Windows

Quick Tip: Move a window back into view from outside the display

In Microsoft Windows (7, Vista, and XP) there is a simple way to move that hidden application window back into view when it has slipped off the screen.

Every once in a while, you or the users you support may work yourselves into a situation where a running application's window is displayed off the screen in such a way that it cannot be moved back into view. The most likely culprit that could create this scenario is when you use multiple monitors and one of those monitors becomes unexpectedly unavailable.

In Microsoft Windows (7, Vista, and XP) there is a simple way to move that hidden application window back into view. Note, this technique has been available in every version of Windows (correct me if I am wrong about that), but many users are unaware it exists or, perhaps, they have just forgotten.

Move that window

The general technique is the same for all Windows, but Windows 7, with the newer Taskbar functionality, may require an additional move of the mouse.

For our example, imagine the Word file sliding off the right side of the display shown in Figure A is completely out of the picture. The only visible connection to that Word window would be on the Taskbar.

Figure A

Imagine the Word file is off the display screen.
Right-click on the Word icon in the Taskbar to bring up the context menu, which should look something like Figure B. Click the Move entry.

Figure B

Right-click the Taskbar icon to get the context menu.

Once you click the Move entry, you should see an icon on your Desktop that looks like arrows pointing in all four directions (up, down, right, left). Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the Word window onto the current display where you can get to it with your mouse. When you get it into position, press the Enter key or click your mouse and the Window position will be reset to your current display. You can then access it as you normally would.

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

30 comments
wildcatherder
wildcatherder

File-Open persisted in popping up on a different monitor (which is not always available) than the main Excel. I moved it, but next time I opened the program, the same thing happened. Solution: I closed the explorer pop-up by Shift-clicking the upper-right corner "X". It then behaved as desired.

RU7
RU7

HOw about trying the Shift + Windows Key + Left Arrow That moves the active window from one monitor to the other. Using the Right Arrow moves it the ohter way. Also, the Windows Key + Up Arrow maximizes the active window.

RU7
RU7

In Excel 2007, with two workbooks open, when you restore or maximize one workbook's window (from the task bar or the upper-right icon), the other's gets the same action. That happens whether or not the main Excel window is maximized. With this setup, the main Excel window cannot be controlled from the task bar.

steve
steve

Imagine Excel is full screen but you have a few non-maximised worksheets floating around and you slide one off the edge of the screen. Oops! The fixes so far work on the "program window" but not on the active "sub-window". Don't they?

Bill_M.
Bill_M.

On Windows 7, you can also grab the topmost bar back inside or drag it further out and it will snap right back in to at least half of the screen. You can also grab the bar and pull it down and back up and then place it somewhere in the middle.

rcormier
rcormier

Hover over the program icon on the task bar until the Aero Preview pops up and then right click on the pop up.

DanW
DanW

Those menu commands went away in windows 7 unless you know of a way to get them back.

databaseben
databaseben

Just right click on the task bar and use any of the commands like show stack windows or cascade once they are bunched up in the middle of the screen, you can re-established their location.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Follow the same steps, but only tap an arrow key once or twice, this will cause your Mouse to snap to the window. Now move your mouse and the window will be stuck underneath it, you can then place it where needed.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Have you got a Windows tip, tweak, or trick that is unknown, under-used, or just forgotten? Something that TechRepublic reader would find interesting?

Cmd_Line_Dino
Cmd_Line_Dino

alt space opens the control menu on a primary window alt - (minus key) does the same for a sub window

RU7
RU7

View Tab Window Group Arrange All Icon Tiled radio button OK

RU7
RU7

must be the active window

spokanedj
spokanedj

For Windows 7, don't right-click on the task bar icon, but rather hover over it until the window(s) preview appears. Then right-click over the window preview and the old common restore, move, size, etc menu options will appear. If you select move, it will automatically snap your mouse to the top of the window. Just hold your left mouse button down and move the screen into view. In some cases you might have to select restore on the window first before the size option is available.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I think If windows is set to have duel monitors, but one of them is unavailable, it will still cascade them onto the missing monitor. This happens to me all the time because the HDTV always shows as a monitor, even if it is turned off. So Windows duel screens it.

