Wouldn’t we all love if things worked as advertised like the above video shows? If you have ever had to deal with multiple monitors you will understand the problem of managing two desktops and the windows within them. Windows 7 has made the desktop management a bit easier but not perfect yet. Once you have your monitors setup the way you want them then Windows should normally be “smart” enough to figure the rest out from there. I have found that sometimes I have users that will detach their secondary monitor and go to a meeting. They were working on a application that was open on their secondary monitor and when the secondary desktop was removed, Windows should have readjusted its position to the only monitor left to display data on. What ends up happening is that the users application window will be off the screen and they cannot see their application. This is one of the biggest pains in the ass with multiple monitors, Windows cannot seem to get it right. On a side note there is a work around in Windows XP to get your application window back without putting your secondary monitor back on. What this involved was the following steps:
- You needed to make sure the application window was not maximized and was free floating, the only way to do this since you cannot click on the action buttons was to right click the applications status bar entry and chose restore. If restore was grayed out then you knew it was already in that state. If maximize was grayed out then you knew the window was in a maximized state.
- Once you knew your application window was in a state where it can be moved, you could again right click on the applications status bar entry and this time chose “Move” from the context menu.
- Now the important part… don’t touch your mouse! You will need to use your keyboards arrow keys.
- You need to remember what side your secondary monitor was on. This is important because you either need to move your application window to the left or to the right to get it back on the main screen. Most secondary screens are on the right and if this is the case for you then you would need to move your application window to the left to get it on the main screen. To do this you would press and hold the left arrow key and hold it down. When you see the application window outline start to show on your monitor then you can use the mouse to take over and get back control of your window.
This is the old way but is prefect and is the only way I know of in Windows XP and earlier.
Windows 7 is a “different cat” (where did that cliché come from?) when you right click on task bar entries you get some crazy useless menus that has nothing in them about restore or move, so the method mentioned above will not work. “Well how the hell do I get my application window back on Windows 7!!!!!” you may ask……… Here comes the 4 shortcuts I found by accident.
- Click your application window in the task bar
- Hold your Windows Logo key on you keyboard down (keep holding it down)
- Press left or right
If you watch your application window will flip between 3 states: snap left, restored, and snap right and will do this on each monitor you have. If you keep going left or right when it reaches the end of your desktop well it will come full circle and back to the other end of your desktop. So now when your application window is on a different monitor all you have to do is make sure the application window you want to move is in focus and just use the shortcut to move it back to the primary monitor!
This tip also works great for multiple monitor users that love using snap (The video above) If you have ever tried to use snap on multiple monitors you will notice snap only works at the far left edged of your desktop and far right edge of your desktop. This is because Windows treats your desktop as one big desktop that extends multiple monitors. The way snap works in extended desktop mode is it snaps to the edges of the desktop not the edges of your screen. Using this shortcut it will allow you to use snap using the edge of your screen not the desktop. So if you have two applications open and you want them snapped to the left and to the right of the same monitor:
- Click your first application and use “Windows Key + Left” .
- Click your other application and use “Windows Key + Right”.
You now have windows snapped in the same screen with multiple monitors! There are also a few others like pressing “Windows Key + Up” to maximize the application window. “Windows Key + Down” will take a maximized application window to a restored one and a restored one to a minimized one. Play with these arrow key shortcuts, they are fun use and great to know about!
© Caspan 2011