How do I move an off-screen Window in Windows 7?

One of the ways to handle an off-screen window - particularly useful for Windows Media Center - has changed slightly in Windows 7.

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My Windows Media Center suddenly popped up too high so can’t get to controls to pull it down to close/max/minimize screen. Your answer about alt+space, m doesn’t work with media center. Desperate to get it back under control!

You didn’t indicate whether or not you were using Windows 7, but given that Windows Media Center is part of it, and it does indeed not pay attention to ALT+SPACE like it should, I’ll show you “the other way”.

The problem is that “the other way” changed from Windows XP to Windows 7, and many people that used to use it are also somewhat lost searching for it.

What’s called the “System Menu” used to be accessible in a single click from the task bar. In Windows 7, there’s an additional step.

In Windows XP and Windows Vista, if you right click on a running program in the taskbar up would pop the System Menu for that program (type the Windows key once first if your taskbar isn’t showing):
Right clicking on a running program in the taskbar in Windows Vista
That’s the same as the ALT+Space trick mentioned in an earlier article, except that the system menu shows up near the task bar instead of in the upper left of the application window.

At that point you could click on Move and use your keyboard arrows to move the program’s window around the screen.

In Windows 7 it gets only slightly more complicated.

When you right click on a program on the Windows 7 taskbar, you get something else:
Right clicking on a running program in the taskbar in Windows 7
As you can see, there’s nothing at all like the old System menu.

The trick is to instead, Shift right click:
Shift Right clicking on a running program in the taskbar in Windows 7
In other words, hold down the Shift key while right clicking on the running programs entry in the task bar.

And once again you can click on Move, and use the keyboard arrow keys to move the window around.

In the case of Windows Media Center specifically it seems to get a little weird if the program has been maximized to full screen, as many of us do when watching a movie or otherwise using the program. The problem is that Windows Media Center basically ignores all of the standard keyboard shortcuts we might use, and does not display the System Menu using the techniques above.

ALT+Enter to the rescue.

Simply hold down the ALT key and type Enter. This keystroke toggles Windows Media Center between Full Screen and Windowed mode. Once you’re in Windowed mode you can once again move it around as you like. (Occasionally, just toggling out of and back into Full Screen mode can also quickly resolve some display
issues.)

There are 36 comments:

  1. Steve Reply

    These solutions will probably fix the immediate problem of being able to resize the window, however when the full screen mode is re entered you will be faced with the same problem again, It sounds like this problem may be occuring due to an incorrect display resolution. Check the Display resolution for both your monitor and please be aware there are seperate display resolution settings within media centre, when you make the inital display resolution settings, make sure theat media centre is in full screen mode on your preffered monitor,

  2. Andy Reply

    I personally feel that the “new” labelless icons are disgusting and the lack of text makes identification slow.

    Setting the taskbar options to either “combine when full” or “never combine” can solve the problem.

  3. Stephen Mann Reply

    If it recurs often, as do one of my programs since installing Windows 7, then there’s a freeware program that may help: Shove-it. (www.phord.com)

    This program makes it impossible to move a window off-screen.

  4. Andre Miller Reply

    There is a much easier method in Windows 7. Give the window focus, by clicking on it in the Task Bar, and then press Windows Key + Right Arrow. That will snap the window to the right side of the screen.

  5. David Piscopo Reply

    The Windows 7 trick of Windows Key + Right Arrow key does not always work. One way to get the old (XP, Vista behavoir) is to hold down the shift key whilst right mouse clicking. Check it out.

  6. Randy Reply

    one thing related to this that might help.

    I used the trick to shift+right click and then get the move cursor, but the window I wanted to move was completely off screen, and the move cursor would disappear. INSTEAD OF USING THE MOUSE WHEN YOU GET THE MOVE CURSOR, USE THE ARROW KEYS IN THE DIRECTION YOU WANT.

  7. Jake Reply

    All good suggestions, the only thing I can add, is that after you have clicked “move” you only have to tap an arrow key (say left for example) to “bind” the mouse to the movement of the window, then you can move the mouse to reposition with window without having to move it entirely with the keyboard.

  8. Steve Reply

    Windows 7 does not always like the shift-right click to activate a move, I usually change the display properties to a smaller view setting, select the item that is newly visible, then change the display back to your liking.

  9. Rick Reply

    Windows Key + Right Arrow. thing worked then I had to go to display settings and change monitor settings . Windows are back .In Windows 7 To change display settings go to control panel and click the display icon . then on the left change display settings choose display # 1 and save settings . Everthing should be back to normal.

