Adding Multiple Desktop Support to Windows XP

If there never seems to be enough room on your Windows desktop, all is not lost. While Windows XP doesn’t include virtual desktop support natively (like Linux), it can be added by way of the Virtual Desktop Manager PowerToy available as a free add-on from Microsoft.

If you’re not familiar with the idea of virtual desktops, here’s the skinny. Right now you have one desktop, but with this tool installed, you gain access to a total of 4, which you can switch between as need be. This is especially helpful in cases where you want to have different programs open simultaneously, but don’t want to deal with minimizing and maximizing windows all the time. Instead, you could dedicate one virtual desktop to web browsing, another to your email program, and another to say, Microsoft Word.

While its no substitute for having multiple monitors, virtual desktops do increase your desktop “real estate” dramatically. Ask any Linux user – once you start using virtual desktops, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without them!

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.