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Problem dragging windows to second display

9636 Views 16 Replies Latest reply: Feb 3, 2014 9:09 AM by mrmarks RSS
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malfalloon Calculating status...
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Aug 29, 2012 3:39 PM

I have a second display arranged on top of my macbook air display. Everything seemed fine with Lion, but with Mountain Lion only some of the windows can be dragged vertically to the second display (e.g. excel) while others stop at the menu bar (e.g. safari).


However, when I arrange the displays horizontally I have no problem with any window. I can even rearrange the second display to the top and carry the problem windows with it. But if I then drag the problem windows down to the primary display I can't move then back up again.


Is there some preference setting for these open windows that is causing this behavor? Or is this a gilich in Mountain Lion itself?

MacBook Air, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.1)
  • captfred Level 7 Level 7 (26,225 points)
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    Aug 29, 2012 3:42 PM (in response to malfalloon)

    It might be the menubar blocking it.  In System Preferences > Displays > Arrangement tab > drag the grey "menubar" to the top screen so it displays on your second monitor. 

  • captfred Level 7 Level 7 (26,225 points)
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    Aug 29, 2012 4:19 PM (in response to malfalloon)

    I guess it's one of those little quirks that needs a fix.. 


    You can tell Apple about it here:


  • Lou4321 Calculating status...
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    Aug 29, 2012 6:24 PM (in response to captfred)

    I have the same problem and submitted the following feedback today.


    How does one allow applications to be dragged "under" the menu bar to an external display arranged above the main display in Mountain Lion as works in Lion?


    I have two laptops, each hooked to an external display arranged above the main display.


    The menu bar is on the main display and I want it to stay there (because that makes it centrally located in the combined display area).


    On my MacBook Pro Retina (mid 2012) using Mountain Lion (10.8.1), I CANNOT slide an application window from the lower (main) display under the menu bar and thus onto the upper (external) display.


    On my MacBook (late 2006) upgraded to Lion (10.7.4), I CAN slide an application window from the lower (main) display under the menu bar and thus onto the upper (external) display.


    Extensive web searches have turned up some complaints about the behavior I want to achieve, but no info on how to create it.


    A thorough search did not turn up a "defaults" setting that appears applicable to changing this behavior. A search of my terminal history on the Lion machine reveals I did not issue any "defaults" commands to achieve its behavior; that seems to have always been its behavior. Ditto for the Mountain Lion machine.


    This problem occurs irrespective of the application. It happens for Safari, Chrome, TextEdit, etc.


    The older machine has had its OS upgraded twice. I suspect this (good) behavior may have been inherited from one of the older versions. The new machine came natively with Mountain Lion and has thus never experienced an upgrade. Or the problem is simply new to Mountain Lion.


    I want to leave the menu bar on the lower display to reduce my "mouse miles"; it is more central there, appearing as it does in the middle of the combined display area. I know I could move the menu bar to the top of the upper display but that puts it too far from the dock and my primary, lower work area.


    This works fine with the external display to the left or right or below the main display; the problem is clearly the menu bar itself. I bet the developers did most of their extended display testing with monitors to the left or right of the main display. For many years I myself was unaware the Arrangement with the external above or below the main display was possible.


    By the way, the following works, up to a point. Start with a side-by-side monitor configuration and then move a window to the external display. Then re-Arrange, putting the external monitor above the main monitor. You can then slide the window up down and "behind" the menu bar as long as the title bar of that window does not go completely below the menu bar. The moment it goes fully below the menu bar, it is "trapped" and cannot go back up through the menu bar, which blocks it.

  • captfred Level 7 Level 7 (26,225 points)
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    Aug 29, 2012 7:03 PM (in response to malfalloon)

    I did some testing and was able to drag safari through the bar to the upper screen However,  Safari's screen size must be smaller so it doesn't get hung up on the "edges".  In other words, if the screen width was smaller, it would slide up where the edges of the two screens meet.



  • captfred Level 7 Level 7 (26,225 points)
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    Aug 29, 2012 7:36 PM (in response to malfalloon)

    Good deal, glad to help. 

  • Lou4321 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 29, 2012 8:39 PM (in response to malfalloon)

    Totally correct! If you just keep dragging longer than would seem necessary, it works. Thanks malfoon and captfred!


    But yes, it would be better to iron this out. Although maybe the behavior is intentional, to prevent users from dropping an overly-tall window onto the second display and then having part of it sit under the menu bar. But I suspect a bug. Having the feedback of seeing the window slide underneath would be natural, and occurs in Lion.


    @captfred: I didn't see any different behavior with super-narrow windows, but your success got us off the dime and it was a good thought: the Retina display is 2880 pixels wide and my external only 1280. But I can't push even a 300 pixel wide window immediately past the menu bar. Using malfoon's method, though, (keeping dragging while waiting for the bottom of the window to clear the menu bar--even though it doesn't appear on the second display during all that time), I can move even an overly-wide 2000 pixel wide window onto the second display. Weird, though: I can't even re-size its height at all until I cure its excessive width by resizing that first. Maybe another bug?


    @malfoon: thanks again for the solution. On your last point: somewhere I read that some apps are built on Cocoa and some are not; the different behaviors of different apps might come from that?


    Thanks again, guys.

  • rafapple Calculating status...
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    Nov 19, 2012 4:38 PM (in response to malfalloon)

    In addition to the good advice here, if you're like me and want to maintain your macbook as the primary workspace, there is a free app called SecondBar that will solve that problem.


    So moving the OSX bar to the top of the second screen will enable vertical movement. And running SecondBar will reintroduce the bar on your native display.

  • predikt Calculating status...
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    Dec 12, 2012 10:12 AM (in response to malfalloon)

    My second display positioned above my Macbook air was larger than my laptop. The problem window was Iterm2 and what I had to do was resize the Iterm2 window horizontally a smaller width (around half of my laptop screen width) then I was able to drag the window up to my second display positioned above.


    Hope this helps someone. A little frustrating that it "just doesn't work" if the window is full width on my Macbook Air and then drag up.

  • ironskirt Calculating status...
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    May 23, 2013 2:01 PM (in response to malfalloon)

    Got the solution...


    Grab the window in question in the left top corner, close to the min/max/hide buttons...


    Drag to the right top corner of the screen...


    Window should pop up to the top screen...



    Basically, you are going around the top menu bar.  Must grab the window close to the left edge...

  • jlorenz1 Calculating status...
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    Jun 20, 2013 1:18 PM (in response to malfalloon)

    I was having this problem as well, currenly on 10.8.4. I have been using the drag up until the window snaps to the upper screen, Thanks malfoon and captfred!  But Here is another solution that is working for me.


    After I have the second monitor connected to my laptop. If I logout and log back in then all my applications will allow me to drag up as before and even allow half a window on each monitor. Not sure why anyone would want that but at least the dragging up to the second monitor is like it was before.

  • RRov Calculating status...
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    Jul 26, 2013 12:46 AM (in response to jlorenz1)

    Thanks jlorenz1, great workaround...

    Apple guys have to work this issue out eventualy...



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