I have a laptop that runs Vista Mega Ultimate Amazing for Business 64-bit.

When at work, I connect a monitor via USB (which totally rocks) to the "left" of the laptop monitor. It's identified as monitor 3.

At home, I use an old CRT monitor that sits to the right of the laptop monitor. It's monitor 2.

Monitor 1 is, of course, the inbuilt laptop monitor.

Now at home I open a window, any window, on monitor 2. Then I come to work and plug in monitor 3. Anything I had open on monitor 2 is now stuck in unretrievable land. (Actually, it's probably anything that was minimised when I left home that belonged on monitor 2 will expand back onto monitor 2, even though it's disconnected)

How can I get those windows back onto connected monitors?


10 Answers 10


You still get the icon for the app down in your taskbar, yes? If so, select the icon for the app and hit ⎇ alt+space and then M. That'll select Move for that window. Now use your keyboard arrow to move the window in the proper direction to the active monitor.

  • 13
    Once you have hit at least on arrow key to start the move, you can them use the mouse for the rest, which unless the resolution of the screen that isn't present is small is usually a bit quicker. Commented Jan 20, 2010 at 0:33
  • 1
    6 years later and this answer saved me getting fired, had to finish some work from home and my text editor was stuck on my work monitor's ghost.
    – user435193
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 0:37
  • 2
    does not works for me on windows 10 Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 7:36
  • 1
    +1 On Windows 10 64bit Pro (build version 1607) I found this to work, thank you Chris_K. Wakan Tanka, sorry that this didn't work for you, I would expect it should on the basis that I found it to work. If you have any further details about your set up please share here and that may help us to help. Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 21:32
  • 1
    I also had a problem on Win 10. It was because the window was maximized and in that case the Move option in the menu is unavailable (grayed). You need first use Restore, which makes the window normal size (not maximized) by using Alt + Space and then Enter. Then you can apply the move mentioned above.
    – eXavier
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 22:33

When you load the app/program, the focus is on the program even though you cant see it. Then use the windows-key and left/right arrow to move the window across (windows snap). Thats what I do :)

  • This only works in windows 7 and later
  • 1
    +1 for the actual solution. The solution given by by Chris_K works, but is terribly slow. Pressing a key two to four times is just waaaays faster. Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 18:17
  • Why exactly are we approving Anonymous edits? Adding a statement like "this only works for Windows 7" changes the answer drastically.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 20:23
  • This is a much better solution. Alt-Space is not nearly as efficient. Seems there should be a better way, though.
    – User51
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 15:52
  • Just need to say thanks, this was the solution to an issue with WinCC where when opening the code editor the application would 'hang', turns out the modal window would be open on my non-existent monitor. Commented May 24, 2018 at 6:56
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    Win+Up/D/R/L doesn't work for this case in Windows 10.
    – Noein
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 11:24

I'm using windows 10 and non of the above suggestions worked. However, I did manage to get all windows on the active display again by pressing ⊞ Win+d twice, which is the shortcut to show the desktop (and minimize all on screen windows). So, pressing once shows the desktop, then pressing again will open all windows again. That seemed to do the trick for some reason.

  • doesn't work on windows 10
    – rofrol
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 20:38
  • this is the only solution that worked in my case. I had the XAMPP Control panel outside the laptop monitor. I have a lenovo touch laptop with win 10 ...
    – Benjamin
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 18:51
  • 3
    Thanks a lot, that works for me on Windows 10. I don't understand why this answer is less ranked.
    – Liker777
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 23:50
  • THANK YOU. Alt+Space,M and Win+left or right did not work for me as my monitor and this solution worked! Not sure if the positioning of the external display affects this, as I have it placed above my main display.
    – MrU
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 14:14
  • Happened to me with Android Studio and ended with this solution. If I had found this post earlier... Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 10:48

For Windows 7 if you turn off one monitor you can move the application over to the current active screen by using the following quick keys (depends on which side your monitor was originally on).

Press either ⊞ Win+ or ⊞ Win+

The above is actually normally used for moving a window on the current monitor to either side of the current display but works well when a program is lost on a detached monitors desktop. This trick will bring the active screen to its current desktops left or right side half but, since there is no desktop, it moves it to the current active desktop.

If your monitor is still attached you can use ⊞ Win+⇧ Shift+ or ⊞ Win+⇧ Shift+ to move a window from screen to screen (this will not work if the monitor is not attached).

  • Knew Windows snap shortcuts, but not win shift arrows. This got me out of trouble when nothing else would work, even on disconnected monitors. (this will not work if the monitor is not attached), doesn't appear to be applicable to windows 10. Is worth trying in 2021 (on win10) at least.
    – Ryan Leach
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 20:19

I'm Using windows 10.

For some reason none of the answers here worked for me.

This worked:

  1. Put the mouse on the app icon in the taskbar.
  2. Move up to the preview of the app window.
  3. Right-click the preview and click Move (option not available if the windows is maximized -- go figure).
  4. Press and hold the appropriate arrow key to move the app window from the missing screen to the laptop screen.


  • Thanks! Also for me, none of the other solutions worked but this one did
    – fschmitt
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 8:20

You should press Windows-P and adjust connected projectors.


right click on the taskbar button of the program, select Move, then use the arrow key to move window. - this works in earlier versions of Windows but not Windows 7.


In Windows 7, maximizing the window in question and then clicking and holding from top, dragging the windows to another position worked for me.

This action restored the windows to their original size.


Alt + Spacebar to display the properties of the Window and arrow down to Move then use left or right arrow to move the Window to where you need it to be.


Go to screen resolution and where it says "change the appearance of your displays", grab your secondary monitor and move it on the other side and hit ok. When you maximize the program it will show up on your secondary monitor now.

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