How to prevent Windows from rearranging your screen

How to prevent Windows from rearranging your screen

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Guide: How you can prevent Windows from rearranging your screen

This issue has existed for several years, but Microsoft is anticipated to address it in Windows 11, a free update to Windows 10.

While the issue is said to impact just computers with multiple monitors (another term for a computer screen), it also appears to affect PCs that have received monitor software driver updates. (The display communicates with Windows 10 thanks to a software driver.)

Here’s how it goes: When you get back to your computer, Windows 10 wakes up from “sleep mode” (an energy-saving feature) and looks for the monitor to “wake up.” To do so, it consults a list in Windows 10 that contains every monitor that has ever been attached to that computer. It then selects what appears to be the appropriate monitor.

If Windows 10 picks the right monitor from the list, the open windows on your screen will appear just as they did before the PC entered sleep mode. But if the operating system picks the wrong monitor, any open windows may be rearranged (resized or moved).

Unfortunately, Windows 10 seems to treat any monitor with an updated software driver as a “new” monitor. As a result, even a PC that has never used more than one monitor may have a list of several that Windows 10 can choose from – sometimes with bad results.

There are two ways you can try to fix this problem:

  • Wait for Windows 11 to be downloaded to your PC and see if the problem has been fixed. However, that may take a while. Although Windows 11 was introduced this month, Microsoft says it won’t be downloaded to all eligible PCs until mid-2022. (To see if your PC meets the requirements to run Windows 11, you can download Microsoft’s “PC Health Check” app by going to tinyurl.com/4ayc3w66). Note: While Microsoft says all your files and data should transfer to Windows 11, you should back them up before installing the new operating system.
  • Try a fix that has worked for some people. Open Control Panel, choose “device manager” and, in the resulting list, click the arrow beside “monitors.” Delete any monitor listed that’s not in use (it should have a light-colored icon or be covered by a light color.)

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