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When I start explorer, it starts in a reduced window (not minimized but smaller, not in full screen).

How can I get it maximized when I start it ? When I close it, it's already maximized.

In general, how you do it with all applications ?

What I have to do if I want word, excel or anything else started with a half-screen size ?

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See the free Eusing Auto Window Manager:

Auto Window Manager automatically manages any window you specify. For instance, some web browsers open up in a non-maximized window. Using Auto Window Manager, you can set those windows to automatically maximize (minimize, normal, minimize to tray, stay on top) every time they opened. It works with almost any program, including web browsers, Notepad, etc. Auto Window Manager stays running in the system tray, so it stays out of your way while it works.

A more feature-rich product is Actual Window Manager.
It's shareware at $49.95 with free trial of 60 days.

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If you create the shortcut to the application, in its Properties there is a setting (Run) that allows you to choose between starting minimized, maximized etc.

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