, and tapping the Restore Down button from a maximized state shrinks the app’s window to this shape and location.
Select the yellow button on the upper-left part of the window or use the Command+M keyboard shortcut. To reduce two windows and view them side-by-side, use the split-screen feature on macOS 10.15 and later. Hover over the green full-screen button > select Tile Window to Left of Screen or Tile Window to Right of Screen > and choose the other window to display beside it.
Go to Settings > Display > Display mode > Windowed. You can also use the Windows+D shortcut on a PC or Command+M on macOS if you enable full-screen mode. Use the Backslash (\) to toggle between full screen and window mode on Windows and Command+F on a Mac.
LearnTips › LearnTips › How to quickly split screen on Windows 10 into 2, 3 & 4?
First, make sure multitasking is enabled on your Windows 10. This should already be enabled by default.
Start > Settings > System > Multitasking
Using the snap feature, all you need to do is to drag an app/window to any side or corner of the screen to fix it in place.
To split your screen into 2 halves:
Open two windows/apps. Move your mouse cursor to the top of one window, left-click and hold the mouse button. Drag that window to the left or right side of the screen and, you will see an outline. Now, release the mouse button.
That window will now occupy one half of your screen. Other windows will now preview on the other half. Click the window that you want to occupy the other half of your screen.
Now, these two windows will equally occupy your screen as seen in the above screenshot.
If you want to resize windows, move your mouse cursor over the dividing line between the windows. Drag the dividing line to resize both windows simultaneously.
To split your screen into 3:
To include a third window into your screen, drag that window to any corner of your screen and, you will see an outline. Then, release the mouse button and it should fix in place.
Now, you have 3 windows occupying your screen. One window should be occupying one half of the screen and the other two windows equally occupying the other half of the screen as seen in the above screenshot.
To split your screen into 4 quarters:
Similarly, drag 4 windows to 4 corners of your screen and release. It should get divided into 4 quarters as seen in the above screenshot.
Say you had to attend to an emergency at work or your child or spouse needed something suddenly. This means leaving your PC and attending to other relevant issues every once in a while. But there are risks attached, especially if you don’t turn off the screen.
Someone could access your data and use it for malicious purposes. Or they could ruin an entire day’s work by mistake when going through your computer. To prevent any of that from happening and to also help use less energy, here are several ways to turn your Windows PC screen off more quickly.
1. Use Your Windows Power Management Settings
You can create a custom setting that forces your computer to shut down the screen just by using the power button. To do this, you will need to do the following:
1. Go to your computer’s Control Panel and search for the terms “change what the power buttons do.”
2. Click on the result and set your PC to sleep each time you press the power button. You can do this by clicking the drop-down menu.
3. As soon as you finish, save your settings.
2. Set Your Power and Sleep Settings
Using the power settings is an efficient way to turn off your screen in Windows quickly. It is especially useful when you have to step away from your computer at a moment’s notice. It works by turning the display off after a set period elapses. Here’s how to do this:
1. Go to Windows search and search for “power & sleep settings.” (You must use the ampersand sign.)
2. Click on the result. It should present a screen that looks like the following image:
3. Click on the first two drop-down menus and set the screen to go off in two minutes.
4. Repeat the same step for the sleep settings too.
That’s all. The next time you step away from your PC, you can be sure it would go to sleep after two minutes.
3. Turn Your Screen Off in Windows Using a Keyboard Shortcut
Windows has many built-in shortcuts for many functions. There is also one that you can use for turning off your PC screen more quickly. Follow the steps below to achieve this.
1. Go to your desktop screen/home screen. This is important because the next step only works on the home screen.
2. Press the keyboard combination keys Alt + F4 .
3. Choose “sleep” and your PC screen will turn off immediately.
4. Use the Start Menu
All it takes is two quick clicks to put your Windows computer into Sleep mode. As long as you have a username/password set up, no one can access your screen until you get back.
Open the Start menu and click the Power icon. Click Sleep to immediately turn off your screen without turning off your computer. You don’t even have to save your work before you do it.
5. Using a BAT Script
A BAT script is an executable file for Windows. You can run it from the command prompt tool. You can use the script to turn your screen off in Windows, and it is safe too.
Follow these steps to use the BAT script:
1. Download the BAT file and place it on your desktop.
2. Right-click and select “Run as Administrator.” This will shut off your PC screen immediately.
6. Use DisplayOff Tool
The DisplayOff tool is a free utility program designed to help you switch off your Windows PC screen. It is easy to use and doesn’t have any Graphical User Interface. It is run the same way as a BAT file.
How to use the DisplayOff tool:
- Download the tool
- Run as administrator.
