Mac Window Positions

I started the following post back in August of 2011; Sean’s comment on my previous post prompted me to dig it up.

Now that I’m back to using a laptop full time, I’m right back to the old hassle of having my windows scatter all over the place when I connect and disconnect an external display. It looks like this is an annoyance I share with others, as there are a bunch of utilities out there that hope to solve this problem:

I evaluated a variety of options:

I can’t remember the details of each at this point, but I tried a couple of them for a week or so each (pretty sure I did both Stay and Display Maid, can’t recall on Size-Up or Optimal Layout).

After evaluating a few options, I saw the same problems consistently:

  1. While windows would be restored most of the time, they wouldn’t be restored all of the time. The difference here was better than default OS X window handling, but not that much better.
  2. There was no option to pull all apps to one desktop when plugged in to a monitor, then distribute them again when unplugged. I’m assuming this is an API/SDK limitation as this seems like a pretty obvious feature idea.

The solution I ended up with is less than ideal: let OS X handle the window distribution and learn to work on a laptop with only a single desktop. I still go back to multiple desktops if I’m going to be unplugged for a long stretch of time, but moving things back and forth between desktops is way too fiddly.

I’m certainly open to better solutions (or new ones that have come out in the last six months) – suggest away in the comments.