I’ve tried quite a few desktop managers, and VirtuaWin is my favorite one, so far. The Open Source tool comes with many interesting features.
I didn’t try all of them, though. What I like most about this tool is that it allows you to switch quite fast between virtual desktops and applications. Working with VirtuaWin is a bit like having multiple monitors connected to your PC.
For example, if you want to access your virtual screen to the left, you just have to move the mouse pointer over the left edge of your desktop. The default configuration has four such virtual desktops, one for each direction. You can also use the cursor keys. Pressing the Win+left-cursor-key will bring up your left virtual desktop, and pressing Win+right-cursor-key the right one.
This is quite intuitive and helps you remember on which desktop you placed your applications. You only have to imagine that you are using just one big screen. The System tray icon visualizes this big virtual screen, showing the area where you are.
I also like the way, one can assign an application to a virtual desktop. If you click on VirtuaWin’s icon in the System tray, you get a complete list of all opened apps in three columns separated by the virtual desktops. If you click on an app in the “Sticky Column,” it will place it on all your virtual desktops. The “Assign Column” lets you assign an app to your active virtual desktop, and the “Access Column” allows you to go to an app on another virtual desktop. So, if you forgot where you opened an app, this will then help you find and access it immediately.
VirtuaWin is the best thought-out desktop manager, I know. It takes sometime until you get used to it, but then it allows you to move quickly between your virtual desktops.