I've not been able to find much on this so I thought I'd ask here:

I am looking for a way to have multiple virtual desktops created on logon and a few applications automatically started in each. For instance I typically have a chrome browser in each desktop. I then typically have a dev virtual desktop (sublime, pycharm, firefox, and a few other thigns), I then have a news/social desktop (irc, slack, skype, gchat, evernote with my 'to read' list, and so on) and then finally a 'workstuff' desktop with onenote and a few other apps.

I know, worst case scenario I can create a macro to do this but I was wondering if there were any additional controls in Windows which let you manage multiple desktops as I think it'd be incredible if I could have my work, dev, social, etc. desktops automatically populate with the correct apps after reboots instead of having to redo it every time :)

Thanks for any advice!


Use the program VDesk.

VDesk for Windows 10: launch programs on virtual desktops

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.

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

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.


As of right now, there is only a few limited keyboard and mouse controls for Windows 10's virtual desktops. I looked, hoping to find PowerShell commands... but unfortunately, not.

Since you specifically stated "on startup," You can write a script to do this using the keyboard commands. In the scripting language of your choice, start the apps you want on the first desktop. Then send Ctrl+Win Key+Right Arrow to move to the next desktop. Then start your next applications. Repeat as necessary. Obviously, you will have to test this. You may have to insert some pauses, or whatever, but it should work.

  • @Abraxas No problem. I noticed I left out the ctrl key, added that to the answer – Keltari Feb 1 '16 at 17:42
  • @Abraxas, you could investigate the AutoIt Cmdlets for Windows PowerShell for sending the keys as Keltari describes. – dangph Feb 2 '16 at 0:35
  • @Keltari you got it bro, hopefully a future update will fix this... – Abraxas Feb 2 '16 at 23:55

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