I've never really used multiple desktops before on different operating systems, so maybe this is just how they work.

But if I kick off a process on one desktop, and then switch to another desktop while that process is still launching, any new windows that process creates will be on the desktop I am currently looking at, and not the desktop that launched the process.

For instance, start Visual Studio on Desktop A, while it is launching, move to Desktop B. Once Visual Studio has launched, it will come up on Desktop B not Desktop A.

Same thing: run a Visual Studio project that launches a window of some sort (a browser window, a WPF Form, whatever). Before the window comes up, switch desktops. The window will now appear on your current desktop and not the old desktop.

Is this behavior normal? Or is this something that might eventually get fixed? Cause it is a little frustrating. Doesn't really let you "bounce" between desktops quickly.

EDIT Here is an example where the lack of virtual-desktop affinity for launching new processes is actively bad.

I have two Virtual Desktops going, for working on two different projects. Both of them are web development projects, so on each desktop I have instances of Chrome running. Chrome launches a new process for each tab. If you click on a link from somewhere else, Chrome will create a new tab on the most recently used Chrome Window.

On Desktop A, I also have my email running. If I click on a link in an email and the most recently used Chrome instance was on Desktop B, the most likely outcome is that a new tab will open on Desktop B and my current view will switch to Desktop B.

But less frequently, what will happen is that I will get extremely fast "flutter" or "flicker" between the two desktops as the desktop manager seemingly can't figure out which one I want to look at. The only way to stop this flicker is to click somewhere on the screen and change the focus of the active window.

If new processes were by default owned by the desktop that launched them, this issue would not happen.

Really, it doesn't make sense that virtual desktops don't work like this.

  • The "fix" would be to have desktop affinity for child windows of a process, so that you could quickly bounce between desktops. Perhaps the virtual desktops on Linux and Mac work exactly this way already. I don't know. Seems like an easy and obvious productivity improvement, to me. – Clever Human Aug 3 '15 at 14:34
  • That's not very helpful. What is the justification for having the feature work this way? Perhaps I am missing an obvious use case. – Clever Human Aug 3 '15 at 14:47
  • How does the lack of desktop affinity for new windows possibly help you control your workflow? I only see it as a detriment. What would break about your workflow if you had desktop affinity for new windows? – Clever Human Aug 3 '15 at 15:05

This is normal behavior.
Perhaps your question might be "How to make a process run only one 1 virtual desktop as of windows 10"


Yes, annoying isn't it. I suspect it may get fixed eventually if enough of the windows developers actually use multiple desktops ;-) but probably not...

Regarding web browsers I have checked Chrome, Firefox, Edge, IE and Opera and discovered that Edge and Opera behave how you want so it is possible for developers of programs that are aware of this issue to program for it.

The workaround is that links will open in the last active window and so you can either do this manually or use/write a program to do this.

I have included this workaround if your default browser is Chrome and Firefox (IE is useless and doesn't even use the last active window) and also worked around similar issues with Word and Excel in my free program Virtual Desktop Grid Switcher - see the sections on "Defualt Browser Activation" and "Opening Word/Excel Documents" in the User Guide for more info.

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