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How to use multiple, virtual desktops in Windows

If you need to organize your workspace, turn to virtual spaces, which allow you to have multiple, password-protected desktops.

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Although you might be pretty good at maximizing your screen real estate, or have even set up an extra monitor to expand your workspace, there's an alternative solution to keeping your desktop organized.

Mac OS X has a built-in feature called Mission Control which allows users to organize windows and programs into multiple desktop workspaces. For example, you might reserve one for photo editing, another for gaming, and a third for Web browsing.

So what about those of us using Windows?

Use virtual desktops in Windows

Enter Dexpot, a free program that gives you multiple, password-protected workspaces for your various computer activities. Here's how to use it:

Set up Dexpot. Download and install Dexpot. Launch it, and you'll immediately get 4 desktops. To switch between them, press ALT and the desktop number. For example, ALT-2 switches to the second desktop, ALT-3 to the third, and so on.

Add more desktops. If you find that four desktops isn't enough, add more. Right-click the Dexpot taskbar icon > Settings. Select the number of desired desktops at the top.

Organize your windows. To organize your programs and windows into different desktops, right-click the Dexpot taskbar icon and select "Desktop Windows." Then, drag-and-drop programs from one workspace to another. Alternatively, right-click the top bar of any open window, select Dexpot > Move and select the desktop where you'd like the window to go.

Password-protect your workspaces. If you'd like to reserve a workspace for private work, set a password. Open the Dexpot taskbar menu, and select "Configure Desktops." Select the desktop you'd like to protect and enter a password. Dexpot will then require you to set a master password.

Enable extras. For more visual desktop switching, you can add clickable desktop icons to your taskbar. Go to Settings > Plugins and Extras. Check "Taskbar Pager."

To get a 3D effect when switching, select "Dexcube" in Plugins and Extras.

Dexpot has an overwhelming selection of configurations and extras, but you can find a complete guide to those settings here.