Window Management in Windows 7

December 2, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Window management can be a problem for many users, especially those on lower spec Windows 7 devices.

Most users are the same – you open a browser window to check the latest news online or Facebook, then you open an email client to check your latest messages and then you might go searching for a specific file in Windows Explorer.

Not once do you remember to close the unused windows! The result of this is that there are several applications running which might be minimised or dragged off screen so that they are out of sight. But your PC still knows they’re there because it is providing system resources in the shape of RAM, CPU time and graphics, and this will slow down your computer.

The obvious step would be to cycle through these Windows to close them – but what if you can’t find them? It isn’t uncommon for an application to be dragged so far off screen that you cannot easily grab hold of it.

Luckily, the Windows designers have thought of this…

Find missing application windows

Restoring Windows from the Taskbar

If the application you want to use is simply minimised and is resisting all attempts to maximise or restore it to its original dimensions, then using the thumbnail preview on the taskbar can help.

A running application is docked on the taskbar, and hovering your mouse pointer over it will display a preview; for instance if you have a web browser minimised, the thumbnail preview will display whichever web page you were on.

While in older versions of Windows right-clicking the program on the taskbar would bring up the options to Restore and Maximize, these can now only be accessed by right-clicking the thumbnail preview, which also reveals options to Close and Move the window. Using these options you can instruct the Window to come back into view or close it entirely.

Finding a Missing Window in Windows 7

Systems with two desktop monitors have the advantage of more desktop “real estate” and the opportunity to drag applications from one monitor to another. Some other operating systems offer a desktop that is two or more screens wide, but these can occupy either the same monitor or more multiple.

However if you a PC or laptop that is limited to the standard single screen and have a missing application window that you have dragged out of sight and now cannot retrieve, the best option is to use the move tool in the taskbar menu.

This is surprisingly easy to do. First find the item in taskbar and select it; normally this would maximise the program (certainly the program currently thinks it is maximised). Next, hold down ALT and tap SPACE; with ALT still depressed, tap M. If your application window was visible, a small cross where the mouse pointer should be would now be displayed in the centre of the window.

You now have two choices – left click and drag the window back into your desktop or use the arrow keys to bring the application back into view.

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