- Your Windows PC screen will go off immediately.
7. Use Dark Tool to Turn Off Windows PC Screen
Dark is a small tool that you can install to help you quickly turn your screen off in Windows. It requires installation. After installation, it places an icon as a shortcut in your Windows taskbar.
1. Download and install Dark Tool.
2. Start the Dark tool. It will create an icon on your taskbar.
3. Click the icon to turn off your screen.
8. Use Blacktop Tool to Turn Off Your Screen in Windows
The Blacktop tool is like the Windows BAT file, except that it allows you to use a keyboard shortcut to run it instead of clicking on it. The shortcut is Ctrl + Alt + B .
You can download this tool on Softpedia.
Turning off your Windows PC screen should not be a tedious task. The above steps should be more than enough to help you achieve that. When you next need to shut off your PC screen more quickly, remember that you have many options.
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On the ever-changing canvas that is a Windows computer, the Desktop is the single point of consistency. If a Windows computer was to be expressed as a function on a two-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, the Desktop would be the origin (0,0). Basically, the Desktop, on a Windows computer, is the user’s home-base. This is true in the case of all versions of the Windows Operating System to have ever been developed and distributed to the public, including Windows 10 – the latest and greatest iteration of Windows. The Desktop can, however, get buried under heaps and heaps of windows and open programs when you go about doing a lot of multitasking.
So, what does one do if they get around on their computer a lot and end up putting dozens of open windows between them and their Desktop, and then need to get to their Desktop for whatever reason? Minimize all of the windows they have open in front of them one by one? That’s certainly an option, but it is not the most efficient option. Thankfully, there exist two different ways for users to instantly minimize everything they have open and be taken to their Desktop on a Windows 10 computer. Here’s how you can instantly get to the Desktop on a Windows 10 computer:
Method 1: Using your mouse
- Navigate to the Notification Area located on the right-hand side end of your computer’s Taskbar.
- Locate a small rectangular button located at the right-most edge of the Notification Area.
- Click on the small rectangular button, and you will be instantly taken to your Desktop. Hover your mouse over this button, and you will be allowed to take a quick peek at your Desktop.
Method 2: Using a keyboard shortcut
On your keyboard, simply press the Windows Logo key + D, and regardless of where you are or what you are doing or what applications you have open, all open windows will be minimized and you will be taken to your Desktop.
Whether you get to the Desktop on a Windows 10 computer using your mouse or the keyboard shortcut, performing the same action one more time once you’re on your Desktop will maximize all of the windows you minimized in order to get to your Desktop in the same exact order. Not only can you quickly get back to whatever you were doing once you have what you needed from your Desktop, but if you accidentally minimize everything you have open and go to your Desktop, the process is completely and easily reversible.
Take advantage of the virtual desktop feature in Windows 10 to organize your virtual space while working on a bunch of different things at once.
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
Sarah is a freelance writer and CNET How To blogger. Her main focus is Windows, but she also covers everything from mobile tech to video games to DIY hardware projects. She likes to press buttons and see what happens, so don’t let her near any control panels.
Rae Hodge is a senior editor at CNET, leading its coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools. She’s a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, reviewing VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.
Alison DeNisco Rayome
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a managing editor at CNET, now covering home topics after writing about services and software. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
Using virtual desktops in Windows 10 can be highly advantageous, particularly for anyone with a single-monitor setup. If you’re still working from home due to the pandemic and juggling several different projects on the same computer, multiple desktops can be a life-saver. (And now, if you’re one of the many who are upgrading to Windows 11 , it’s even easier to set up and toggle between multiple virtual desktops . And you’ll have access to other cool features like support for Android apps .) Whether you’re a longtime Windows 10 user or have only recently upgraded to Windows 10 after support for Windows 7 ended in 2020, we’ll walk you through using multiple virtual desktops.
The Task View pane in Windows 10 allows you to add an unlimited number of virtual desktops quickly and easily. You can manage the view of your virtual desktop, and move applications to different desktops, show windows on all desktops or close pages on a selected desktop. Here’s how to do it.
How to add a desktop in Windows 10
To add a virtual desktop, open up the new Task View pane by clicking the Task View button (two overlapping rectangles) on the taskbar, or by pressing the Windows Key + Tab. In the Task View pane, click New desktop to add a virtual desktop. If you have two or more desktops already open, the “Add a desktop” button will appear as a gray tile with a plus symbol. You can also quickly add a desktop without entering the Task View pane by using the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + Ctrl + D.
How to switch between desktops in Windows 10
To switch between virtual desktops, open the Task View pane and click on the desktop you want to switch to. You can also quickly switch desktops without going into the Task View pane by using the keyboard shortcuts Windows Key + Ctrl + Left Arrow and Windows Key + Ctrl + Right Arrow.
