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Disable Aero Snap (the Mouse Drag Window Arranging Feature in Windows 7)

One of the hot new features in Windows 7 is the improved window management functions… you can simply drag a window to the top or sides of the screen, and it will be maximized or resized to take up only half of the screen.

The only problem is that some people like to drag windows partially off the screen, a very useful technique when you only need to see the edge of a window… but in Windows 7 it will resize the window to fill half the screen. So how do we disable it?

Here’s a screenshot of what we’re talking about… for more screenshots see our review of the Windows 7 beta release.

Windows 7 Mouse Drag Arrange 

Disabling this feature will also disable dragging to the top of the screen, but you could turn it on or off as needed.

Disabling Mouse Window Drag Arranging

Open up your Control Panel, and then go to the Ease of Access center. From there, click on “Make the mouse easier to use”…

Windows 7 Ease of Access

And then remove the checkbox for “Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen”, and then click the Apply button to actually save the setting.

Windows 7 Ease of Access Mouse Panel

I personally like this feature so I probably won’t be turning it off, but it’s nice to know it’s configurable.

Editor’s Note: We’ve been covering Windows 7 quite a bit, but don’t worry, we aren’t going to stop writing about other topics.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/19/09

Comments (62)

  1. Larry

    It is of note that this also disables using the Windows key with the corresponding arrow keys to perform the same function (e.g. Windows Key + Left arrow = no longer docks to the right).

  2. Chris

    Does Windows 7 allow you to override the feature (without switching it off) by holding down the CTRL or ALT key whilst performing the drag?

    If so, you would then get the best of both worlds.

  3. Joe

    It is a very useful feature, but almost completely worthless on multiple monitors. You can only get it to work on the outside edges, and not on the side that borders the other monitor

  4. Larry

    @ Joe – Actually, using the keyboard shortcuts, you could place the window on the monitor you want it on (with the mouse or using Windows Key+Left/Right Arrow) and then use Windows Key+Left/Right/Up to “dock” it where you want it on that monitor.

  5. Larry

    @ myself – I meant to say (…using Windows Key+SHIFT+Left/Right Arrow)

  6. Tim

    Is there an app that adds this or similar functionality to older Windows versions (XP)?

  7. Frank

    @Tim:
    Yes, there is. It’s called AeroSnap. You can get it here:

    http://www.aerosnap.de/index_eng.htm

    @The Geek:
    Actually this is called Aero Snap. You got me a little confused when I went to your page. Hope you update your article.

  8. The Geek

    @Frank

    Good point, I don’t know why I didn’t include that… just updated the article.

  9. Jimbo
  10. smith lee

    can i disable this feature for speific window, like chris said: to press ctrl or alt key when dragging window?

    thanks.

  11. Joe

    THANK YOU for showing how to turn of this ANNOYING “feature”. This should be OFF by default…

  12. Corey

    Thanks! I like the snap with dual monitors, having a app running on one screen and multiple on the other, opening a webpage on half the screen is nice. However it can be annoying when you want to run a fullscreen app in window mode, the title bar pushes the viewable area off the screen a bit. Disabling the window snap allowed me to position it off the screen a bit :D

  13. Ian

    @Larry thanks for pointing out the windows shortcuts.

    You can hide the window off the side of the screen as long as the mouse pointer doesn’t hit the side. So grab the window by the far side (from the screen edge you want to hide it on) of the title bar and you can hide as much of it as you’d need.

  14. Narasimha Reddy

    is ther any way to disable this feature for speific window? either programmatically or manually ?

  15. mhenry1384

    I can’t stand aero snap, but I miss the hotkeys when you turn it off. You should add a suggestion for a good lightweight 3rd party app to add back the hotkeys? (specifically Win+down for minimize).

  16. cadillackid

    i had wondered if such an annoying feature could be turned off. i got tired of resizing windows and often liked moving windows aside to work on other ones. its like when you have 5 or 10 windows open its so nice to shove some of them half way off the screen to see other ones you want to work with momentarily. maybe this feature works for people that only have two things on their screen but im not one of those people most of the time.

  17. cadillackid

    thankyou mr. how to geek whomever you are.