databaseben
databaseben

Leaving the modem connection on all the time, is not a good idea especially when booting up the computer. So I make it a regular habit of turning off my modem after I end my internet session for the day and before I shut down the computer. Its easy to make an on / off button and using it is as simple as using a light switch. In Win7 - Open to Network Sharing Control Panel then click Change Adaptor Settings. The devices will show up and right clicking on any of them will provide the option to create shortcut. In other windows - Open the control panel that displays the network connections and right click on any of them to create a shortcut to the desktop. The shortcut will then be placed on the desktop and you can move it over near the time display on the task bar. You can rename the shortcut as well. To turn off the internet connection, just right click on the shortcut and select disable. To turn it on, just double click or right click and select enable. There are several benefits to using the above and you will agree in good time, if you remember to turn off your internet connection at the end of the day..

steve
steve

That was the most accessible example I could think of. Our staff actually had this problem with Navision, which doesn't have the "Tiled" option ??? merely "Close all" or "Arrange icons". The latter does nothing to help, though.

databaseben
databaseben

yeah, i forgot about the alt+space keys. you can make the hidden window active by using the alt+tab method to switch to it. then use press alt+space, then press the M key, then a couple right or left arrows to move the hidden window into mouse range.

RU7
RU7

One thing I have disliked about Win 7 is the missing Maximize command from the task bar. I've been cursing M$ for doing away with it. I actually found it by accident as I was reading these comments. I was excited that I might share something new. Then I read your comment and found you had beaten me to it.

databaseben
databaseben

Yeah, when it comes to dual monitors there are other variables. I know with my vista dual monitors, i can right click on the open program icon floating on the task bar and select move to monitor 1 or monitor 2. so if the program's window is hidden, i can right click its floating task bar icon and move the window to one of the other monitors.

Slayer_
Slayer_

But I have been doing it since win 98

MallusLittera
MallusLittera

What are the benefits of this? Are you talking about your DSL modem, dial-up modem, or your network connection? If you are talking about a dial-up modem then I understand the point of this article. If you are talking about your DSL modem disagree because then you still need your modems router as a DHCP server unless you have a separate router. Are you saying that you should shutdown your DSL Modem/Router when your done? Also if you are talking about your network connection then this makes even less sense because there are many things designed to sync during inactivity. Thanks

RU7
RU7

Pre-ribbon apps had "Window" in the menu bar. That had both "Tile" and "Cascade" options. There is a chance this might work: Open a new, second window, maximize it, then CTRL-Tab to switch to the other window.

RogerF
RogerF

I have used this on both XP and W7 - alt-[tab] to the 'missing' window, alt-[space] then 'm' for move, arrow once or twice then mouse. BTW: alt-[space] 'letter' allows: m - Move s - Size n - minimize x - Maximise r - restore c - close (but clumsier than alt-F4)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I suspect this is a feature of your video card drivers, but I've been wrong before. One could always get temporarily disable the second monitor. That'll move the app back to the only remaining one. Crude, but effective.

databaseben
databaseben

I'm referring to the computers internal internet connection and not the physical external modem. When shutting down the home computer for the day, it is a good idea to shut down the internet connection beforehand. There are good reasons to do so, especially when it comes to malware turning on the pc in the middle of then night and begin transceiving data. Another is that, on some computers it takes time to shut down because it can't shut down the internet connection or the computer has trouble starting up becuase it can't start the internet connection. Therefore, manually doing starting and stopping it on the desktop helps. Another reason for haing the option to start the internet connection manually is that one of the first things windows does or startup programs will do is to hog or fight over the internet connection in order to check for updates. So allowing the desktop to fully load before turning on the internet connection can help with assessing performance issues. Perhaps, not everyone likes my tip, but i do and have been using the methodology for years now and have no regrets. hth