Transparent windows: how to get rid of it?

Liam Proven lproven at
Sat Dec 3 13:40:32 UTC 2011

On 3 December 2011 09:59, Freddy Van Ingelgom <freddyek at> wrote:
> I think that my question is confusing the way I posed here. In fact I should
> not speak about a window, but I do not know how to name it: sometimes it
> appears on the screen as a sort of indication were to put a existing window,
> a sort of placeholder or how should I name it? It is a sort of transparent
> rectangular that appears on top of my desktop and it does not affect the way
> I worked, it is there, I can see and continue my current work, and the only
> way to get rid of it is to resize a window, place it on this transparent and
> then the window takes the size of that transparent which disappear and after
> that I can return to the size that i like for my current work (Firefox for
> example, or whatever).
> I know that my question is not very clear, but the problem is that I dont
> know the name or the meaning, or even the purpose of that transparent
> rectangular.
> Any help is very appreciated.

Ahh, right. I think I have seen this and know what you are talking about.

Windows 7 introduced a new feature of edge-snap window tiling. If you
drag a window to the right or left edge of the monitor, it will resize
that window so that it takes either the left or the right half of the
screen. This means that by dragging one window to the left and one to
the right, you end up with 2 vertically-tiled windows, side-by-side.
It is very handy.

Similarly, dragging a window to the top of the screen maximises it.

Also on Windows, resizing the top of a window right to the top of the
screen will snap-resize the window to the full height of the screen
but not change the width.

The window manager in the Unity desktop tries to do the same, but it
implements it badly. Rather than the *mouse pointer* touching the side
of the screen, if the *edge of the window* touches the side of the
screen, it attempts to snap-resize it to half the screen size, and if
the window-edge touches the top, it tries to maximise it. It shows
what it is going to do by drawing a translucent brown rectangle with
an orange border over where the window is going to go.

If you don't want this to happen and you therefore move the window
back away from the screen-edge a little bit, the overlay box
disappears and the window is not resized.

I find it very irritating, to be honest, but I just live with it.

The snag is that sometimes, if you move the window, the overlay box
does not disappear, but remains visible. You can see the window
contents through it, so it's not fatal, but it's irritating.

I have not been able to isolate a cause of the persistent overlay box.

What I have found is how to get rid of it. It is not always easy. What
you must do is this:
* identify /which/ window you were moving to get the overlay box. It
may not be the last one you were using.
* grab its title bar and move it slightly.
* if this does not cause the box to disappear, then:
* move the target window to one edge of the screen, left, right or
top, so that the window-manager offers to snap-resize it again. At
this point, it will draw a /new/ overlay box to show where it's going
to go - and then it will "remember" the old leftover one and remove
* move the window back where it was, so that the new overlay box disappears.

Now the screen should be clear and unobstructed.

Liam Proven • Info & profile:
Email: lproven at • GMail/GoogleTalk/Orkut: lproven at
Tel: +44 20-8685-0498 • Cell: +44 7939-087884 • Fax: + 44 870-9151419
AIM/Yahoo/Skype: liamproven • MSN: lproven at • ICQ: 73187508

More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list