How-To: Saving Window Position (XP, Dual Monitor)

dual monitors For those with multi-monitor setups running Windows XP, you’ve probably run into the situation where whenever you launch a specific application it launches on the "wrong monitor". Sure, a reboot is a quick fix for this but you obviously don’t want to do this every time you want program windows to appear in their proper places.

Saving your last known window position is easy in XP if you do the following.

1. Launch the app. Yes, it will go to the "wrong monitor" as usual, but that’s okay.

2. Put the program into a "windowed" state (meaning not maximized).

3. Drag the window to the monitor where you want it to appear when launched.

4. Hold SHIFT and click the close button at the top right.

5. Re-launch the app. It should appear on the "correct" monitor this time.

Holding SHIFT and clicking the close button saves the window position of the app you just closed.

Why does this happen?

Here’s an example situation of what makes an app always launch on the "wrong monitor":

  1. You launch an app and drag it to monitor 2.
  2. You then launch a full-screen game that changes the resolution of both monitors.

When you launch that game, Windows resets all the current window positions to suit. If you have an app on monitor 2, Windows deems "Okay, this is where this app is supposed to be" and will re-launch it there each time you close and restart it until next boot.

To avoid this situation:

Minimize your open application windows before launching a full-screen game that changes resolution, or purposely run your game in the native resolution for monitor 1 (if the resolution isn’t reset, the window positions aren’t reset either).

Comments

  1. Nice tip! Does this work on Vista by any chance?

  2. Lorne Babcock Sr. says:

    Lots of trouble for little gain or in fact zero gain. Get a program called UltraMon. The program will handle eight monitors. No need to go through the foolishness of shutting down your monitor ad infinitum ad nauseam. I have been using dual monitors for years and I would not be without UltraMon.

    • There is a gain – you save 40 bucks. Ultramon requires a purchased license. No thanks.

    • Karl Browning says:

      Why should you spend money to solve a very minor annoyance? The free way usually works. Another way that works is to maximize the window on the monitor you want it to be in and then close it. Windows will remember it the next time.

  3. What about system related windows like Open File Dialog boxes? Moving photoshop to the 2nd monitor and keeping it there is easy, but certain windows that photoshop generates always appear on the first monitor.

  4. Thanks so much for this. Just bought a Cintiq and this was bothering me a lot.

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