Windows utility to cause all movable windows to be represented in the taskbar?
August 28, 2009 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Is there a Windows utility that will add buttons to the taskbar for windows that normally don't get represented there?

The problem:

Open a folder. You see the taskbar button representing that folder in the taskbar. Right-click the folder and choose Properties. The properties window does not get added to the taskbar, so you can lose it behind other windows and the only way to get it back is to shuffle until you can see it.

Is there a utility that will globally cause any movable windows to be represented on the taskbar?
posted by odinsdream to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about any such utility, but I find the easiest way to find such a window again is to press WinKey+D, which brings the desktop to the front, and then show any other window using the taskbar. When you show the other window, the properties window or whatever it is will show up as well.
posted by grouse at 10:54 AM on August 28, 2009

You can often use Alt+Tab to find those Properties-style windows, although they don't always show up.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:10 AM on August 28, 2009

The type of windows you're referring to cannot be displayed in the taskbar because they are modal. In other words their parent is the Explorer window, not the desktop itself. When a modal window is created, the operating system sets a property on it which hides it from the taskbar. To my knowledge this property is only writable upon initialization, and there is no way to reset it after the window has been created.
posted by JeffK at 11:17 AM on August 28, 2009

Thanks everyone. Believe me, I'm well aware of the tricks to finding these hidden windows. I posted this question today after hunting around for a long-running Permissions propagation. I do this all day.

I'd be perfectly willing to use an alternate shell if that's what it takes.
posted by odinsdream at 12:44 PM on August 28, 2009

The keyboard shortcut is ALT+ESC to switch through all the open dialogs + windows. This gets you to those modal dialogs.

I've never seen a tool that displayed them in the system tray. You might be able to use spyxx.exe to find them, if you knew their parent windows name.
posted by Four Flavors at 1:34 PM on August 28, 2009

er, taskbar.
posted by Four Flavors at 2:55 PM on August 28, 2009

It would be very easy to write a "task manager" like app that presents, in a window, a list of every visible window and shows it, so that you can double click on any window name and make it come forward.

re JeffK's comment: the properties window is technically not modal, since it doesn't prevent access to the parent window. In fact, it's technically modeless, for that very reason.

In fact, it's not really even a child window, since it remains up if you close the originating Explorer Window.
posted by Cardinal Fang! at 3:20 AM on August 29, 2009

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