Windows

Quick Tip: Disable Snap in Windows 7

While many think that Snap in Windows 7 is an awesome feature, many others think that it is annoying. Greg Shultz shows you how to turn it off.

As you know, with the introduction of Snap in Microsoft Windows 7, we now have a completely new way of managing open windows. This feature allows you to arrange open windows, including maximizing and resizing, just by dragging and dropping a window to different edges of the screen. When a window is dragged to the correct position, a ripple effect will emanate from the cursor and you'll see an animated outline of the window instantly appear in its new position. As soon as you release the mouse button, the window will snap to that position.

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For example, you can maximize a window in Windows 7 by clicking and dragging its title bar to the top of the screen. To restore a maximized window, just click and drag the title bar toward the middle of the screen. To position a window on half of the screen, just click and drag the title bar toward the left or right side of the screen. (The further to the right or left side of the title bar that you click and drag, the quicker the snap occurs.) To stretch a window that is in the middle of the screen so that it spans from the top to the bottom, just click the bottom or top edge and drag toward the bottom or top of the screen.

While many of us think that Snap is an awesome feature, many others think that it is annoying. For those in the latter category, I recently discovered that you can disable Snap.

Begin by clicking the Start button and typing Snap in the Start Search box. When you do, you'll see a result titled Turn Off Automatic Window Arrangement. When you select that result, you'll see the Make the Mouse Easier to Use panel in the Ease of Access tool and can select the Prevent Windows from Being Automatically Arranged when Moved to the Edge of the Screen check box, as shown in Figure A. Click OK in that box and that's it, no more annoying Snap.

Figure A

If you find Snap annoying, you can disable it.

What's your take?

Do you find Snap a useful Windows 7 feature or a major annoyance? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

57 comments
TI 99/4A
TI 99/4A

How could they have made this better?  First, I hate this feature and turned it off as soon as I found out how.


If they had just set it up so that the first time you moved a window to the edge it would pop up and tell you what it was doing and asked if you wanted it to that would have been better.  Then it could have asked if you wanted the option that you choose stored as your personal setting.  Wow...if/then statements....looks like programmers at Microsoft would get a clue doesn't it, but instead some bone head decides that their new idea is great for everyone...idiots.


Now on to the Windows 8 problem of getting too close to the right edge of the touchpad and having some idiotic options pop up.  Microsoft idiots at it again.  The problem isn't as much the computer trying to anticipate and think for us as it is the programmers that are convinced that they have reinvented the wheel.

moorpheus
moorpheus

Thanks. What a horrible thing for me, drove me nuts.  As a computer user for decades, I have developed my own ways of working, and I resent being forced to change what works for me.  It's like putting the gear shift in the back seat. 

Give me choices.  Don't force me.

brainout
brainout

Am just now getting some Win7 machines to work alongside my never-will-die, XP Pro machines. That Snap thingy was driving me up the wall. Now fixed, thanks to you! Now if only the insane Windows Explorer changes could be so easily rolled back to the sensible XP method of display and usage...

stargazerjim
stargazerjim

I was ready to snap when Microsoft once more decided what I wanted to do rather than letting me do what I want. Not as annoying as the paperclip, but more disruptive to productivity by far. Thanks for the tip. It is now disabled and will stay that way.

shadzovgra
shadzovgra

For anyone who bothers to look at Performance Information and Tools/Advanced Tools/View Performance Details and Event Log, you will notice that Windows Seven always adds the snap in before opening that particular window, especially on a new boot. In fact you can't view those details without the snap in happening, so I'm all for it. Taking the snap in feature away just because you only see it as being used for extra mouse options etc is a stupid idea

davidg
davidg

As you said, some people hate it, some people love it. I, for one found it so useful I installed a version developed for Windows XP (AquaSnap, featured on TechRepublic before) so when working on my XP machines I have that feature as well. Since I work on wide screen monitors, I find snaping two or more windows very quick and helpful. Each to his own, as you said.

