My Computer Journal

writings on computer hardware & software

You know that area where all your icons are? That’s your desktop. You typically have one but with Windows 10 you can have more than one “virtual desktop” and switch between them with each desktop having different programs open. But virtual desktops are not new. I’ve used virtual desktops at least since Windows XP came out. In the early days had a virtual desktop (no longer supported). The one I started using and still use is from Goscreen. It has features I really like such as the ability to name each virtual desktop.

In the figure you see that the first virtual desktop has one program active (Spotify), The second virtual desktop has three open including Vivaldi (a browser), and Skype. I can drag an icon from one desktop to another and if I click on an icon I am transported to that desktop with the active window being the program I clicked on.

I work with seven virtual desktops. These are: 1 Office, 2 Browse, 3 Internet, 4 Prog 1, 5 Prog 2, 6 Remote, and 7 Other. Typically my browser is open on desktop two. On desktop 5 I open  VMWare Workstation where I work in two different environments for specific programming needs. I use desktop 6 for remoting into people’s computers to help them solve problems and I rarely use desktop 7.

You can do something similar simply using Windows 10 virtual desktop feature.


Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Vivaldi, Brave, Safari, Silk… There are a bunch of browsers. Does it matter which one you use? Maybe.

The Browsers

Mosaic… what’s that?… was the first browser. That’s nice but its where we are today that I’m interested in and, I suspect, its also what you’re interested in. So we’ll look at some of the browsers and help you know that you’ve made the right choice.

  • Internet Explorer (IE) – Dead… Perhaps that’s a bit harsh as many people are still using it. But, in fact, since Microsoft has release Edge as their new browser there won’t be any new releases of IE.
  • Microsoft Edge – I nice browser from Microsoft and for some that’s enough reason not to use it. But just as true, its enough of a reason for many to use it.
  • Chrome – Google’s entry into the browser field sparked a lot of interest. Again some use it because its from Google and others avoid for the same reason.
  • Firefox – The next of the key browsers, Firefox, based on the mozilla code, is popular and used by some because its not from Microsoft or Google. But beyond that, its a solid, well done browser.

These are the top browsers but not the only ones and not the one I use. The most usual reason for using a different browser beyond those above is that you want a feature that those don’t offer.

  • Vivaldi – Based off the Chrome engine, Vivaldi has a feature that makes it my favorite browser. It allows you to “Pin” pages to the tab bar.
Pinned Pages in Vivaldi

Pinning on the tab bar




Happy 11th Birthday is my first tab but before it I have 6 pages pinned. The first is google email, followed by Facebook, and then others. What I particularly like about the pinned pages is that many of them fit in a small area on the tab bar. When you click on one the page is immediately available and is updated.

  • Brave – This browser is designed to be very secure having options to block phishing / Malware, block scripts, require HTTPS only, block ads, etc. Its a fairly new browser and is only in Alpha release. An interesting aspect is the ability block features on a per site basis.
  • Safari and Silk are not available or updated for current Windows so I’m not discussing them here.

Desired Features

  • Speed – One sought after feature is speed. But there are three aspects to speed. First, how fast does the browser open after clicking on your desktop icon. Second, how fast does the initial site page load, and third, how fast does it handle the navigation between pages on the site. For example I find Vivaldi slow to initially open but quite fast navigating the web once open. So if I need to do a quick lookup on one site and I don’t have a browser open I will usually choose to open FireFox because it opens quickly. However, since I ususally have Vivaldi open I use it for most of my work.
  • Ubiquity Across Platforms – One reason for using Chrome is because there are versions for it whether you’re running Windows or Linux, or even a Chrome netbook. On the other hand Edge will only be found running under Windows.
  • Plugins – Edge, FireFox, Chrome, and in some cases, by extension Vivaldi, there are add-in apps that add additional features and if there is a feature you particularly like you may find yourself gravitating to a specific browser.

Do you have a favorite browser?

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