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In Windows 8, you can "snap" two apps next to each other, and one of those apps can be the legacy Windows desktop environment. A convenient application for this (or so I thought) would be to snap a chat client, small browser, or other app while watching content in full-screen on the desktop.

The problem with this is that full screen desktop applications will take over the entire screen, even if the desktop is snapped to only occupy 3/4th of the display.

What I would like is some way to force "full screen" desktop apps to only cover the snapped desktop area, and to truly go full screen if the desktop is snapped to full-width. Is there some way to configure this?

If that didn't make sense, let me illustrate with pictures:

Desktop in snapped view with SU chat in mini-browser:


What happens when you click "full screen":

full screen

What I want to happen when I click "full screen" (note this is digitally altered, not a real screenshot)

full screen snapped

Just to clarify, I'm using YouTube as an example, but I'd like to be able to do this for any program that goes full-screen.

share|improve this question
Good question. I think it may defeat most programs' notion of a full screen, meaning that they do not see the snapped frames as the screen, merely a constraint for the application window dimensions. – Henning Klevjer Oct 20 '12 at 7:24
@HenningKlevjer true, but if I want it to be full screen, I can always close the snapped app on the side. It would be nice if there were a way for Windows to basically tell the application "yo, this screen is now 1024x768, OK? Great, go be full screen over there now!" As long as it's invisible to the application, I expect it would work fine. I'm just not sure if there is such a way. – nhinkle Oct 20 '12 at 7:26
The exception would be if it needed DirectX access (and possibly OpenGL) access in full-screen, like for games. – nhinkle Oct 20 '12 at 7:26
Absolutely! But it sounds like a mess-up-the-drivers kind of deal ;) (whoops, added my comment as answer) – Henning Klevjer Oct 20 '12 at 7:28
@HenningKlevjer agreed, there would probably be some hurdles to overcome, which may be why this is not the default behavior. Hopefully there'll be some workaround though that doesn't break things too badly! – nhinkle Oct 20 '12 at 7:29

If all you require is to watch youtube videos, you can follow this recipe:

  1. Enter this URI in your browser and remove as much as possible of the unimportant contents of the window (address bar, bookmarks, etc.): data:text/html;,<iframe class="youtube-player" type="text/html" width="800" height="600" src="" frameborder="0"> </iframe>
  2. Adjust the width and height attributes to perfect the screen size.
  3. Change the youtube video ID at the end of the src, after /embed/.
  4. Enjoy
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cool..In addition one can have some JavaScript bookmark to automate the process of extracting the scr and open new tab without any need to type anything manually. – Ankit Mishra Oct 20 '12 at 11:19
That's a neat trick for YouTube, thanks! I would like a solution that works for any full-screen program, but this is a cool tip. – nhinkle Oct 20 '12 at 16:48

This coresponds to the application's viewstate and they way the browser handles plugins. I would call this is a bug in the software because it doesn't change a parameter called the viewstate as outlined here.

The browser should query Windows for the current viewstate and make the necissary adjustments.

The important implication is that the problem cannot be fixed without source level changes to the programs.

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An alternative solution would be to open the video via the embedded video link.

  1. Replace watch?v= with v/ in the address bar and hit Enter

    To make the embedded player behave the same as the fullscreen mode, add the following parameters at the end of the URL: ?showinfo=0&autoplay=1&autohide=1

  2. Then focus the address bar again and press F11 to hide the browser UI and taskbar
    (not sure if this behaves correctly with the snapped desktop)

You can also save the following as a bookmark, which will then do the job for you:


share|improve this answer
This doesn't work. Pressing F11 puts the browser into full screen mode, which covers the whole screen - exactly the problem I'm trying to avoid. – nhinkle Oct 21 '12 at 9:16
@nhinkle As I said in my answer, I wasn't quite sure if F11 behaves accordingly. Apart from that, have you even tried the bookmark solution ? – asdf Oct 21 '12 at 10:31
It's a moot point - this solution doesn't really achieve what I want to do. It half-way works for YouTube videos, and doesn't work for anything else. – nhinkle Oct 21 '12 at 17:09
@nhinkle That's why I called it an alternative solution. I'm just wondering why Henning's answer recieves upvotes although it's basically the same as mine, just more complicated. – asdf Oct 21 '12 at 17:48

The free WinMaxinumize application is supposed to address this problem, using a hotkey to expand the active window over all unused desktop space.

A descriptive write-up is provided in this ghacks article.

(Not having Windows 8, I cannot test.)

share|improve this answer
Interesting find, but doesn't seem to solve the problem at hand. I tested it on Windows 8 with a snapped app on the side. It properly maximizes a program across the snapped desktop area, but it doesn't do anything to help with making it full-screen. All the window chrome is still there. – nhinkle Oct 27 '12 at 12:38
What happens if you make the program go full-screen, then use the WinMaxinumize hotkey? – harrymc Oct 27 '12 at 13:20
Another idea: Maybe combine this with another application such as Winsplit-Revolution or Acer Gridvista. – harrymc Oct 27 '12 at 15:03

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