Home > Computers > QuickFix: My program is running, but I can’t see the window on the desktop!

QuickFix: My program is running, but I can’t see the window on the desktop!

December 30th, 2009

Everyone has run into this problem at least once: you are running a program, and you minimize it to the task bar. Later, you try to restore the window by clicking the program on the task bar, and nothing happens.

You’re program is running, but its window has somehow moved outside the desktop area. Firefox – bless its flaming little heart – just loves to do this to me.

Since it was such an annoying problem, I managed to figure out a couple of ways to restore the “hidden” window…

The follow methods can be used to restore your missing Window. They are presented in order from the most pimped out to the least:

Method 1:

If you are using Windows 7 – and you should be – then just do this:

  1. Click the program icon on the task bar
  2. Hold down the Windows key, and press the left or right arrow key

Win-LeftArrow and Win-RightArrow are the keyboard shortcuts for a fabulous Windows 7 feature known as Aero Snap.

Aero Snap is seriously useful if you’d like to line up 2 windows side by side such that they take up the entire screen. What’s really cool is that when you “unsnap” the windows either with the mouse or with the keyboard shortcuts, they will automagically revert to their original size (and position on the desktop if you use the keyboard shortcut).

Method 2:

For all versions of Windows:

  1. Right-click the task bar itself and pick “Cascade windows” or “Show windows stacked”

That was easy! Unfortunately, then you have to rearrange all your windows, which is seriously annoying.

Method 3:

Here’s another less effective trick for all versions of Windows:

  1. Right-click the program on the taskbar, and pick “Move”. If you’re using Windows 7, hold down Shift and then right-click to get the old right-click menu instead of the new jump list menu.
  2. Use the arrow keys to move the hidden window back onto the screen

This method actually sucks, because you don’t know where your window is hidden! But when all else fails, sometimes it can save the day.

Method 4:

  1. Close the program by selecting it on the task bar and then typing Alt-F4
  2. Restart the program

This is the last resort…

So there you have it. If you have a Method 0, I’m all ears!

Happy New Year!

Computers ,


  1. KittyMau
    January 19th, 2013 at 21:59 | #1

    YAY Method 3 FTW! Thanks for the help!!

  2. Bonnie
    November 21st, 2013 at 14:14 | #2

    Method 1 totally worked for me. You saved the day! Thanks!

  3. vik
    May 23rd, 2014 at 15:55 | #3

    Worked like a charm. Thank you very much

  4. August 24th, 2014 at 13:54 | #4

    I am so thankful for your help. I tried uninstalling among other things and nothing worked. Your blog was the best. Thanks

  5. Andrea
    August 28th, 2014 at 22:26 | #5

    Thank you!!

  6. shawn
    December 5th, 2014 at 17:32 | #6

    From the bottom of my heart THANKS!!!!!!! Could not find my embroidery software, used your advice, now i am back in business!!!!!

  7. aravind
    December 9th, 2014 at 07:41 | #7

    Thank you. Method 1 worked for me. You saved me.

  8. Ilya
    January 14th, 2015 at 15:58 | #8

    Thank you! Method #3 worked for me.

  9. tommy
    March 23rd, 2015 at 00:38 | #9

    No help for me, wot running, but I can’t force to screen, I click on the windows icon, I can see it opens, but not to screen, they 3 suggestion did den work..

  10. Kevin
    August 15th, 2015 at 09:23 | #10

    Thanks Scott – I would not have figured that out in a million years! Very grateful! Cheers!

  11. Cool
    August 18th, 2015 at 17:04 | #11

    Very helpful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Niki
    December 8th, 2015 at 23:49 | #12

    I have never left comments before but this was so very helpful for my “lost” item. #1 worked for me!!

  13. nancy
    April 23rd, 2016 at 15:23 | #13

    Rockstar!!! Thank you – worked on Win 8.1.

  14. Ken Natco
    April 24th, 2016 at 20:46 | #14

    I’ve got Windows 10. I’m a guitarist and use a freeware app called “QuikChord.” It pulled the disappearing act, showing up in the taskbar, but refusing to appear on the screen. I tried using compatibility mode. I uninstalled and then reinstalled the program. Nothing worked I ended up working around the problem by running it in a virtual machine using Hyper-V. That was still rather a nuisance when I just wanted to check one guitar chord.

    I tried all of your tricks, and they all failed. Some of them do not apply to Windows 10, but you got me playing around and I discovered something that WORKS! So here is Method 0(At least for Windows 10): Right-click the program icon in the taskbar. One of the menu items will be the name of the program. Right click that. Then choose “properties.” On the property sheet that appears, one of the options is “Run:” The default setting you will see is “Normal Window.” It is a dropdown menu, so click it and choose “Maximized.” The other choice you do not want would be “Minimized.” I did this and now the program appears without any more difficulty. I don’t know why the so-call normal window wouldn’t appear, but I’m happy to say this method worked perfectly!

  15. Roger
    May 27th, 2016 at 00:04 | #15

    method 3rd +1! You are the man! Thanks!

  16. June 15th, 2016 at 19:39 | #16

    @Ken Natco
    This methode worked for me too.

  17. Tony
    June 22nd, 2016 at 03:38 | #17

    Just highlight the program and press alt-space and maximize. Easiest method.

  18. Jason H
    July 18th, 2016 at 08:20 | #18

    I tried this method

    1) Bring up Windows Task Manager
    2) Right Click on the program and select maximise
    3) Program will go full screen. Go to the Program bar and move it with your mouse. It changes to a window. Done

  19. soukat
    October 1st, 2016 at 07:18 | #19

    thanks man….the Method worked at once…I was literally stuck in this for last few days and I got the solution..Thanks again…

  20. soukat
    October 1st, 2016 at 07:19 | #20

    Method 1 and 2 worked…

  21. Dick
    October 19th, 2016 at 11:10 | #21

    You are a super-hero of the online world. Annoying stuff like this application window disappearing or (as in my current case) not responding to the ‘move’ command can drive Windows users mad. I’m an old-pro with the OS from DOS to Win10 and forget some of the stuff you noted above. Thanks for your stuff!!


  22. October 28th, 2016 at 00:06 | #22

    Very helpfull. It was only in settings need to view after I moved Using Shift key and right click with the Icon. The display view must be in single view and not on extended.

  23. October 28th, 2016 at 00:07 | #23

    Thanks a lot for the big help

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