  18. Karen

    thank you so much for this article, i have been searching an answer to this question forever as the adjust affected my gaming on league of legends but now its fine!!! thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. bill

    Thanks, a very annoying ‘feature’ removed!

  20. Kris

    Thank you so much, i hated the feature. I’ve been looking all over the web for a solution xD.

  21. Pat

    Thank you! Finally a way to remove the most annoying Windows feature ever!

  22. Calvin

    Thanks for the tip. I HATE this feature.. I like Win7 but it drives me bananas when the OS/gui does things to.. “Help” me.

  23. LadyKenobi

    You are fantastic. I don’t think The Microsoft Powers That Be considered writers who are also simultaneously tutoring, streaming radio, working on an article, entering grades (an activity which requires sometimes 3 windows open at a time)…

    This is such an enormous help. Thank you very much.

  24. kermi

    If you don’t drag the mouse cursor to the edge of the monitor, Aero snap won’t change your window size. So you still can drag windows outside the screen..

  25. FINN

    FINN

    I have a Win 7 problem with dual monitors. I like to play a videos or TV (via flash player) on #2 monitor in full mode while working on #1 monitor. Win 7 minimizes the video on #2 monitor when cursor touches #1. Please forward a solution as the aero snap seems to be a different problem.

  26. buster

    I only want to remove the Aero Snap, but when I disable it, all other hotkeys such as Win+Down, Left, Right and many more are also disabled. Is there a way to bypass this? I want to retain these hotkeys only, but not the Aero Snap.

  27. farmers

    Thanks for the advice! I too find this ‘feature’ so annoying, I’m used to dragging windows around the screen, and it annoys the hell out of me when I ‘forget’ and hit the top or side of the screen and the window changes. If I want the window there I can put it there myself quite easily thank you!

    I knew it could be turned off, just decided to find out how. Thanks again!

  28. fd

    Thanks, it helped, there is just one mixup: “And then remove the checkbox”. You obviously need to “Check” the checkbox.

  29. James

    I think the hotkeys are useful, but the dragging of aerosnap I find annoying. The hotkeys help me move windows around very quickly so I can utilize screen real estate efficiently by moving programs to this side or that. The hotkeys would be even nicer if you could move the window in it’s current size to a corner as well WIN + Up + right = to upper right cornet, etc. I think that’s the only lacking, plus no way of being able to toggle the mouse effect without also removing the shortcut keys.

  30. NEVdD

    Thank you for the comments, I was trying to find a key to desactivate it in some cases.

    I love this feature, in dual screen it is so useful and faster to get two Windows in full screen and move them easilly.

  31. Tom22

    Thanks again for this one.. very hard to figure this thing out.

    Its really a shame that we’re going backwards with windows.. I can’t push the windows up past the top of the screen anymore? Was that too hard for them to keep ?

    I remember with the very first window’s (about 1995 ?) you could ajust the width of borders etc.. there is so much room wasted with the top bars of the windows the whole top is messed up by about a quater inch just to have the minimized buttons on one side… don’t get me started on all the space the tool bars unnecessarily take

  32. lfahlberg

    Thank-you.

  33. greg

    will this work?

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
    “WindowArrangementActive”=”0″

    cos I’m rebuilding my windows iso to get rid of all the shit and hav all the reg tweaks I want blah blah and just need to check and saw your article was all LOL LET’S NOT INCLUDE REGISTRY INFO ON THIS

    :P

  34. Scott Moore

    Thanks, that was extremely annoying. Now there are several features that are left that are equally
    annoying that I cannot seem to stop, such as automatically moving windows around, and automatically
    maximizing things.

    The real problem is that when Microsoft comes up with their latest stupid pet tricks, they enable them
    by default. Then, not only are they hard to turn off, but you have to relearn on each new version. For
    example, I still HATE “magnetic menus”, having menus follow your mouse around and flip to new menus
    and sections of menus. It makes it so that in order to find a submenu, you have to stay on the menu tabs, flipping submenus until you reach the one you want. Fall of the edge, you have to start over.

    Scott

  35. evans

    Doesn’t work in vista. Have the same problem but no way to fix.The prevent windows from is not there?