  10. Hurric Reply

    thank you for the write up. MS yet managed to take something super simple and make a mess out of it. Such a stupid design.

  11. emily Reply

    I have an off-screen dialog window that i can’t access in Adobe Illustrator. No matter what I do, I can’t get it back on the screen, I’ve tried everything, help! I’m using Windows 7

  12. James Culigan Reply

    Thanks for the tip – this has been driving me crazy for months.

  13. m. stroman Reply

    All I can say is thank you! The disappearing window problem has been plaguing me for days and I am glad you gave me a workable solution.

  14. kaupz Reply

    thank you. win7 gave “Alt+Space” option also for missing Google Chrome window, but i did not know, that i have to use arrow keys, instead of mouse.
    “Shift+right click” worked also.
    but i hoped that win7 is smarter, and understands, when the second screen is disconnected or laptop undocked and then switched on.

  15. wcoenen Reply

    You can just use windows+left/right arrow to dock the application window to the side of your visible desktop.

  16. Jax Reply

    Hop over to the icon on the task bar and the snapshot of your application will show up. Move you mouse cursor to the small snapshot screen and right click the screen, choose move option, then use your left/right to move the application back to your display desktop. If “Move” was not an option, choose “Restore” first.

  17. Michael Phillips Reply

    thank you , yo have been a big help , i had a video game that popped up off the side of my screen as if it was in the center of another screen to the left, i thought it may be because i was fooling around with my duel monitor positions,..so i messed with that all day yesterday and could never get it back on screen. that is now fixed

  18. Tom S Reply

    I’m using Windows 7, and I’ve tried every trick and key combination listed here. Nothing works. My Google Talk window remains off the screen and only a fleeting moment of motion animation occurs (as if it is zooming “into” its button on the taskbar) every other time I click it. I have pressed shift-right click. I see the menu that says restore/minimize/maximize/close, but the move option never appears on that list–Yes, even if I have chosen “restore” first. In addition, the Windows+arrow button combo does absolutely nothing, in any mode. The only way to get my window back is to restart the computer each time this happens (and it usually happens when going from the laptop’s higher native resolution (1920 x 1080), to the desk monitor’s (1280 x 1024) (Yes, fewer pixels, but they’re larger, and thus easier to read, and thus docking is worthwhile).

  19. paul fisher Reply

    was using mozilla, power failure, now it is the only program to open in the taskbar and I can’t move or maximize to full screen….after reading your article, still stuck……help

  20. Mike Solinas Reply

    Found this page with a Google search. Famtastic. Helped me out.

    Thanks so much!

  21. Brian Craigie Reply

    That’s doing it the hard way.

    Click on the item in the task bar, then press Windows Key + Shift + Left Arrow key. It will move your window from the right monitor back to the left monitor.
    To move the opposite way, use Win + Shift + Right Arrow.

  22. Macilles Reply

    Hover over the program’s icon in the taskbar, then right-click the Thumbnail of the window you wish to move.

    Select Maximize, now click the window’s title bar and drag it.

    The window should resize to what it was before and you can place it anywhere (but best keep it on the screen this time :P)

  23. Kerosene Reply

    Holy crap. I’ve been using Windows since 3.x and have this problem at least once a year.
    THANK YOU!

  24. CB Reply

    Thank you for the article. The pictures were very helpful and I was able to quickly resolve the issue.

  25. iik Reply

    one of the many examples when MS make the things more difficult that needed…
    Even worst some of the good functionality in Xp is lost in 7.

  26. Esther Wheeler Reply

    This hint on moving off-screen windows in Windows 7 really saved my bacon – I just started a new job and used XP previously. Somehow repeatedly trying the old way to move the window just wasn’t working!

  27. Deepak Reply

    Thanks a lot Leo, you solved one hell of problem for me.

  28. Patrick Reply

    Great info, saved my day… you do wonder why so many useful features from XP have become such a hassle in 7 …maybe they want us to switch to Mac?

  29. Elnora Reply

    Thank you so, so much for this article and the related ones! My iTunes window was so tall that I couldn’t see the bottom and couldn’t grab a corner to re-size it. Seems like a small thing, but it was driving me nuts. Now it’s fixed. Thanks so much…

  30. Fab Reply

    ohhhhhhhhhh thankssss a looooooooot , i needed notepad and its justt HIDEEE’s but after thiss its got FIXED thank you a looooooot Leo :) ….

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