My Windows 10 tiling workspace setup

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One annoyance I’ve had with Windows after using Manjaro and i3 for a few months last year is that there wasn’t really a good tiling window manager for Windows.

FancyZones

Microsoft’s PowerToys project makes a suitable replacement that doesn’t break things, called FancyZones. See below for my layout:

I’ve got a big zone on the left where I keep my browser, email, and whatever else I’m working on that needs a lot of space, and then I have two smaller zones on the right for my terminal, editor, file manager, and chat apps.

Here’s a screenshot of my settings, this is what I found most ideal:

I turned off “Hold shift key” so that whenever I move a window, the zones are enabled and I can just drag the windows between zones. This is a must for zone-focused setup, which is what we want for a tiled WM replacement. We also want to move newly created windows to their last known zone.

You can set up your own custom zones or choose a template. If I had an ultrawide, I would totally use the Priority Grid setup.

The only small issue with this setup is that windows that you haven’t zoned before do not automatically go into a zone, you’ll have to drag them to whichever zone you want them to be in. This is not a huge annoyance since once it has the zone down, it opens in that zone automatically, if your settings match mine above. And there’s some windows you don’t want going into zones automatically anyway.

Groupy

Groupy by Stardock is well worth the $9.99 (currently on sale for $4.99). Check this out, you can have Telegram, Slack, and Discord all in one window, or multiple folders, browsers, etc. And then you can keep that window in a FancyZone and quickly toggle between them:

Why wouldn’t you just use the taskbar?

-Reader

Great question – this just organizes everything a little more logically and it works great with the tiled setup FancyZones provides. Groupy has a free trial and I recommend trying it out and see if it works with your workflow – I definitely was skeptical at first and now I am a big fan.

Conclusion

I really dig this new setup and it saves me time moving and resizing windows around to where I prefer to have them. I used to use WindowGrid to make it easier to resize windows on a grid (check it out, it’s still pretty cool), however it’s not as convenient as having your windows automatically resize and fit themselves to their designated zones every time you open them.

5 thoughts on “My Windows 10 tiling workspace setup”

    • here’s the ideal setup, let me tell you. you ready? here we go.

      false start. here we go now:

      Ubuntu, no DE (good so far right?)
      running Windows 10 in VM (ok negative points but bear with me)
      running Ubuntu in WSL (getting better)
      running Windows 10 in VM (wait)
      running Ubuntu in WSL (hold on)
      running Windows 10 in VM (it’s a powerpoint slideshow)
      running Ubuntu in (yep) WSL
      running my entire network including DHCP provision and virtual switching

      best setup 2020

      Reply
  1. I fail to see the benefits of manually assigning the individual windows to where they need to be on their respective monitor. In my work as an OSHA Sr. Supervisor, Southern Mid-West Region, Benefits, Comp, & Violations – I cannot fathom how dragging and leaving windows where you want them across your two to three monitors does not work the same. Everytime I open or close the program from my taskbar it shows up exactly where it needs to be enabling me to be productive denying injury claims and playing Dota 2 at the same time. I couldn’t fathom a different, so rigid, workflow.

    Yours in supervision & violation,

    Reply
    • your two to three monitors

      Ah, here’s the issue, I have 1 monitor. It’s 1440p and it gets the job done. Even if you do have multiple monitors though, this setup still works.

      Reply
      • In my time as Shift Supervisor, Arbys, San Marcos, Fry Station and Jr. Window Operator, I believe that a pragmatic approach to window management is the only way. To begin, you only need 2 MAXIMUM windows open at any one time. The brain can’t multi-task at all so having all of that up is pointless. You could never use it.

        Using only 1 window is nearly the most effective operation for pure, raw, unadulterated efficiency. By just using 1 window you are allowing your brain to enter what is called “flow state”. This is when information flows from your brain to your fingerprints and mouth and then you can work more effectively such as myself during lunch rush at Arbys when we’re understaffed and I know it’s fry or die baby.

        But ultimately, that still leaves 1 window. So, clearly then, based on our calculus 0 windows must be even better for productivity – correct? Imagine that, no windows open and just sheer performance. But the issue with this, at its root, is there is still a window left when you have none open. One Window that has been there all along hampering performance and output. Windows is the core of the issue and must be uninstalled.

        What does that leave you with, then, DOS? No. That’s the basis of Windows. Mac OSX is the sheer champion of productivity. That’s why they have the “Pro” line, that’s why they’re used by productive professionals perpetually throughout the world. The lack of windows, snapping, and all that nonsense allows you to focus on optimizing performance with many windows – but letting you be productive with none.

        Productively Persuading,
        Sally

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