You can add an unlimited number of virtual desktops — we stopped at 368.
How to move windows between desktops in Windows 10
To move a window from one desktop to another, you first have to open up the Task View pane and then hover over the desktop containing the window you want to move. The windows on that desktop will pop up; find the window you want to move, right-click it, and go to Move to and choose the desktop you want to move the window to. You can also drag and drop windows — grab the window you want to move and drag it into the desired desktop.
How to close a desktop in Windows 10
To close a virtual desktop, open up the Task View pane and hover over the desktop you want to close until a small X appears in the upper-right corner. Click the X to close the desktop. You can also close the desktop you’re currently on without going into the Task View pane by using the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + Ctrl + F4.
Suppose in the middle of your work, you are called upon, and you have to leave the desktop for a minute or an hour. But you cannot turn off the entire system for it might impede the work in progress. On such an occasion, you can actually Lock your screen to a dead lock condition. Even if anyone tries to move the mouse, it won’t budge the cursor on the desktop screen. This trick greatly saves you from various annoying situations, when kids try to interfere with your work, or anybody tries to explore your account details and storage contents without your permission while you are away. Locking your Windows 10 screen is not a difficult task to achieve. Few simple short key combinations and few manual settings can do the job.
Here in this article we would illustrate the sum total of four tricks to enable you to lock your screen.
- Part #1: Lock Windows 10 Comptuer with Window’s Logo Key
- Part 2: Lock Your Windows 10 Comptuer using ‘Ctrl+ Alt + Delete’
- Part 3: Lock Your Windows Computer with ‘Lock’ Button
- Part 4: Create Shortcut on Desktop to Lock Windows 10 Screen
Part #1: Lock Windows 10 Comptuer with Window’s Logo Key
Windows logo key has wide range of applications other than just popping up the Start menu. One of them is to enabling the Lock feature in Windows 10. And this is how it is done:
Step 1. In whichever webpage or program operating window you are in right now. Just leave the keyboard and mouse/touchpad untouched for a while.
Step 2. Now carefully press the “Win+L” key combination from keypad. Your PC will right away get locked.
Part 2: Lock Your Windows 10 Comptuer using ‘Ctrl+ Alt + Delete’
In this approach, we would make use of Control, Alt and Delete buttons together.
Step 1. First of all decide which page you wish to leave the computer locked on. And then leave the screen undisturbed for a while.
Step 2. Press “Ctrl+ Alt + Delete” keys together and your screen gets locked.
Part 3: Lock Your Windows Computer with ‘Lock’ Button
In the last two methods, we only mentioned the short key combination, but this is a manual method in which you will actually click on the “Lock” button. But first you need to know where to locate the Lock Button.
Step 1. Press the Windows logo key from the keypad. It will pop up the “Start” menu.
Step 2. Now choose the profile name, and click on “Lock” button from the top most options.
Part 4: Create Shortcut on Desktop to Lock Windows 10 Screen
This approach is intended to create a shortcut icon of lock screen on desktop; such that double click on that icon will automatically lock down the screen.
Step 1. First of all close all your currently opened Windows, and right click on any blank area on your desktop.
Step 2. Choose “New” and then “Shortcut” from the next drop down menu.
Step 3. A new “Create Shortcut” operating window will turn up.
Here in type C:\Windows\System32\rundll32.exe user32.dll, LockWorkStation in the search field under the tab “Type the location of the item”. Finally click “Next” to get to a new window page.
Step 4. In the “Type a name for this shortcut” field, input “Lock PC” and click on “Finish” button at the bottom right corner of the Windows screen.
Step 5. Exit the shortcut window and come back to the home screen again. You will get to see a clear white icon of the shortcut tagged with a name “Lock PC”.
Step 6. Double click on this icon and your screen is locked for now. You can also drag down the shortcut icon to the taskbar in the bottom, and then you have to click only once to get the locking done.
Now if your Windows 10 screen is locked, and you wish to take it out from its stealth mode, just click anywhere on the lock screen and then click only “Sign-in” if you donвЂ™t have any password to gain control back to actively moving screen components. But if you had set security password for this particular account, then after getting it locked you have to sign in with adequate password for authentication. In case you forget your system password after leaving it locked for a while, then you will be locked out forever with no way to sign back. Thus make sure to remember login password if you have any.
Vicky is a professional Windows technology author with many experience, focusing on computer technology. She’s very much enjoy helping people find solutions to their problems. Her knowledge and passion always drive her to discover everything about technology.
