Tech Tip of the Week: How to Bring a Lost Window Back to your Desktop

By Julio Franco ยท 25 replies
Dec 9, 2009
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  1. At one point or another, you're bound to run into this pesky issue: you can see an application open in the taskbar, but can't see the window on your desktop. A number of things can cause this, such as disconnecting your laptop from a secondary display before dragging the windows back to the primary desktop. It can also occur when you open a program that alters your resolution, among a few others.

    This week's tip: How to Bring a Lost Window Back to your Desktop
  2. yangly18

    yangly18 TS Rookie Posts: 217

    thanks for this tip, it happens to me every once in a while due to my use of my TV screen as a display sometimes. This mostly happens when I don't change over my screen settings and just d/c the cable going to the tv.
  3. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,654   +1,093

    Another great tip. It could save someone's life!
  4. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    The arrow keys! DOH! So simple, so obvious, so completely overlooked by me when I needed it! I have a tendency to put things like chat and notepad windows over on my second monitor while at work, then when I take my laptop on the road I suddenly can't get to anything I want... Thanks for the tips, I'll probably be using them this week, knowing me! :)
  5. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 529   +7

    I run into this all the time as well because of my multiple monitor setup with my laptop. The move shortcut is always my standby. Thanks for getting this out there though.
  6. Burned

    Burned TS Rookie

    I run into this all the time when working on peoples notebooks.
  7. i always right click the taskbar icon, choose move and then, without moving the mouse, click and drag the window. when move is selected, the mouse pointer is always on the window title bar and changes to the 4 arrows, so clicking and dragging works.
  8. Vicenarian

    Vicenarian TS Booster Posts: 104   +10

    Man, that is a lifesaver.
  9. Tgard

    Tgard TS Booster Posts: 87   +26

    Excellent tip! I needed this desperately about a week ago and instead had to resort to reconnecting a second monitor back to my video card to retrieve the lost app. Duh to me, never even considered cascade or the arrow keys, but I tried about everything else.

    Thanks much - I will know from now on!
  10. LightHeart

    LightHeart TS Rookie Posts: 155

    Just ran into this yesterday with a user, oh well, I'm ready for the next time it happens.
  11. MaXtor

    MaXtor TS Booster Posts: 149   +39

    Nice tip - the Windows key + Arrow keys. I don't believe I've had the issue while on Windows 7 but if I had I wonder if I would have thought to use the Windows 7 snap feature.
  12. I know this is somewhat late, but maybe it will help (on Win7).
    Win key + Shift + Left/Right Arrow key = Moving the selected program from one display to another.
  13. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,668   +988

    @Guest, believe it or not that doesn't always work with certain stubborn programs, but thanks for the note, I will try it next time I come across this annoyance :).
  14. uttaradhaka

    uttaradhaka TS Rookie Posts: 53

    I've had this problem before.. This tip is going to help. Thanks
  15. Hey guys nice tip. What if the program I'm using has a pop-up which appears mostly off screen? Because this pop-up is not the main program this method does not work(no tab appears in task bar). I'm using duel screens with a drafting program and every time I select this particular fuction it appears off screen almost completly. I tried finding pop-up while using one screen only, however it is completely off screen.
    Any ideas would appriciated.

  16. Saved my afternoon!! Thank you so much :)

  17. Thank you so much for the tip!! This totally saved my bacon on my workstation. Now I can see what exactly is going on when my system won't accept our network patches.
  18. Prest Ctrl+Alt+Delete , click on task manager , select your lost window , and click maximize.
  19. Thanks for saving me time and frustration!
  20. So this tip is for Windows 7 running minimally, I.e. no Aero or fluff and a main application spawned another dialog box and for some reason or another the window is hidden behind the taskbar but you may not know. So just auto-hide the task bar and you can find it and then either handle it or use the method discussed. If you still cannot find it the task manager trick or aero(enable it) usually works.
  21. Ohmigod... THANK YOU! I learnt a new trick today with the windows key and the arrow button. You saved my bacon!

    OUTLAWXXX TS Rookie Posts: 51

  23. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,670   +413

    Thanks bunches. :)
  24. Thank you so much for such a simple thing!
  25. Eliska

    Eliska TS Rookie

    Hi Julio,

    maybe trivial solution, but I have found on Windows 7 very simple way how to fix this...

    Control Panel -> Appearance and Personalization -> Display -> in the menu on the left 'Connect to a projector' -> select Computer only

    All windows jump back to desktop.

    I hope this helped anybody :)

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