How to segregate windows on different desktops?

Hi All,

Linux noob here. Actually quite a bit of IT novice too (with some knowledge only).

First, I want to thank the Lubuntu team for creating such a lightweight (most importantly) and yet beautiful looking OS. Great job guys! Onto a quirk I encountered…

I have been trying Lubuntu 19.04 64-bit through a live USB. About the workspaces/ desktops - whatever windows or applications I open on one desktop (say, desktop 1 by default), the same windows can be seen in the other 3 desktops. Isn’t the point of different desktops to segregate categories of work and switch for ease of use? This is peculiar. If I load a few windows on one desktop, the rest of the desktops should be empty unless I open the very same windows on them myself. Instead whatever is opened in one desktop opens in the rest of them. When I say “open” I mean the windows in the other desktops are minimized and can be seen in the taskbar, not maximized. Another way this manifests in a strange way is whatever changes I do in desktops other than #1 (opening another file or folder/ closing a file or folder,etc) it gets mirrored in all desktops AND desktop 1 is switched to automatically, no matter if I perform the actions in desltop 2, 3, 4 and so on.

If I need to change something in settings or somewhere, please let me know. If it’s a bug, let me know too. The other distro I am mulling about to migrate to is Debian 9 LXDE, which is also lightweight but, one, is not that much of an eye candy, two, seemed a tad less snappy than Lubuntu (perhaps only to me eyes; really the margin is negligent and unimportant). Usage of RAM though when idle is less on Debian, so that’s making me lean towards it as my laptop doesn’t have high specs. Please help me with the quirk. I’m going to try 18.04.2 LTS to see if the same quirk exists in it. I have read about Lubuntu having its bugs and instability issues, so I might migrate to the stable Debian LXDE but not without missing Lubuntu.

EDIT: Just checked the same thing on Lubuntu 18.04.2 LTS and the quirk remains the same. Whatever windows I launch in desktop 1 gets launched in the other desktops too (they should be empty). Also, I like 19.04 better in terms of looks and speed. IT just seems snappier (negligent margin though) than the 18.04 LTS version. Not that 18.04 is slow by any measure.


I must be missing something obvious because I cannot re-create this problem. If I load an installed or live version of either version, open up the file manager and switch to the other desktops, I do not see the file manager.

Also: you don’t want LXDE, either in Lubuntu (18.04) or Debian. Development of that desktop environment has slowed to a screeching halt. I know of at least one notorious crash in the file manager that has been reported upstream and they haven’t even acknowledged it, let alone replied to it, let alone tried to fix it. It’s got a slightly smaller footprint because it’s still using GTK2, which is also the cause of that aforementioned crash. LXQt (Lubuntu 18.10+) was created by PCMan (yes, the developer of pcmanfm) and others when he discovered that porting to GTK3 would be more difficult and more resource intensive than using Qt. And then there’s all sorts of problems I could talk about as it relates to GTK, but that’s another story.

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you mean you can see in the taskbar of desktop 2 the apps of desktop 1? That’s a configuration you can change in the panel taskbar, something like “show only windows of panel desktop” in lxqt.
If you click the minimized window in desktop 2 it should send you to desktop 1 anyway

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Oh well… that was so embarrassingly easy, it looks like my face is painted red. :sweat_smile:

I right clicked the task bar at the bottom>Configure “Task Manager”>Checked the box- [Show only windows from Desktop “Drop down set to Current”] and voila. This keeps the opened windows in their respective desktops.

Thank you very much hmollercl!!

Thanks for the reply wxl. The post of hmollercl solved the “issue”. Dunno why you didn’t encounter the same problem but perhaps it’s so cos I’m using Lubuntu live and by default the “Show only Windows from desktop” option in Task Manager Settings is unchecked.

About what you wrote - you mean you recommend that I don’t use LXDE desktop with OSes cos its development is not progressing? As a new adopter of Linux I arrived at Lubuntu or Debian (specifically LXDE) for my laptop cos it’s an old one. It has got a Pentium P6200 , 2 GB DDR3 ram, 2.1 GHz processor. Unless this machine totally dies and becomes useless, I don’t plan on spending on a new laptop. I had settled on above mentioned OSes as they are, from what I read, lightweight options for machines with low specs. And LXDE is supposed to be the lightest on RAM and resources usage. I tried XFCE based options like Xubuntu, Mint XFCE, Debian XFCE but I liked LXDE due to it being lighter primarily. Debian was a choice also cos it’s said to be stable and because of this, things just work on it. That’s important to me cos I want my everyday use of Linux to be smooth and without crashes/ other hiccups.

Now that you mention that LXDE isn’t progressing, in retrospect perhaps I’d be better off with Lubuntu using LXQT. All I’m looking for is a light weight and stable OS for my under-powered laptop, that gives a smooth experience for at least a sufficiently long time.


PS: I have checked hmollercl’s post as solution. I take it I don’t need to do anything else to mark my post as solved?

Because the explanation didn’t really explain that the issue wasn’t about windows showing up on the desktop but about items showing up on the taskbar.

Yes, and with that, it’s generally unsupported.

LXQt is the modern continuation of LXDE by the original developer (PCMan) plus many others. It’s well developed and well supported and constantly adding valuable features while trying to keep things simple and light. Lubuntu provides this in versions 18.10 and above. There will be no more LXDE-equipped version of Lubuntu once 18.04 support ends.

Then I urge you to use LXQt as it is less likely to have such problems and more likely to provide solutions should such problems exist. There’s at least one major problem with LXDE in that the file manager is prone to crashes that the one in LXQt is not.

Nope, but I’ll close this out.