Lost your Windows?

April 7, 2008

Sometimes an application you’ve been using disappears off the screen, or the title bar is off the top of the monitor and is no longer visible. This is a particular problem if you’re using two or more monitors. You know the program is still ‘alive’ because it’s listed in the task bar. You may even be able to maximize it, but you can’t position it where you want it.

Here’s a quick trick to get that window back where it belongs. It should work with all versions of Windows.

  1. Press ALT+TAB to display the open windows.
  2. Continue holding down the ALT key as you press TAB until you select the icon for your ‘missing’ program. Release the keys.
  3. Press ALT+<spacebar>.
  4. Press the M key.
  5. Press the arrow keys a few times until you see the program’s window on screen. Depending on where it’s ‘hiding’, you may have to press the down arrow key, or the left or right arrow keys.
  6. Now move your mouse to drag the window back into view and you’re done.

Update 5 August 2008: I lost an app today and couldn’t find it. It was in the Taskbar but Maximize, Restore, and Move weren’t available when I right-clicked on it. After some Googling, I found another way to open it, then, once it was open, I used steps 3 and 4 (above) to manipulate it until it came back as I wanted it:

  1. Open Task Manager (press Ctrl+Alt+ Del, then click Task Manager).
  2. Go to the Applications tab.
  3. Right-click on the program, then select Bring to Front. (If that doesn’t work, try Maximize.)
  4. Once you’ve got the application visible again, press ALT+<spacebar> then the key for what you want to do (e.g. M for Move, R for Restore, etc.).
  5. Resize the application’s window to how you want it to be and you’re done.

Update 5 March 2009: This article describes this process really well, with pictures!

[This article was first published in the June 2007 CyberText Newsletter]

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