Running El Capitan, I have two external monitors and the MBP monitor, three total. When the MBP is not hooked to any monitors, I have four Spaces set up, each with their own desktop background (A, B, C & D). When the external monitors are hooked up, I get two more spaces ("Displays have separate Spaces" is checked) with two more background pictures (E & F). I arrange them in a V:

Ext1 -- Ext2
  \\    //

The top left monitor becomes my main display (Desktop #1) and has the four spaces. I don't know why it does this but it does, and that's what I want, too. So it has desktop backgrounds A-D. Top right gets picture E (Desktop #2), and the MBP gets picture F (Desktop #3).

This is exactly what I want, as A & E complement one another. Except sometimes (maybe 3% of the time) the MBP becomes Desktop #2 and gets background E and the upper right becomes Desktop #3 and gets background F, which is just visually jarring to me.

When it happens, everything is still arranged in the V that I want, so it's not like the OS is confusing what's what.

Q: Why does this happen or how can I fix it?

  • Have a look at this answer – Allan Mar 4 '17 at 14:57
  • It's a work laptop, so I can't install third party software on it. – Joe Casadonte Mar 4 '17 at 14:59
  • Poked around and googled, both without success. There's very little in the way of settings that I can find to affect this. – Joe Casadonte Mar 8 '17 at 23:21
  • I am using an app called TotalSpaces2 that can mess with the spaces. Maybe it can do what you want, or you could contact the devs and see if they can help. – Thomas Tempelmann Mar 10 '17 at 10:51

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