I Lost My Window!: Pulling a Mischievous Window Back On-Screen

2 minute read

Have you ever had the title bar of a window get stuck off the screen, so that you can't move it anymore? In Windows 7 it's even possible to get a window stuck under the taskbar, which is extremely aggravating--you can see it, but you can't click on it to move it back out! If you don't think you'll remember how to deal with it, print out a copy of these instructions and you'll know what to do next time it happens.

If you're not sure exactly what I mean, here are two screenshots: nearly stuck and totally stuck. (For this example, I got the window stuck on purpose by dragging it entirely behind a panel, but it can happen accidentally while moving windows or even sometimes when you open a program. In either case, you see that the window is open but can't be moved or even seen except on the taskbar.)

The brute-force solution is to close the program and restart it. Unfortunately, this sometimes doesn't work, because programs often remember the location their windows were at when they were closed, so that they can reopen where you want them the next time. Even if this solution would work, you might prefer not to restart the program.

Fortunately, there's an elegant and simple fix. This tip works on Windows and Linux; I haven't tried it on a Mac, but it probably works. (By the way, if you are using an operating system, like Mac OS X, that I say I haven't tested the tip on, and you try it and it works, please leave a comment.)

  1. Switch to the window with the stuck title bar. To do this, you can click on a part of the window you can see (if there is any), or you can select its taskbar button (so that it looks highlighted, something like what screenshot 2 looks like).
  2. Hold down the Alt key and press the spacebar. A menu should appear with options for managing the window. Choose Move. Here's a screenshot.
  3. Slide the mouse away from the part of the screen the window is stuck in. The window should move as if you were dragging and dropping its title bar. When you get it to the location you want, click once. (Alternatively, you can use the arrow keys to move the window.)

That's all. Time to get back to work!

Soren "scorchgeek" Bjornstad

If you have found an error or notable omission in this tip, please leave a comment or email me: webmaster@thetechnicalgeekery.com.

Copyright 2011 Soren Bjornstad.
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