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I have a two monitor setup and I always use both monitors. During my day, I tend to distribute the programs I'm working with over the two monitors.

When I take a break or go away for a longer period of time, I turn off both monitors (but they remain connected). When I return and turn on the monitors, all my programs have moved to my primary display.

It's not a big issue, but sometimes I'm running several long-running tasks at once, and I distribute the screens so I can see at a glance how far along those processes are. When I turn the monitors off and back on, one group of processes is inevitably positioned on top of the other group...

Is there a way in Windows 10 to keep all programs where they are, whether or not the monitor is turned on or off?

I've found several similar questions, but none which have any (real) answers besides "it cannot be done". However, when I was using Windows 7 I never had this problem, and on my work machine (Windows 10) the behaviour of my monitors is as I expected it to be: if I turn off my monitor, all programs stay where they are, so I'm guessing there must be some kind of setting...

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    It's probably the way the monitor interacts with your video card in the computer; if turning off the monitor turns off current to the interface, it's probably appearing to the computer as though you've disconnected the monitor. Consider using a blank screen saver and/or just locking the computer (Windows-L) instead of turning the monitors off. Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 17:04
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    It depends on the display port. If your port uses DisplayPort, see this post.
    – harrymc
    Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 17:07
  • @JeffZeitlin Thanks for the suggestion, but as I already mentioned in my comment to Hannu's answer, I'd rather turn the screens completely off to avoid them lighting up an otherwise dark room.
    – Deekay
    Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 20:40
  • @harrymc Thanks, but both monitors use HDMI.
    – Deekay
    Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 20:41
  • Just an idea, it probably does the same, but what if instead of turning their power off you unplug their hdmi (just for testing)?
    – Sylvain
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 16:04

1 Answer 1

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You could use PersistentWindows: it saves state, position and zorder of all running applications windows on your monitors

I tested it on Windows 7 64 - but it seems to work on recent releases (like Windows 10).

It's free and open-source. Doesn't need an installation, unzip and run it:

https://github.com/kangyu-california/PersistentWindows/releases

When run it show a "P" icon in your tray.

Set up all your applications as you like them.

It's VERY easy to use:

  • Simply left click once on the icon, it'll save the configuration "0" by default (you could set up multiple configurations).
  • When saved, and especially if your applications have moved (like as in the question you've posted), left click again on this icon, and it restores all applications as saved.

In short, one click and you restore everything on your monitors.

The interesting feature for you is the "Capture snapshot" one.

Read well:

https://github.com/kangyu-california/PersistentWindows

And there are many hidden features/options you could also have use of:

https://github.com/kangyu-california/PersistentWindows/blob/master/Help.md0

Sorry I don't know if I should've edited the deleted reply or create a new one, so I guess I did both.

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  • Thank you for the suggestion, it seems very handy! I'll be sure to check it out.
    – Deekay
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 15:01

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