How a slowly crawling window made my day

What would you do if you screw up your girlfriend’s brother’s computer because you think you are super awesome with computers but actually aren’t?


I was hanging out at Tina’s place yesterday and Mark showed us a website that came up in our conversation on his desktop. “Here, you can see it on the TV,” he turned the TV on.

“The resolution is a little weird, but oh well,” he noted. It’s a wide screen TV, and a resolution of 800×600 does look a bit odd. It’s on cloned dual monitor mode with the computer monitor.

Being a smartass comp sci major as I am, I offered to tweak around to see if I can make it show up. I soon figured that cloned monitors must share the same resolution, and although something like 1280 x 720 showed up really well on the TV, it looks like someone squashed the screen from both sides on the computer monitor.

So I started to mess with “Extend my window to this monitor” function. Bad decision.


Somehow I managed to extend the monitor, set the TV to primary monitor, and set the resolution such that the TV goes blank. And that left me with a secondary monitor to play with – a desktop picture with nothing else on it.

If this doesn’t sound bad to you, I’ll describe the problem a bit more. The way to change the display setting back is to open Display Settings again, but when you open it, it appears on the primary screen. Which is totally blank. It’s like trying to fix your glasses with your eyes closed but worse: you don’t even know where your glasses are.

I tried dragging random things from the blank screen to the secondary monitor. Nothing. I tried unplugging the TV and restarting, but the computer wasn’t smart enough to detect an unplugged monitor. I tried to boot into Safe Mode by pressing F8, but somehow that computer refused to do it.

And I went home, defeated.

Then I came back for Round Two the next morning. This time I called my best backup: the Internet.

After an hour of failing to boot into Safe Mode using F8, trying to use hotkeys on Display Settings because I can’t see it, trying to change msconfig blindfolded, trying to boot Safe Mode from DOS… none worked.

Finally, an idea struck. “If I can only move a window without using the mouse…”

And Google gave me the solution:

1.       Press Alt + spacebar –  this opens the window commands such as Restore, Move, and Close

2.       Press M – this selects the Move command

3.       Hold onto the direction arrows to move the window

I have never been more excited to see a Display Settings window when it slowly crawled from the emptiness of the primary TV screen into view.


And that is how an A+ comp sci student spent an hour to figure out how to move a window from one monitor to another.


4 thoughts on “How a slowly crawling window made my day

  1. well i just want to say i still am impressed with ur computer abilities.
    though i stopped processing ur words after ur google instructions with alt + something.

    but good for you!!!

    my dad hasnt figured out how to hook the computer to the tv so we can watch youtube real big on the tv yet.
    so far he’s just managed to screw up our internet sporadically.

  2. btw, my gamelan performance, Extravaganza, on April 19, 7pm at downtown playhouse on dunsmuir. Do you think you can come after sun run ??? It’s FREE!!! but you need to get a ticket at the door =)

  3. For the first 20mins of my ‘welcome to UBC cs’ thing when I started was watching 8 CS PhDs try to get a projector to turn on.

    Moral of this and your story:

    Computer Science != Computer Technician !!!

  4. erica> i laughed out loud at your comment about your dad.

    kaman> sorry i missed it! I was packing for the trip…

    paul> can’t agree more. Now i feel less inadequate 😀

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