Virtual desktops are a window management feature, not a performance feature

Raymond Chen

I noted some time ago that virtual desktops are a window management feature, not a security feature.

It’s also not a performance feature.

Switching away from a virtual desktop does not do anything to the programs running on that virtual desktop. They take up as much CPU, RAM, and other resources as they normally would if they were switched away from by other means.

Organizing windows into virtual desktops tells the system which windows you would like to see together, and which you would like to be hidden automatically. Programs running on non-current virtual desktops still run as they did before.

You just can’t see them.

Virtual desktops give you a way to organize your work, to remove distractions, and to switch between contexts. They are strictly organizational tools. Aside from being removed from view, the programs continue to run normally. And unless the program has been updated to understand virtual desktops and cloaking, the programs won’t even realize that they’ve been hidden from the user.