Atrocious multi-monitor support

hansonjohn590

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 14, 2013
374
4
I apologize for the aggressive nature of the title, it's just this is frustrating me beyond belief. I have an a 'MacBookPro10,1', (early last year rMBP, running OSX 10.8.5) that I use for work. At my desk, my setup involves two external monitors I plugin via thunderbolt. At any given time, when I need to go to a meeting, I just unplug the cables and shut the lid.

Some of the time, it handles this transition gracefully. Most of the time it doesn't. When I open the screen, any window that was displayed on another monitor stays there. No matter what I do, I cannot make it come back unless there is a portion of it visible and I drag it. Even pressing F3 (I think it's called Mission Control), will display all the windows, but clicking on it will still display 'off screen.' This forces me do a restart (sometimes I have to do it twice) that takes time and causes me to lose work.

Am I doing something wrong or is there a setting somewhere for this? I am coming from Windows 7 so I don't know much about OSX. Will upgrading to Mavericks help? I am hesitant to update as there are some known compatibility issues with our work software.
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,707
266
Oregon
Let me say this -- Mavericks (10.9.2 currently) has much better multi-monitor support. I'd suggest trying it out. However even in Mountain Lion you shouldn't be losing windows to a phantom display. They should move to your MBP display when you disconnect the external.
 

BrettApple

macrumors 65816
Apr 3, 2010
1,098
375
Heart of the midwest
I'm on mavericks and I still loose windows occasionally.

One trick I've found to come in handy is to click on the lost app (on the dock or cmd + tab) and choose Window - zoom on the menu bar. Should bring it back to your display.

Power point is a main offender of this in my case.
 

mrcheezit

macrumors member
Jun 11, 2012
40
0
I apologize for the aggressive nature of the title, it's just this is frustrating me beyond belief. I have an a 'MacBookPro10,1', (early last year rMBP, running OSX 10.8.5) that I use for work. At my desk, my setup involves two external monitors I plugin via thunderbolt. At any given time, when I need to go to a meeting, I just unplug the cables and shut the lid.

Some of the time, it handles this transition gracefully. Most of the time it doesn't. When I open the screen, any window that was displayed on another monitor stays there. No matter what I do, I cannot make it come back unless there is a portion of it visible and I drag it. Even pressing F3 (I think it's called Mission Control), will display all the windows, but clicking on it will still display 'off screen.' This forces me do a restart (sometimes I have to do it twice) that takes time and causes me to lose work.

Am I doing something wrong or is there a setting somewhere for this? I am coming from Windows 7 so I don't know much about OSX. Will upgrading to Mavericks help? I am hesitant to update as there are some known compatibility issues with our work software.
Mavericks will definitely help out with this, in fact that's one of the 'features' of Mavericks (better monitor support).
 

Ledgem

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
1,788
544
Hawaii, USA
In my experience, it also seems to depend a bit on the program. I used to use three monitors at a time, and I found that some programs were very good about returning to the main screen when everything was disconnected, while others would either remain off-screen or would only have a few pixels on the main screen.

I haven't used the three-monitor setup since OS X 10.7, and even with OS X 10.9 I rarely use dual monitors. Thus I can't say whether OS X 10.9 makes a difference in this regard. If it doesn't, I can suggest some third-party programs to help. I use the window manager Moom ($10), which can be used to center and resize program windows with keyboard commands, as well as to shift them between monitors (also with keyboard shortcuts). Centering a program window would bring it back to the center of your screen.

An alternative is MercuryMover ($20), although I only used the demo when I really needed to get out of some tight spots with windows being stuck off-screen. I used MercuryMover before I discovered Moom; as far as I can tell, the feature parity should be the same.

I hope it helps.