jcover13a
jcover13a

I like using the Snap feature, however I use dual monitors and it doesn't work real well when you're in extended desktop mode. I'd love to be able to quickly arrange my calendar and email inbox side by side on my second monitor, but it's too much trouble to get the half screen effect lined up on the left side. If anyone has come up with a work-around, I'd be interested!

noemib
noemib

I like to move my windows when I want where I want. I don't need this "feature" trying to decide for me.. SNAP OFF - Thanks for the article!! :)

Skibum
Skibum

No luck on a quick Google. I'd like to turn off the top/bottom, but retain the side snaps. Would probably require some Registry work but it would be worth it.

Keith Hailey
Keith Hailey

So, it's called Snap, huh. I thought my mouse was freakin' out.

dawn
dawn

I hate it - if I want a window full screen its easy enough to click the full screen button. I find both snap and the hover on the task bar features awful and time consuming. thanks so much for showing me how to get RID OF IT!

mwclarke1
mwclarke1

The biggest issue with many features, impacts performance, makes software more bloated. I would rather keep features down to a minimum, the ones that are mostly needed, can the eye candy. I like things to perform faster and just do the basics quicker. I can not stand seeing an hour glass at all. Usually when I need to do something, I need to do it quickly, and I need to have my computer be very reliable. Which is neither when software is so bloated with all these features that make it slower and less reliable. I say keep the less important features out of the code period, since even if can turn something off, windows seems to keep the over bloated stuff hanging around, still taking up disk space, keeping DDL's in memory, bloating the registry, etc.

gavin.burgess
gavin.burgess

My problem is the opposite. The default on my machine is set to check the box and disable the snap function on startup and nothing I do can apparently change that. Any ideas?

pbug56
pbug56

I tried it. Next thing I know, whenever my mouse pointer passed over certain things, I had a computer voice telling me what I could do with the item I was passing over.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Never bothered with snap. Something useless probably coppied from OS X or elsewhere.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

We're all over you like stink on fresh schitt. X-(

john3347
john3347

I am far beyond jumping and snapping, and docking and blocking. I am surprised, yet ever so thankful that they didn't force worthless "Gadgets" in the faces of those who do not want them. I just want my computer to work. This, along with Jumping, and Libraries (which further screws up a total train wreck that Vista Windows Explorer was), and a few other new "Features" makes an otherwise fine working OS miserable to try to live with. It is such a shame that one has to spend 6 months accumulating and applying tips and tweaks such as this along with third party software (Classic Shell for instance) to make Windows 7 into something that should be optional from the start. I am still looking for a third party fix to totally eliminate (or disable and hide) the multiple user provisions of Windows Explorer. This also should be optional. I am the sole user of my computer. I don't need a "Public" folder, a "Guest" folder, a "something else" folder, etc.

BillGates_z
BillGates_z

Yet another "feature" whose controls are buried in absurdly hard to find places. What, no ribbon?

Rodo1
Rodo1

This "feature" is just one of several that has made me decide to part company with Microsoft after XP is no longer supported. If they spent as much effort on fixing security problems and other bugs as they do on "features" like this and transparent windows and other eye-candy they could have a rock solid, usable OS. As it is now all they are doing is pandering to computer illiterates. I'm going to Linux as soon as possible. 20 years with MS is enough. EDIT: And furthermore it looks like with the new UI they are just trying to make it look like GNOME or the Mac.