Last Updated on April 22, 2020 by admin 28 Comments
Microsoft introduced Desktop Slideshow feature with Windows 7 OS, and the feature is present in the latest Windows 10 as well. As all of you know, Desktop Slideshow feature lets you have a slide show of your favorite wallpapers. The feature supports the changing of the desktop wallpaper at intervals ranging from 10 seconds to 1 day.
Hundreds of theme packs (set of wallpapers) are also available as a free download from the Windows personalization gallery and Windows 10 Store. The only problem with the feature is that you need to manually right-click on the desktop and then click Next desktop background option to switch to the next background in the slideshow.
Sure, you can set the interval in Personalization window (not present in Windows 10) but wouldn’t it be nice if there was a shortcut to quickly switch to the next background in the pipeline, without having to open the desktop context menu.
Of course, when you on desktop, you can press Shift + F10 keys followed by N key to switch to the next desktop background, but we have a better solution that automates clicking above keys and lets you switch to the next background with a click.
Windows 10 users who love to have themes will be glad to know that it’s actually possible to create a shortcut to switch to the next desktop background. Just follow the given below steps to create a shortcut to perform “next desktop background” action.
Create a hotkey to switch to the next desktop background in Windows 10/8/7
Step 1: Open the Notepad application and then paste the below code in the Notepad.
set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)
Step 2: Save the file with any name but with .vbs extension. That’s it! You can now do a double-click on the newly created .vbs file to switch to the next desktop background. Users who would like to have a keyboard shortcut need to follow the next two steps as well.
Step 3: Right-click on the newly created .vbs file and click Create shortcut option to have a shortcut of the the file on the desktop.
Step 4: Do a right-click on the shortcut, select Properties. Switch to the Shortcut tab, and then enter a hotkey in the Short Key box. Click the Apply button.
That’s it! From now onwards, you can use this new shortcut key to switch to the next desktop background. Good luck!
Thanks to Ethan Tsai @TechNet forums for the tip.
Sticky Notes is one of the coolest apps ever created. Apart from being quick and user-friendly, the app is celebrated for the popular auto-save feature. Meaning, you will not lose notes if your PC shuts down abruptly or accidentally closes the app. Such a skillful app should be available instantly to use. For that, you need to put the Sticky Notes on the desktop on your Windows 10 computer.
You can either put the Sticky Notes app shortcut on your desktop or add it to the taskbar, as shown in the post. The latter makes it easy to access the app quickly. We have also given a brief tutorial on how to use Sticky Notes for beginners.
Let’s see how to put Sticky Notes on the desktop using 4 different ways.
Method 1: Create a Desktop Shortcut
When you buy a new Windows 10 computer or upgrade your PC from Windows 8 to Windows 10, you will notice fewer icons on the desktop. You can add the apps that you like, such as Sticky Notes, on the desktop by creating its desktop shortcut.
Here are the steps to create a desktop shortcut for the Sticky Notes app.
Step 1: Minimize all open windows on your computer so that only the desktop is visible. If several windows are open, click on the Show desktop tab present at the bottom-right corner to minimize all windows at once.
Step 2: With the desktop showing, open Start Menu. You can use the Ctrl + Esc keyboard shortcut to open the Start Menu as well.
Step 3: Scroll down to the S section. You will find Sticky Notes. Drag the Sticky Notes icon to your desktop.
Step 4: Double-click on the Sicky Notes icon on the desktop to open it.
Method 2: Create a Desktop Shortcut Using Code
If you are unable to create a shortcut using the above method, here’s another way.
Step 1: Right-click on your desktop and select New > Shortcut.
Step 2: The Create Shortcut screen will open. Copy-paste the following code in the box under ‘Type the location of the item’ and click on Next.
Step 3: On the next screen, you will be asked to type a name for your shortcut. Enter Sticky Notes (or anything else if you want to be creative.) Click on Finish.
Step 4: The shortcut will appear on the desktop. Double-click to open it.
If you don’t like the shortcut icon, right-click on the shortcut and select Properties. Under the Shortcut tab, go to Change icon and select a different icon of your choice.
Method 3: Add Sticky Notes to Taskbar
The efficient way to use Sticky Notes is to place it on the taskbar. For that, open Start Menu and look for Sticky Notes. Right-click on it and go to More. Select Pin to taskbar.
Pro Tip: You can even search for Sticky Notes using the Windows search icon in the taskbar. Then, right-click on the Sticky Notes icon and select Pin to taskbar.
Once added to the taskbar, click on the icon to open the notes. You can even right-click on the Sticky Note icon and perform various actions such as creating a new note, view notes list, and more.