  36. alban

    Thanks I always forget that the option to turn this vile behavior off is hidden away under “Making the Mouse Easier to use.”
    I like to arrange my own windows on the screen and the way the snapper resizes and repositions them makes me live in constant fear of the edges of my own computer screen…

  37. Sapient

    Thanks for the tip. It was slightly odd to discover this is categorized as a mouse accessibility option. However, I still can’t move window titlebars past the top of the screen. When I try to do so, it just shortens the window and moves it down so that part of the titlebar is still onscreen.

  38. James Schaum

    Someone at Microsoft should invest in a brain because that default behavior is the most annoying thing to come along in years.

  39. CJ

    I really like this feature too, it’s one of my favourite features of Windows 7. When I have 20 windows open and I want to do some side by side comparing, this makes life so much easier!

    After reading some comments I assume some users might not have noticed that the snap only occurs when the cursor touches the edge of the screen. so to flick a window half of the screen is as easy as grabbing it a little off centre instead.

  40. Swift

    I wanted to know how to turn it on, and now I do :D
    Thanks for that ^^

  41. Per

    THANK YOU!!!!! this feature was driving me positively CRAZY!

  42. Mister Annoyed

    I can’ t believe anyone found this “feature” useful. Thanks, the tip saved my life, I work with multiple monitors, one vertical, one horizontal. I have to use Windows 7 because they make me, but to me, Window 7 is just the biggest computer virus in history. I have spent two weeks defeating all the annoying features and this was the last one. THANK YOU!!!

  43. someone

    thank u man
    that was nice

  44. Internet Annoyed

    Thank you!!

    But I have another problem, how do you turn off the blue grids when it comes to internet explorer/firefox? It snaps into small grids when i move them to the edge!

  45. Survival Jones

    Thank you sooooo much. Hated this feature from the start. (Just like I hate all the helpful things that Word does like re-capitalise all my latin microbe names, so I have to go and uncaplitalise them again!!!)

    I like to work with windows side by side, but one at the top and one at the bottom. This makes more sense to me than vertically side by side. Isn’t there a quick way of doing this? Horizontal side by side is just a really weird orientation!! (it seems to me!)

  46. James

    On the Windows 7 laptop that I have, it says “Change how your mouse works.” Then when you click it, it says make the mouse easier to use. Maybe that will help someone. Kay thanks.

  47. MiWorld

    Oooh, thank you so much for the help!!! I’ve just installed Windows 7 on my macbook and this annoying feature keeps terrifying me but no more

  48. Fasso

    Do you know if there is any way to disable that function in Windows 7 starter?
    Every time I uncheck the box and click “apply”, it just rechecks automatically.
    I can’t disable it.

  49. John

    LIke “FD” said, your instructions are backwards … you need to check the box, not uncheck it, to disable this annoyance.

    Thanks for the tip, anyway … it works great now that I checked the box

  50. Dave

    What an incredibly stupid, annoying ‘feature’!
    Every time there’s a new Windows version, I dread having to make it tolerable to use.
    If I wanted a quick way to full-screen a window, all I ever had to do was double-click its title bar. How does having to click there and drag it to the edge of the screen improve on that?
    They really are getting desperate to find CPU-consuming features for the OS these days! What a shame they don’t put a fraction of that effort into reducing the bloat, and eliminating the need to reboot after every update!

  51. @Dave

    AMEN DAVE! I hate rebooting all the time!

    I hated this stupid feature. If anyone likes it it’s because they don’t know how to use a computer!
    Now if I could just get rid of the annoying task bar window preview stuff!

  52. Mave

    YOU ARE MY HERO!! I HATE this feature. People here are talking about the fact that it resizes/repositions windows, etc, and for me, that’s not the real problem.

    For me the real problem is the fact that it renders all edges of an application window click-draggable. This is actually Mac OS behavior that was one of THE most annoying usability problems of Mac computers, and one of the many reasons I hate them. When I saw my Windows 7 computer doing this very same thing I almost went postal.

    The fix you’ve posted here disables that window behavior, so THANKS, thanks so much!!