Rob C
Rob C

There should be single setting somewhere, that when ticked, will turn off all that crap. EG - - No Sticky keys - No Snap - Will revert to Classic mode the - - Start Menu - Control Panel - Windows Explorer And will show File Extensions, and will not hide Folders/Files. In other words, it will just let us control freaks, control everything. If we wanted flashy/glossy we would get an Apple Mac, and use Chrome.

pgit
pgit

Obviously it's a matter of taste, some find snap useful, I don't. Great tip.

jeman022004
jeman022004

Thanks for the tip. That is an ok feature for Desktops, but annoying on my laptop. No more annoying snap!!

krsmav
krsmav

Sysop - Please delete this spam.

usmie
usmie

Well, in my part as a secretary do more job every now and then Snap is very helpful for me. I can type two papers in the same time without disturbing the other one... Snap is a very nice feature for doing fast typing job.

mikaej
mikaej

Great! Now I'm not annoyed anymore by w7

kevsan
kevsan

I despise anything Microsoft do automatically when it comes to the desktop . I prefer it when I have control over what I see and how I see it. The snap feature may be some whiz bang gadget but when a computer is shared, especially with those with little understanding of operating systems, it just results in more Help Line calls.

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

I use snap nearly every day in one way or another. If I want to compare two graphic images, if I want to compare areas in Excel sheets, if I want to compare documents. Snap works well for me. I can also see how snap would irritate some folks with multiple monitors and the like. Sometimes instead of bring up a folder sync program I snap the two windows for the same deal. There are many situations where snap is of great use.

Who Am I Really
Who Am I Really

I haven't even used it once and I can already tell you that it will be as annoying as the retarded animations introduced in win95 & up I'm sure that if I got forced to use win7 that I'd be looking for a way to shut as much crap off as I can including snap, libraries, etc.

gharlow
gharlow

I have a three monitor configuration, and everytime I move a window from one monitor to another it would "snap". A few seconds on Google and it was GONE!

Tommy S.
Tommy S.

Its one of the best NEW feature in Windows 7.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you like the Snap feature in Windows 7? Or, do you find it annoying?

moorpheus
moorpheus

@shadzovgraI think the snap feature is terrific for you and I believe it's an option you should be able to use when/if you choose.  I just don't want it forced on me. And, I think there should be an easy toggle for all users.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

If you compare versions [NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Win7], as each version came out, the user has finer control over most aspects. Isuspect [and I agree] that Microsoft doesn't want to subdividing the features for this minor feature. Compared to other areas this is a minor feature. Can you imagine how much of a monster the Control Panel would be if everything could be modified - let alone the complexity to allow the user to modify features.

mbrown
mbrown

Why doesn't MS make a control for things like this? That is probably my biggest gripe with them (ok, after pricing), they just assume everyone wants to do it their way.

velvetz11
velvetz11

Recommend a better mouse trap

john3347
john3347

The word that needs to become popular is "choice" or "option". Some like it (whatever the subject or feature is) and some don't. That much is fine!!! Just provide options for all and make the choice easy to locate and execute.

gadget
gadget

I could take it or leave it but what I have a problem with is the shortcut keys. I am a Graphics Designer and I spend a lot of time in Photoshop. Shortcut keys: [SHIFT]+[WINKEY]+[RIGHT] moves a window from one monitor to the other, I find this very handy and use it all the time. My problem is that the same operation is done by using the shortcut key combination: [SHIFT]+[CTRL]+[RIGHT] (or [LEFT]) This is also one of the shortcut keys for nudging a layer in Photoshop. Anyone know of a way to disable the [SHIFT]+[CTRL] shortcut? I have been using Photoshop for 15 years now and that is probably the most frequent shortcut that I use.

mbrown
mbrown

It takes some getting used to and practice, but Snap is in line with current advances in desktop OS. Does it consume much in the way of resources? When I upgraded I went 64-bit and finally could use the 8 GB I had on my motherboard, so it is difficult for me to compare XP to Windows 7, but it is blazing fast now! But the best feature I have found is the way they handle open windows in the task bar by displaying them all when you hover over them. It isn?t uncommon for me to have a dozen or more windows open concurrently, so I find the quick preview a real time saver. We still use XP at work and I find myself hovering over icons in the taskbar, to no avail!

kathybacon
kathybacon

I find it highly annoying thus this information is very helpful.

