- 1 How to Bring a Window Back on Screen with the Shift and Arrow Keys
- 2 How to Move a Window that is Off-Screen with the Windows and Arrow Keys
- 3 How to Move an Invisible Window with the Mouse or Arrow Keys
- 4 How to Change Your Screen Resolution to Find a Lost Window
- 5 How to Unhide Windows with the Desktop Toggle Shortcut
- 6 FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Moving Off-Screen Windows
- 7 Extra: How to Disable Window Snapping in Windows 11
- 8 Extra: How to Hide or Show Icons in the Taskbar Corner Overflow Menu
- 9 Extra: How to Restart Explorer.exe to Fix Taskbar Issues
For various reasons, applications can start with their window stuck off screen where you can’t move or interact with it. This behavior can persist even after you restart your PC, creating a very frustrating experience. In this guide, we’ll show you how to move a window that is off-screen so you can get back to using it as normal.
There are various ways to move a window from off-screen in Windows 11. You can use keyboard shortcuts, interact with it via your taskbar, or adjust your windows resolution until it appears again.
We’ll be showing you several methods today so that you can find the one that works for you. Let’s start with how to move a window that is off-screen with keyboard shortcuts:
How to Bring a Window Back on Screen with the Shift and Arrow Keys
This method is particularly useful when you need a quick and straightforward solution to retrieve an off-screen window without the need for mouse interaction. By utilizing the Shift key in combination with the arrow keys, you can effortlessly navigate the selected window back into view. This approach is ideal for situations where the window is just out of sight and requires precise, incremental adjustments to reposition it on your screen.
- Initiate Window Movement
Shift + right-click the application’s taskbar icon and select “Move“.
- Adjust the Window Position
Utilize the arrow keys to reposition the window into view.
How to Move a Window that is Off-Screen with the Windows and Arrow Keys
Leveraging the built-in window snapping feature of Windows, this technique allows for a more dynamic adjustment of off-screen windows. By pressing the Windows key along with the arrow keys, you can snap the window to different sections of your screen, making it an effective method for quickly reorganizing your workspace. This method is particularly useful for users who frequently work with multiple applications and need to maintain an organized desktop environment.
- Click the program’s icon in your taskbar and press “Windows + arrow key”
Naturally, you should press the right arrow if the window is stuck to the left of your key and the left arrow if it’s on the other side.
How to Move an Invisible Window with the Mouse or Arrow Keys
When a window is not just off-screen but seemingly invisible, this method provides a versatile solution by offering both mouse and keyboard options to retrieve it. Whether you prefer the tactile feedback of a mouse or the precision of keyboard arrows, this approach ensures you can bring back any elusive window. It’s especially handy in instances where the window has minimized to an extreme corner or is stuck in an awkward position that other methods can’t rectify.
- Activate Window Moving
Hover over the program icon, right-click its preview and select “Move”. A cross-shaped mouse cursor will appear on your screen, which you can use to adjust your window position.
- OR: Relocate Window with Arrow Keys
Use the arrow keys to adjust the window’s position to the visible area of the Windows desktop.
How to Change Your Screen Resolution to Find a Lost Window
Sometimes, a change in screen resolution can cause windows to scatter off-screen, particularly when switching between different monitors or display settings. By adjusting your screen resolution, you can coax these rogue windows back into view, making it an effective strategy for those dealing with resolution-related display issues. This method is best suited for situations where windows are lost following a change in the display environment, such as after disconnecting an external monitor or switching to a projector.
- Open Display Settings
Right-click the desktop and select “Display settings“.
- Modify Resolution
Use the “Display resolution” dropdown to select a suitable resolution, potentially lower than your current setting.
- Choose a resolution that’s equal to or lower than your screen
Once the window appears on screen, drag it to the center and then restore your resolution to its original setting.
How to Unhide Windows with the Desktop Toggle Shortcut
It doesn’t always work, but sometimes you can restore a lost window by hiding and unhiding all of your windows. To do this, we can utilize the shortcut that shows your desktop.
Press Windows + D on your keyboard
This will hide all your windows. Press it again to restore them to full size and position.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Moving Off-Screen Windows
What should I do if the “Move” option is grayed out when I right-click the taskbar icon?
If the “Move” option is grayed out, it’s likely because the application window is minimized or not in a state that allows movement. First, try to restore the window by clicking on its icon in the taskbar. If that doesn’t work, maximize the window if possible, and then attempt to use the “Move” option again. In some cases, applications might not support the standard move functionality, in which case you might need to explore alternative methods such as adjusting screen resolutions or using keyboard shortcuts.
Can these methods be used to move multiple off-screen windows simultaneously?
The methods described are primarily designed for individual window management. To move multiple windows at once, you would need to repeat the process for each window. However, for managing multiple windows efficiently, consider using window management software that offers features like snapping multiple windows into predefined positions, which can be particularly useful in multi-monitor setups.
What if changing the screen resolution doesn’t bring back the off-screen window?
If adjusting the screen resolution doesn’t work, it’s possible the window is stuck in a state or position that these adjustments don’t affect. In such cases, try other methods like keyboard shortcuts (e.g., Alt + Space then M for the move option, followed by arrow keys) or restarting the application. For stubborn cases, disconnecting and reconnecting external monitors or changing the primary display can force windows to reposition.