Method 4: Add Individual Sticky Notes to Desktop
The Sticky Notes app lists all the notes. You can pin individual notes from Sticky Notes to any part of your desktop screen.
For that, open the note by double-clicking on it inside the Notes list. When it opens, click once inside the note to activate it. You will notice that the top of the note shows a different color. When that happens, drag the note using the top edge to your required destination on the desktop. Next time when you open Sticky Notes, the note will be available at the set location.
Note: You cannot put Sticky Notes over other apps continuously.
Bonus: How to Make Sticky Notes Open Automatically on Startup
Unlike other apps, you don’t have to do much for Sticky Notes to open automatically at startup. The only requirement is not to close the Sticky Notes app when you shut down the computer. This trick also works for Skype where you don’t need to close the app if you want to open it automatically next time.
How to Use Sticky Notes: A Quick Tutorial
Click on the add (+) icon in the Sticky Notes list to create a new note. Open multiple notes and switch between them easily. You can relocate the note as shown above and change its size by dragging it from the corners.
You can even change the note color and use various keyboard shortcuts to control Sticky Notes. Format your notes using the formatting toolbar at the bottom of the note. In case you accidentally delete a Sticky Note, find out how to recover deleted notes.
Access Sticky Notes on Other Platforms
Using the cloud sync feature, you can access Sticky Notes on other Windows 10 computers. They are also accessible on other devices such as Android, iPhone, iPad, and even Mac. However, you won’t be able to put them on your screen on other platforms. But if you are looking for something similar, do take a look at Google Keep and see how it compares against Sticky Notes.
Next up: Don’t like Sticky Notes? Check out its 5 alternatives that you can use on your Windows 10 computer from the next article.
Last updated on 13 July, 2021
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DID YOU KNOW
Microsoft Edge was initially code-named Project Spartan.
Another version of Windows, another silly three-click process just to shut down your PC. Here are some faster alternatives.
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET’s popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook “I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie”).
It must be a point of pride in Redmond that even after all these years, you still have to click “Start” to shut down your computer.
Granted, the Start button is no longer labeled that way, having evolved into a Windows-logo button back in Vista. But that’s still what it’s called, and still how Microsoft refers to it. So even in Windows 10, you have to click “Start” to shut down your PC. Then you click Power, and finally Shut Down.
I’ll never understand why Microsoft has steadfastly refused to add a one-click Shut Down button to the desktop. Fortunately, there are faster ways to turn off your computer.
Option 1: Reprogram the power button
When you’re ready to shut down your PC, why not just press the power button? Why not, indeed! Except that on most computers, that button comes preprogrammed to do something else: put the machine into sleep mode.
To remedy that, click in Windows 10’s Search field, type power, and then click Power Options in the search results that appear.
Next, in the list of options on the left, click “Choose what the power buttons do.” As you’ll see, there are two pull-down menus next to “When I press the power button” — one each for On Battery and Plugged In (unless you have a desktop, in which case you’ll probably see just the latter).
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET
Click that menu, then choose Shut Down. Click the “Save changes” button and you’re done! Now, whenever you press the power button, your PC should immediately shut down.
Option 2: Add your own shutdown shortcut
If your PC’s power button is inconveniently located, or you’re just feeling indignant about Windows’ three-click shutdown process, you can add a shutdown shortcut to your desktop.
Just right-click any open space on the desktop, then click New > Shortcut. In the Location field that appears, paste in the following:
%windir%\System32\shutdown.exe /s /t 0
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET
Then click Next and finish the shortcut setup. Presto! Now you’ve got a Shutdown icon; one double-click and it’s buh-bye, Windows. You can also drag it to the Taskbar for single-click shutdown goodness.
Option 3: Remember to right-click
If you right-click the Start button, you’ll see a lengthy pop-up shortcut menu — with “Shut down or sign out” right near the bottom. Mouse over that option and then click “Shut down.” This is still a slow, two-click method (with a mouse-over mixed in), but at least it’s not three clicks.
The results of right-clicking the Start button. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET
Option 4: The ol’ keyboard combo
Alt-F4 instantly makes this box appear.
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET
An oldie but goodie, pressing Alt-F4 brings up a Windows shut-down menu, with the shut-down option already selected by default. (You can click the pull-down menu for other options, like Switch User and Hibernate.) Then just press Enter and you’re done.
Take note, however, that this works only when you’re viewing the desktop. Alt-F4 is actually a global “close” command, so if you’re not at the desktop, it will close whatever program is currently active. Still, for folks who prefer a keyboard command to reaching for the mouse, this is a quick two-step.
Have you found a faster/better/smarter way to shut down Windows 10? Let’s hear it in the comments!