How to Manage Multiple Monitors with Aero Snap
Remember back when you only had one monitor? Remember how frustrating it was to have a bunch of windows all jumbled on top of each other so you had to dig for the one you wanted?
Unfortunately, that can still happen even if you have 8 monitors like I do. I’ve learned to be careful about how I organize them, or I’ll still end up with a big mess – 8 times the mess, in fact!
Fortunately, Microsoft saw this happening and came up with a way to help us out with our need to avoid messy monitors. It’s a feature called Aero Snap. Today’s video will show you how to use it.
Short Cuts for Maximize and Minimize
TO MAXIMIZE: Drag the title bar of a window to the top of the screen to make it go full-screen.
TO UN-MAXIMIZE: Drag the title bar back down toward the middle of the screen to return a window to its previous size.
KEYBOARD SHORTCUT: Windows+UpArrow and Windows+DownArrow toggles full screen on and off, respectively.
TO MINIMIZE: Windows+DownArrow minimizes one of your windows into the toolbar. BUT (and this can be a biggie) to get it back, you have to find the appropriate icon in the toolbar.
Windows chooses what to minimize in reverse order of window launches. So if the last window you launched was Word, that one will be the first window to be minimized by Windows+DownArrow.
I guess this might be handy if you see someone coming and want to minimize all your windows in a hurry. Otherwise, I’m not sure I’d bother with it.
Shortcut for Arranging Windows
KEYBOARD SHORTCUT: Use Windows+LeftArrow or Windows+RightArrow to move a window through your bank of screens in a cycle.
Let’s say you’re using Windows+RightArrow. Your window moves to the right in this sequence:
- Snap to right half of starting screen (for the example, let’s say this is Screen 1)
- Snap to left half of next screen (so Screen 2)
- Be unsnapped somewhere in the middle of Screen 2
- Snap to the right half of Screen 2
- Snap to the left half of the next screen (so Screen 3)
This process can save a lot of time and aggravation over dragging windows across 3 or 4 screens with your mouse.
Recovering Lost Windows and More
Aero Snap works even if you turn a monitor off or if you’ve moved a window almost completely off the edge and can’t seem to pull it back with the mouse. Or have you ever lost a window underneath the task bar? (You can see it, but you can’t touch it.)
Just get focus back on the ‘lost’ window by clicking the appropriate icon in the task bar. Then use Windows+LeftArrow or Windows+RightArrow to get it back where you want it.
Of course, monitor-real-estate-challenged people use this to put windows side-by-side. This may or may not apply to you.
Sometimes, when you move a window into the right or left edge of the screen, Windows will automatically snap the window for you. But this doesn’t always happen. It seems to be a function of speed of movement plus how many times you’ve unsnapped after an auto-snap. One of those Microsoft Mysteries.
Also, I should warn you that Aero Snap might not work with some programs that have custom window behaviors.
Disabling Aero Snap
Finally, I know there are some of you who will find Aero Snap to be just plain annoying (and, believe me, I get that). People seem to either love it or hate it. If you’re a hater, here’s how to disable it.
Go to Control Panel > Ease of Access Center > Change how your mouse works (Windows 7) or Make the mouse easier to use (Windows 8). Click the box next to ‘Prevent windows from being automatically arranged…’ Now you’re free of Aero-Snap.
Of course, if you turn it off and then miss it, you can go back to this same place and uncheck the box to get it back.
We hope today’s Quick Tip helped you. If you found this helpful, you’ll want to check out the other computer How-To’s I’ve created on this page. You can always call us if you have questions: 800-387-5250