How can I prevent windows from going off-screen in the future?
To minimize the risk of windows going off-screen, maintain consistent display settings, especially when switching between multiple monitors. Always “safely” disconnect external displays using the “Disconnect this display” option in Windows display settings. Consider using window management software that can automatically save and restore window positions based on your setup.
Is there a way to reset all window positions without changing the screen resolution?
Windows itself doesn’t provide a direct feature to reset all window positions without changing the resolution. However, third-party window management tools can offer this functionality, allowing you to save and restore window layouts or even automatically adjust window positions when display settings change.
What should I do if the off-screen window is a fullscreen application?
Fullscreen applications can sometimes be more challenging to move. Start by attempting to switch the application to windowed mode using Alt + Enter or similar shortcuts specific to the application. If this doesn’t work, you may need to access the application’s settings directly to change its display mode, or use task manager to end the task and restart the application in windowed mode.
Can I use these methods on a multi-monitor setup?
Yes, these methods are applicable in multi-monitor setups. Using keyboard shortcuts like Windows + Arrow keys can be particularly effective for moving windows across screens. Additionally, ensuring your display settings correctly reflect your physical monitor setup can prevent windows from going off-screen.
Why does pressing Windows + D not bring back my off-screen window?
Pressing Windows + D minimizes all windows to show the desktop and pressing it again restores them to their previous state. However, this action does not change the position of windows. If a window is off-screen, it will remain off-screen after using this shortcut. For off-screen windows, use the methods outlined in the tutorial to reposition them manually.
Can DPI scaling adjustments cause windows to move off-screen?
Yes, changing the DPI scaling can affect the size and position of windows, potentially moving them off-screen, especially when the scaling is set differently across multiple monitors. To mitigate this, ensure consistent DPI scaling settings across all displays and adjust application properties (compatibility settings) to ensure they respond correctly to DPI changes.
What if restarting explorer.exe doesn’t fix my taskbar issues?
If restarting explorer.exe doesn’t resolve your taskbar issues, consider running a system file check (SFC scan) to repair corrupted system files. Additionally, checking for Windows Updates or performing a System Restore to a point where the taskbar was functioning correctly can also help resolve deeper system issues.
How do I move a window if I’m using a laptop with a touchpad?
To move a window using a touchpad, first activate the “Move” option by right-clicking the taskbar icon or using the Alt + Space shortcut, then select “Move“. You can then use the touchpad to drag the window: press and hold one finger on the touchpad (as you would with a left mouse click) and use another finger to move the cursor, thereby dragging the window back into view.
Is there a keyboard shortcut to directly move the active window without accessing the context menu?
While there’s no direct shortcut to initiate the move function without accessing a context menu, you can use “Alt + Space” to open the window’s system menu, then press “M” to select the move option. After that, you can use the arrow keys to move the window. This method works for the active window and can be a quick alternative to mouse navigation.
What to do if none of the mentioned methods work?
If standard methods fail to retrieve the off-screen window, consider using third-party window management software that offers more advanced features for window control. Additionally, checking for any application-specific settings or preferences that might control window positioning can also be beneficial. As a last resort, reinstalling the problematic application might reset its window position settings.
Can window management software help in preventing or fixing off-screen window issues?
Yes, third-party window management software can significantly aid in preventing and fixing off-screen window issues. These tools often provide features to save window positions, automatically adjust windows when changing display setups, and force windows back onto the visible screen area. They can be particularly useful for users frequently switching between different monitor configurations.
What should I do if the window moves off-screen again after I’ve moved it back?
If a window repeatedly moves off-screen, it might indicate an issue with the application’s settings or compatibility with your display setup. Check the application’s settings for any window position options, and ensure it’s updated to the latest version. Additionally, reviewing your display settings and ensuring they’re optimized for your current setup can help prevent windows from going off-screen. If the issue persists, consider reaching out to the application’s support team for more specific guidance.
Extra: How to Disable Window Snapping in Windows 11
The snap windows feature, also known as snap assist, can either be a great aid or a great annoyance. As the setting comes enabled by default, today we’re going to show you how to disable Window snapping in Windows 11. The main reason you’d want to do this is if you already use a third-party solution for Window snapping that has more options or conflicts with the default Windows behavior. PowerToys, for example, lets you set custom window layouts for all of your apps. In our other guide, we show you how to disable window snapping in Windows (Snap Assist) using Settings, the Control Panel, and a registry entry.
Extra: How to Hide or Show Icons in the Taskbar Corner Overflow Menu
With the advent of Windows 11, there’s been a significant change in how these icons are managed. The “Taskbar Corner Overflow Menu” now houses icons that are not actively displayed on the taskbar but are still running in the background. In our other guide, we show you how to hide or show app icons in the Taskbar Corner Overflow menu to free up space or to gain quicker access to the underlying apps.
Extra: How to Restart Explorer.exe to Fix Taskbar Issues
If you can’t perform some of these fixes because your taskbar isn’t working as it should, read our guide on how to restart explorer.exe. This should remedy most problems with frozen desktops or taskbar.