Microsoft is finally improving virtual desktops in Windows 11, here’s how to test them.


Colorful Windows 11 logo and dark background image

Virtual Desktops is a powerful productivity tool (and one of my favorite features in Windows 10) introduced by Microsoft in Windows 10. Sadly, Microsoft never paid enough attention to this feature, leaving it unchanged for nearly nine years. To add insult to injury, Windows 11 removed the transition animation when switching between desktops (due to bugs), making the experience worse. Fortunately, it looks like Microsoft is finally improving virtual desktops into its operating system.

As seen by @Phantom of the Earth On Twitter, Windows 11 builds 23440 and 25346 have several enhancements to the virtual desktop experience. Discovered feature IDs enable the previously abandoned transition animation and even add a neat indicator that shows the name of your current desktop after switching.

A GIF showing the new virtual desktops gesture and transition animation.

The restored animations are a bit annoying and crude, but you shouldn’t give Microsoft a hard time for it. After all, those improvements are hidden within the operating system and not ready for public use. If you want to try out the changes before Microsoft starts rolling them out officially, here’s how to do so using the ViveTool app.

A new virtual desktop indicator is created in Windows 11 preview.
New virtual desktop indicator showing the name of your current desktop.

Those who don’t want to risk installing foreground builds and tinkering with less-baked features can download one of the two virtual desktop enhancement apps we’ve reviewed recently. I mentioned it in my “Top 10 Apps to Fix Windows 11 Troubleshooters” article.

caution: Undeclared properties are often crude, unstable, or borderline unusable. Back up important data before activation. Remember that using stable Windows 11 builds is the best way to ensure that your system remains as bug-free as possible.

How to enable the updated virtual desktops experience in Windows 11 build 23440 or 25346?

Note: The following IDs do not work in the latest canary update, build 25352.

  1. Download ViveTool. From GitHub And unzip the files into a convenient and easily searchable folder.
  2. press Win + X and select terminal (admin).
  3. Switch to a Windows terminal with a command prompt profile. Ctrl+Shift+2 Shortcut or by clicking the arrow button at the top of the window.A Windows Terminal app showing how to switch to a command prompt profile from PowerShell.
  4. Go to the folder containing the ViveTool files with CD command. For example, if you placed ViveTool in C:\Vive, type CD C:\Vive.
  5. Kind of vivetool /enable /id:42354458,34508225,40459297 And press enter.
  6. Restart your computer.

The feature IDs responsible for the virtual desktop indicator seem to be related to the Cloud PC feature as indicated by their names: CloudPCSwitch and CloudPCFastSwitchDiscovery. However, you don’t need access to Windows 365 to take advantage of simpler gestures and a better virtual desktop experience.

Finally, did you know that Windows 11 also has a similar privacy indicator that can show when your camera is turned on or off? Check out our guide on how to enable it.


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