speculatrix
speculatrix

all my computers are wide-screen, 20" at home, 24" at work, and 5.6" on my ultraportable. In all cases I find the snap to be a nuisance. I quite like the idea of a window edge auto-aligning to the edge of screen or another window for easy tiling. I can't make windows do this (I use KDE on linux most of the time). The tendency to maximise a window is a PITA, and I was developing a habit of waggling windows up and down to stop it, so thanks for this!

mw00110011
mw00110011

Thanks for the article - useful and needed! I found Snap to be annoying from the beginning, almost too frustrating, as even with a decent sized monitor I like to move different windows to the edges of the screen myself and quickly tired of the explosion on my screen as that window went to maximized. Having not seen the commercial that waved the Snap flag, I didn't know what to call it to be able to find its switch and kill it. Finally found that it was hiding under the Happy Mouse banner. Glad it's gone. That seems to be the bigger of two challenges with new MS products - finding the control for new 'features' - the other being getting a grip on those enhancements, such as the new Search mechanism. I wonder if the Windows Quality Feedback system reports on what is disabled by users?

patty_toler@MED3000.com
patty_toler@MED3000.com

I really like Snap; saves me so much time maneuvering windows. I work in many windows at one time and snap makes it easy for me to move between or look at 2 windows side by side with a "snap"...so easy to use when you understand it.

RealAusTech
RealAusTech

is what I call Snap. Using 2 screens is the way that I go, and Snap simply isn't used or even needed by me. When I'm needing to switch between applications regularly, the most used is positioned on my wide screen. If I need both equally, Tiling works well, but I still tend to use the two screens. I'm used to doing it that way. Mark, thanks very much for the tip, as I will be able to turn Snap off on my wife's computer, as she has collided with it several times. She's wondered why the window that she was working in has disappeared when she has moved the mouse elsewhere on the screen.

liljim
liljim

I use a wide screen monitor. I did not expect to like it before I bought it, but the flat screen, large size monitors weighed a ton. Once I got it, I found how nice and easy it was to have two windows overlap, so I could easily switch between the windows. When I upgraded to Windows 7 the nightmares began. Every time I moved a window to the right or left corner of the screen, it snapped to full screen and stopped my productive work while I undid this change. Thank You. This tip was enormously helpful.

CaptMorgan
CaptMorgan

I can't say I use it a lot, but I like to have the ability to use it the few times I need or want it. I like it. I haven't found that it interferes with anything I do when I don't need it.

Skibum
Skibum

A "minor feature" perhaps, but it's a minor feature that's in your face the first time you move a Win7 window too far. To reiterate my question: Has anyone implemented a method of applying more granularity to the snap controls, including possible registry changes? I'm sure it's possible, but I'm not versed enough in the registry to perform unguided tinkering. I love the side to side, but the top is making me crazy. Found a freeware solution offering more granular control. Aquasnap, http://www.nurgo-software.com/ Working well on my Win7 x64. All sorts of options, including the ability to turn off the top snap, and turn on a bottom one if you want.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

"make the choice easy to locate and execute" That's usually the rub with Windows. Thanks for a great tip, Greg.

amm
amm

Thank you. I found this THE most annoying new feature.

kmadison
kmadison

I too, did not understand what the heck was happening when trying to rearrange a window in my dual screen setup. It was this "snap" feature creating my nightmare. Thanks for the article.

stephen.shore
stephen.shore

I agree that snap is annoying. I'd much rather right click my toolbar and select "Tile Windows Vertically/Horizontally" than have Windows decide for me.

pgit
pgit

Indeed finding where to do what vis configuring windows has always been a chore. Every new release they seem to rename functions and move them to an unfamiliar location. ...which is the foundation of an awful lot of the work I do. I get familiar with system settings and tweak things for clients who can't be bothered... or simply don't know you can do certain things. (like kill snap) Microsoft is the apex of the after market 'make work' model of doing business. Can't thank 'em enough. =D

KB3U
KB3U

There is no interaction between windows when using this method to tile windows. Snap permites concurrent action on both windows.

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