New utility for dealing with off-screen apps – Front And Center!

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From time to time I find myself faced with a really annoying problem – a Windows application that has positioned itself offscreen. This usually happens for one of two reasons:

A bug in the software. Sometimes things go terribly wrong, and the application, for lack of a better phrase, flips out. I just had this happen last week with Firefox – it would end up above and to the left of my screen (might have been a script or add-in, I’m not sure). Another common cause is an application that writes bogus data when trying to remember its screen position for the next time it’s launched. Close it and relaunch, and bang, it’s off-screen.

Remote Desktop’ing into my multi-monitor desktop from my laptop. In that case, everything that was on the second monitor suddenly becomes off screen, and I need to move it back to the primary monitor in order to interact with it.
Now, Windows does provide a way to deal with this problem – by right-clicking on the item in the task bar, selecting Move, and using the keyboard (nicely described here). It works, but I always find it to be clunky and a bit flaky (sometimes it take a lot of keyboarding in just the right way to get the app to pop on screen). So I took a couple of hours and hacked together my own solution to the problem – a utility called “Front and Center!”

You can see a screen shot of the app here  (I tried to embed the image in this post, but for some reason its not working, not sure why).

Hopefully it’s pretty apparent what’s going on. The app enumerates all the top level windows and lists those that are offscreen, along with their coordinates and size.  Highlight it and click “Front and Center!” and it will move the app to your primary monitor.

The app requires at least the .NET Framework 2.0 be installed. The app itself requires no installation – just unzip and run.

I hacked this together pretty quick, so I’m sure it has problems. I’ve only tested with my standard (“center and right”) dual monitor setup on Vista – I may very well have done something dumb that causes problems for other configs. Drop me a line if you have problems or ideas for improvement.

You can download it here.


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