  53. higgmeister

    Thank you very much for showing me how to stop this diabolical MS Windows 7 conspiracy that was driving me crazy!

    When I have fifteen to twenty windows open, and I am cross-referencing info between several of them, if I move a window I want it to do what I tell it to. Not have it suddenly do what it thinks I want just because a Microsoft product development focus group thought some other Idiot would want that.

    Higg

  54. Blaze

    No offense but i think you’re all being a bit petty. It is a feature that majority find useful. if you don’t like it turn it off. if you like it its on…just like a light switch. simple as that. But a simpler way would be to do what an earlier poster said, if you grab the window off-centre you WILL be able to drag it to another monitor. Is that so hard. Try and arrange two windows vertically equally split on the screen without this feature and see what a process it is. For crying out loud, they make it simpler for you to do things and all you want is to be stuck in the stone age.

    And yes i do know how to use a computer. For the guy who wants to turn off the taskbar preview, just go to Control panel\system\advanced system settings\performance\settings\visual effects and uncheck enable aero peek. you might have to log off and on though

  55. Richard

    Thank you so much this is the most annoying thing about windows 7, even more than the lack of confirmation messages when shutting down

  56. EJM

    Thanks for the tip.

    I also find many of the Windows 7 features too clever by half.
    I want the computer to do what I want not try to guess what I want.
    Most of its guesses are wrong.

    That’s annoying enough but it’s pretty hard to find all these switches
    when they’re hidden 4 layers deep.

    So thanks again for this web post.

  57. Alan

    Excellent at last i can get rid of this “feature”. why do MS insist on these irritants as default? 9 times in 10 its an irritant and 1 in 10 it helps. I have 10 windows arranged doing difficult work then i move a window a little bit and of it goes breaking my train of thought and stressing me out. Utter rubbish unfortunately I have to work with it. Too many other nonsense features to go into, but at last, this one will be stopped…. Hah hah hah! Made my day.

  58. palmtreegreen

    oh yeah!!!

  59. CA Girl

    @Blaze – No, we’re not being petty. This is a completely non-intuitive action that is completely superfluous and difficult to disable. How hard is it to use the maximize button? This allows YOU to be in control of your window rather than guessing that moving it to the top maximizes it. Huh?

    Why should moving a window to the top maximize it? Why not minimize it or close it? There is nothing in the human brain that equates “up” with maximization. This is just another bullshit “feature” Microsoft dreamed up to try to make things work differently, rather than better.

    And why do you assume that “a majority find useful” this bizarre artifact? I’m a seasoned computer veteran and it took me awhile to figure out what made my windows magically maximize. This “feature” is destined to piss off people who know computers and completely confuse those that don’t.

  60. rayb2001

    I REALLY like the resize to top/bottom and it fills the screen. I find this feature almost indispensable now.

    However, I always get hung up on the drag from one screen to the other and accidentally go full screen with that window. The option is all or nothing. I wish I could turn off the full-screen option but leave the others there.

    Only occasionally do I get surprised by the ‘shake’ feature. I’d turn this off if I could too.

    Again, I LOVE the resize feature and have used and like the drag-to-side to have two windows side by side.

  61. FirstPost

    “James I think the hotkeys are useful, but the dragging of aerosnap I find annoying… plus no way of being able to toggle the mouse effect without also removing the shortcut keys.”

    Try this:
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
    “DockMoving”=”0″

    It disables the mouse action but not the keyboard shortcuts. It does not affect AeroPeak or AeroShake. It also does not affect ‘maximising a window in a verticle direction only’.

  62. Don

    The worst part about this aero snap is the fact that is grabs the window about 5px away and decides on it’s own what shape to make the window..no matter what operation you are doing with the window.

    If I was moving the window and it snapped..ok fine. But when i’m RESIZING a window from small to big, and it grabs it halfway through and snaps it.. then later when I want to move that window away so I can see what’s behind it it reverts to the totally wrong size it was originally.

    This is especially annoying when you have a bunch of 800×600 or 1024×768 RDP windows open – I want them to stay the same size regardless of where they are, and I want to be able to move them around as I see fit.

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