For example, I open Chrome, Terminal in work-space 1 and I switch to workspace 2, the dock still shows that chrome and terminal are opened. This is a complete different behavior from Windows, where if you switch to a parallel desktop, it completely starts afresh, without any apps opened.

I believe that the workspace in Ubuntu also works in a similar manner to parallel desktops in Windows (Correct me if I wrong).

Am I incorrectly assuming that work-space in Elementary and parallel desktop in Windows are the same features?


2 Answers 2


I'm not sure what solution you are actually looking for. If you wanted to restrict the icons to show only from current workspace, you can achieve that with plank very easily.

First bring the plank preference with the follow command. (If you have the preference icon in plank docked, that's fine)

plank --preferences

Head over to the Behaviour tab and toggle the option Restrict to Workspace on it. Now, Plank will only show those icons that are opened on current workspace. Note that, pinned icons will be always shown.

plank preference

Response to OP's new comment:

From OP's comment, it appears that OP was referring to the behaviour of not opening a new instance of the application on a workspace where no instance is running on it. Currently, if there is an instance running on some other workspace, it switches to that workspace.

This is by design and it's same in Ubuntu (also if I've not mistaken same in Windows 7). If you want to create a new instance, right click and select appropriate option.

  • Have you even tested this? The option is there, yes, but it doesn't work as expected. Try this and tell me if it is working as it should. In your current workspace, open Files and Music. Now open another workspace, try opening Music from here, it will take you to the workspace where it was opened. If you do this in Ubuntu or Windows, another instance of Music should have been opened. That is the idea behind having different workspaces. Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 7:08
  • @VasuMistry No, it doesn't work on Ubuntu. But if you want to open another instance of a running application, you must right click and choose proper option 'New Window' or something like that.
    – Anwar
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 7:13
  • Also you need to add more clarity to the question. Currently it's not asking what you've written on the comment.
    – Anwar
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 7:16
  • I apologize, it actually doesn't work on Ubuntu or Windows in the manner that I mentioned. But still, I am having a hard time understanding your solution. Can you clarify this example using your solution? Open Google Chrome (A pinned app, if it matters) and the dock is set to "Restrict to Workspace". Now open a new workspace, you'd still find that the dock indicates that a Chrome window is opened. How do you propose solving this issue? Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 13:05
  • @VasuMistry I updated the answer after you clarified the question. In a newly opened workspace, the application will always be shown and clicking on it will bring to that old workspace.
    – Anwar
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 14:59

Actually this is a design issue. Plank (that is the dock app in elementary OS) displays all windows opened on any of your workspaces.

elementary OS does not always works in the same way as Windows does, for instance in this case. However, feel free to look for another dock app if it is a no-go for you.

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