One of the most frustrating things that can happen to Windows users is when you lose a program or app off the main screen. This often happens on multi-monitor displays and can drive a user nuts trying to figure out how to get back to the window they need.  In some cases, you may need to restart your PC to get it back, but now with these tricks, you’ll never have to do that again.

We’ll show you how to recover lost programs or apps in Windows with this tutorial with five handy tricks whether you use Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.  Not all tricks work in all versions of the OS, but we’ll let you know what works with what so you can always recover those lost windows, programs or apps.

See Also: Create an All Apps Shortcut in Windows 8 For Quick Access to Apps and Programs

Recover Lost Programs or Apps in Windows

Here are some ways to recover programs or apps outside the reach of your computer screen. These tricks will work in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. So, before you just restart your PC and lose your data to recover lost programs or apps, go through these steps to see which ones work for you.  We’ll highlight any trick that won’t work in a particular OS, let’s get started recovering your lost windows on your computer!

Right-click a Highlighted Window or App

The first way to recover a lost app or windows is to alt-tab to that window and then right-click the title bar if visible. You can also alt-tab to that window, then use the keyboard short “Alt + Space Bar” to access the same menu.


Click “Move.”

Now, use the keyboard arrow keys to move the app or program back to the main screen.  This will work as long as you can click on some portion of the window still on your screen.

Use the Taskbar Settings

If right-clicking a highlighted window or app doesn’t work, you can right-click on the Windows taskbar.


Click any of the following options: Cascade windows, Show windows stacked or Show windows side by side.

The apps and programs opened, regardless of position, will rearrange themselves on the main screen for you to then move to where you need them to be.  This can be used as long as the app or program is visible in the Windows Taskbar.

See Also: Use Windows Taskbar More Efficiently by Adding Quick Launch Toolbar in Windows 8

Use Windows Shortcuts

If you use the “Windows Key + L” shortcut, you can lock your computer. Unlock the computer and everything will center back on the main screen.  This works on all versions of Windows which makes it the most versatile of tools to recover lost windows on your PC.

Another keyboard shortcut is to alt-tab to the window or app, then use “Windows Key + Left Arrow or Right Arrow” to snap the window or app back to the main screen.  This is one of the quickest ways to recover lost windows.

Launch a Windows 8 App in Full Screen

This works for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

Launch any Windows 8 app in full-screen mode and then Snap the app to half the screen size or less.  If the app doesn’t use a full-screen mode, you won’t be able to use it for this trick to recover lost windows.

Now, go back to the desktop, and any app or program that found its way off the screen will be displayed on the main screen.  If this doesn’t work the first time, you may need to do it another time to recover the lost window.  Sometimes this trick work, sometimes it doesn’t.  It all depends on the apps you have installed in Windows.

Change the Screen Resolution

One of the last ways you should ever have to recover a lost window or app is to reset your screen resolution. If none of the above methods works for you, this may be your last-ditch effort to recover a window or app off-screen.  This is your last ditch effort before restarting a PC to recover lost windows and should be avoided whenever possible by using some of the other tricks and tips above.

Right-click anywhere on your Windows desktop.


Then, click “Screen Resolution.”


Change the resolution to anything, it doesn’t matter what setting you choose.

Click “Apply,” let the changes take place, and then head back and revert the screen resolution to what it should be.

This’ll reset everything on your main screen, including lost windows and apps.  You may have to move apps, program, shortcuts and Sticky Notes back to where they belong after doing this, but at least you’ll have recovered your lost windows.


Recovering a lost window or app doesn’t have to be frustrating any longer. With the above tricks, you should be able to get that pesky window back in your sights in no time. While restarting your PC will often do the trick and fix those lost windows by closing them entirely, if you’re working on something important you may lose it because of restarting.  Using the five above methods may be the easiest way to recover a lost window, app or program and save the frustration of losing data all at the same time.

Do you have any tips or tricks for recovering a lost app or window? Any secrets for beating this frustration?  Share them with us in the comments below!