Dexpot will allow you to set up and customize virtual desktops within Windows such that each can behave as a seperate workspace with its own icons and runnning apps.

It offers powerful tools to customize and manage these virtual desktops in a nice intuitive graphical user interface.

Let’s say that you use your computer for work, and that you also use it, say, to edit personal videos, as well as to do a little bit of freelance web design on the side.

With Dexpot you can keep all of your work icons, applications, files, and links on one desktop, all of your video editing icons/apps on another desktop, and all of the web design stuff on yet another virtual desktop.

You can also be running your web design app(s) so they’re only visible in the design desktop, your work applications in the work desktop, and so on.

Here’s what you need to know about this program:

  • It creates up to 20 virtual desktops; you can navigate these through the system tray icon or using a number of cool looking gizmos that you can choose from.
  • Dextop offers high customizability: each desktop can have its own name, icons/files/shortcuts, wallpaper, screen resolutions, running apps, transparency of windows, etc. You can also set rules for each desktop, e.g. to open a certain app when you enter a certain desktop for the first time or every single time, etc.
  • These desktops are overlaid ‘virtually’ on top of your ‘real’ desktop. So, for example, although you only see the icons that belong to desktop#2 when you’re inside it, all of these are actually in your standard windows desktop folder.

I have installed and tested 2 other virtual desktop programs, Virtual Desktop Toolbox and VirtuaWin. Both were very good, (the former in particular was very powerful); still, Dextop is my clear favorite. The strength of this program lies in (a) the great sleek overall design, and (b) a very nice user interface which makes it really easy to customize and navigate.

However, I do have a wishlist:

  • Icon management across different desktops could be more streamlined. As it is managing icons is a bit of a hassle, at least initially (you have to select the ‘Desktop Windows’ item on the menu then click the ‘icons’ tab to shuffle icons across desktops). Moreover, even after allocating the icons to the correct desktop(s), a few seemed to revert back inexplicably, but would work when I re-distributed them. It would be far more intuitive if the author had a right-click menu item that simply moved or copied the icon(s) to the desired desktop. See the comments section for a little trick that I use to distribute files/icons. Also ‘snap to grid’ for desktop icons doesn’t auto-refresh very well.
  • The program should actively ask you if you want to save your profile upon exiting, and if you want this as default. This would have saved me from re-doing a lot of work when I exited the program only to find that my profile wasn’t saved when I re-opened it.

Once introduced to this app I was surprised and impressed; all I could think of was: why did Windows not ship with this functionality built in to begin with?. It is safe to say that this program is one of my ‘must-have’ titles and has made working on my computer a much better experience. I cannot recommend it more highly.

Version tested: 1.4.0 build 427

Compatibility: Windows 95/98/ME and NT4/2000/XP/2003/Vista.

Go to the download page to download the latest version. The program home page.

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Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started
  • Samer

    Here’s an easy way to transfer icons across multiple desktops. Create a folder on one of the desktops make it available in all of them (you can do this easily with Dexpot). Next, whenever you need to transfer a file/shortcut, simply move it into this folder, go to desired desktop and into the folder, then simply move the files out and into that desktop.

  • Peter

    This is a fabulous program. I’ve installed it on every computer I own. I don’t know what I’d do without it now.

  • tullius
  • Jesse Smith

    For me, when I switch between desktops, the programs in the taskbar don’t refresh well. Grabbing and jiggling one of the taskbar divider bars makes it refresh. Anybody experience this problem or have a solution?

  • terryjonesxp

    I use a virtual desktop manager with all my oses. For windows I use Dexpot. It works with Windows 200O, XP, and Vista. Dextop is free.
    With Dexpot I can do the following

    1. Create up to 20 virtual desktops. Most virtual desktop managers in windows only allow you to create 4 virtual desktops.

    2. Use it on a flash drive. The program does not need admin rights to run.

    3. Get a full screen preview of all the virtual desktops in use

    4 Use all the features of Mac expose in Windows.

    5. Move windows from one desktop to the other using the keyboard mouse and desktop preview. Most virtual desktop managers for windows failed to move the command prompt. In Dexpot you can only the command prompt by keyboard shortcut.

    6. Name each desktop.

    7. Give each desktop a different set of desktop icons and background images.

    8. Set applications to open on a specific desktop.

    9. Change keyboard shortcuts for the indiviual functions of the application.

    10 The user is able to escape the application if you need to. Example keyboard shortcut conflick beween Dexpot and another program. The program will move all application windows to the current desktop. This helps to prevent lost application windows when the program closes.

  • Herb

    What is the difference between this and just task-switching between different running tasks? Doesn’t this add more processor load? Wouldn’t just task-switching between different programs w/o the use of this program be less processor intensive?

  • Anonymous

    It’s for people who like to have A LOT of tasks open at one time. And those people care little about computer load if they get an environment easier to work in. Or custom desktops with custom icon arrangement for work/studies/relax. Plus, it’s damn good at all that. Plus, the load cost is ridiculous to none.

  • jfjb

    Dexpot is my tool of choice with Windows and its MS shell. Thanks to you, Samer, for your review of this fine German product without which I would have switched to Ubuntu on all my machines (wink, wink).

    Most of the time, though, I use Windows with Emerge shell. It is free, flexible, easy to adapt to — provided that one likes a clean workplace on the screen. No need for any other desktop enhancement, it’s built-in. Same thing for virtual desktops which can have ‘sticky’ apps showing on all desktops if needed — like NetMeter or a RSS reader, or your stock options…

    Dexpot, on the other hand is a cute and fast virtual desktop with lots of (desktop) customizations — perhaps too many for the casual user, but still an excellent free application.

    It was a tie for me, since I love my clean Zen screen.
    Thanks, Samer, for your thought-out digging and unbiaised opinion.

    Say “Hi’ to the Says family for me.

  • Abronsius

    Very great and much better than other virtual desktop!
    Again, thank you Samer.