Dale Dietrich
friedman: always supply your comparative advantage
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Force Vista to Remember Open Window Size, State and Location with Alt + X Button

Categories: small officeutilitiesvista
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Alt   X Button From the first day I started using Vista (Vista 64 in my case), I have been frustrated that when I close a properly positioned and sized window (such as a Windows Explorer window) Windows Vista did not remember where I last left the window on my desktop or how big it was.  So, for example, despite closing a fully opened window (see picture on left below), say, on my right screen (I have four monitors attached to my Vista machine), the next time I opened that exact same window/program, it would open as a small window on my default middle screen (see right picture below). It would not re-open where or in the state I last closed it.

Vista Small Window       Vista Small Window

I have Google-searched high and low since January of 2007 for a solution to this and did not find an answer until Paul Thurrott discussed this at the end of his Windows Weekly 68 podcast  last week. He also wrote about it on his SuperSite for Windows here.

While Paul has had the same problem as I, my solution has been much simpler than his. The solution posted by roblind in the third comment in Paul’s blog post worked for me. All I need to do is hold down the "Alt" key when left clicking the red x button to close an open window (circled in picture above).  The next time I open that widow/program, Vista now remembers exactly where I left it, and opens it to that location and at the same size as it was when I Alt+X closed it.

It’s that easy! 

As an added bonus when working with Windows Explorer, this technique will also result in Windows remembering the folder view (ie: list view, icon view etc.) you were using when you closed the window. Unfortunately it does not remember the folder layout (eg: if you have preview pain turned on or off).

If only I had known that 18 months ago I would have saved an enormous amount of frustration.

If anyone knows a keystroke or other shortcut to either save the preview pain layout setting or, even better, to quickly turn it on or off, I’d very much appreciate a solution to that conundrum!

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  • Pete

    Fantastic! I’ve been wanting this for ages! Does it work on XP as well? (I don’t have it so can’t find out)
    Pete

  • Shelly

    This fix hasn't worked for me. I too have googled this till I was blue in the face. I have read to hold down the shift key, another said the ctrl key, and now the alt key, and none have done the trick. It's very annoying to keep resizing these windows!!

  • Shelly

    This fix hasn't worked for me. I too have googled this till I was blue in the face. I have read to hold down the shift key, another said the ctrl key, and now the alt key, and none have done the trick. It's very annoying to keep resizing these windows!!

  • http://www.daleisphere.com Dale Dietrich

    Sorry to here that Shelly … as per Paul's original blog post, this seems to only work for some people. It worked for me and it continue to work for me in Windows 7 beta as well.

    This has been a problem for a long time and likely will continue to be … it's clearly not high on Microsoft's priority list!

  • http://www.daleisphere.com Dale Dietrich

    Sorry to here that Shelly … as per Paul's original blog post, this seems to only work for some people. It worked for me and it continue to work for me in Windows 7 beta as well.

    This has been a problem for a long time and likely will continue to be … it's clearly not high on Microsoft's priority list!

  • Chris

    You have no idea how much this issue has pestured in the past. I thank you many times :) You would think that it would just automatically do this by default. Thank you.

  • Chris

    You have no idea how much this issue has pestured in the past. I thank you many times :) You would think that it would just automatically do this by default. Thank you.

  • Chris

    You have no idea how much this issue has pestured in the past. I thank you many times :) You would think that it would just automatically do this by default. Thank you.