Home » Tai's FWA » How to move a dialog you can’t see (Windows)

How to move a dialog you can’t see (Windows)

This post answers issues like:

  • I cannot see my window
  • Why did my window draw off screen?
  • How do I get my window back onto my screen?
  • My window still draws on a monitor that does not exist
  • How do I move a window I can’t see?
  • Why does my window draw off screen?

Every office I’ve been at I’ve had the chance to wield two screens. It’s really helpful when you’re trying to handle many windows at once.

Something that plagues users such as I though is that any time you make a change to your screen setup, you risk falling into the trap of the off-screen window.

This comes in two flavours:

  • off screen window : a generic window can be maximized, and you see it has a preence in the task bar along with all your other windows.
  • off screen dialog : a dialog is the type of window that tells/asks you something with buttons such as “OK”, “Cancel” etc. or perform a task such as display the search fields for your program. This does not appear in the task bar, and the only way you know it exists is that your otherwise current window is dimmed.

Either way, the ideal course of action would be to get it back. But how? Your mouse can’t reach it.

Thanks to this blog post by Seraph3D, I found that we can do the following:

  1. Do whatever action makes the dialog/window activate. Do not touch your mouse once this is done.
  2. Press Alt+Spacebar
  3. You should see a drop down menu appear somewhere. Select the “Move option”. If you don’t, then, if it’s a regular window, press the Down key on your keyboard then enter; if it’s a dialog just press enter.
  4. Still without having moved the mouse, hit the Left arrow key on your keyboard. This makes the window locked to your mouse. Wherever the mouse moves to, the window will now follow!
  5. Click your mouse to undo the lock and get your mouse back.

What a relief!

EDIT: One situation in which the above instructions do not work is when using a virtual machine window such as that of VirtualBox. The steps instead are as follows:

  • hover over the taskbar button for VirtualBox – you will see the Aero peek and the window you want to grab
  • right-click the window’s aero thumbnail and select to maximize
  • the window should now be full screen, but still displaying the title bar – drag this

I believe that this works also for other regular windows. For the dialogs… the first method is still the only way.

Posted in Tai's FWA and tagged as , ,

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