I'm having an issue with the new Virtual Desktops in Windows 10. For example:

  1. From Desktop 1, double click the file "test1.xlsx". This will open the file in a new instance of Excel (specifically 2010, in my case), on Desktop 1.
  2. From Desktop 2, double click the file "test2.xlsx". This will change the desktop to Desktop 1 and open the file in the same instance of Excel as from step 1.

I've found this to also be true with Notepad++, so my guess is that this behavior occurs with any program that opens multiple files in a single instance. However, these are the two programs I generally use in this way.

I've found a number of ways to disable DDE for Excel, but this isn't what I want to do. If I open a second file from a desktop that already contains an instance of the program that should open it, I want to use that instance.

I've found manual ways of opening a second instance, moving it to the correct desktop, and then opening the file in that instance. However, the process is slightly different for each program and overall is, at best, clunky. Not to mention that now a third file will open in the most recently used instance, and not necessarily the correct one, requiring the whole process to start over again.

  • This is simply because of how Excel works. The behavior in general is intended. Future versions of Excel might provided additional support for virtual desktops. The behavior is intended for the simple fact, when the virtual desktop is changed, Excel is still running and was designed to open additional Excel documents in the same instance. – Ramhound Aug 27 '15 at 15:23
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    @Ramhound, unfortunately, this isn't just an Excel thing. This behavior occurs with all kinds of apps. Just now, I noticed it happened with Adobe Reader: there was an open pdf on Desktop2, I opened a pdf on Desktop1 => windows switched me to Desktop2 to open the new pdf. – chezy525 Aug 31 '15 at 17:44
  • @Chezy515 - I have noticed a trend that people believe the virtual desktops are something they are not in Windows. All your processes still exists across multiple virtual desktops, so the behavior of an application, will remain constant across each virtual desktop. So if the default behavior of an application is to a single instance that will still be true. – Ramhound Aug 31 '15 at 17:50
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    @Ramhound But if you are going to open the Excel files in another desktop session where Excel is already running then it defeats the purpose of having a virtual desktop. Isn't it? – Omar Tariq Oct 7 '15 at 12:59
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    @OmarTariq - If you want to launch a new instance on the virtual desktop, you should do that, but to expect Excel to behave different because virtual desktops might exist is silly. – Ramhound Oct 7 '15 at 13:09

I was excited about native windows support for Virtual desktops, but in the end, i still use Desktops for several purposes (ie. process which pops ups temporary windows that ends up in other desktop and so on). They don't work flawless as they did in windows 7, but still better then native win 10 solution, which is sad.


It doesn't stop it from opening in another desktop...so still annoying. But after it opens you can: In Task View, right-click on the window's thumbnail and select “Move To,” then pick the destination desktop from the list.

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    What exactly is "it"? – Ramhound Mar 3 at 1:10

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