What do you call a computer window when it is not maximized or minimized? I have been using unmaximized, but I feel there is a more precise way.

  • 1
    If it is neither iconified nor hogging the whole screen, it is being displayed normally. – tchrist Dec 3 '12 at 15:38
  • 13
    Even though it is terminologically inexact, I prefer floating window over the cryptic restored or the ambiguous normal. It is usually used in tandem with docked windows. – coleopterist Dec 3 '12 at 16:19
  • 1
    I wonder what the macos term is – James A Mohler Dec 3 '12 at 16:54
  • @coleopterist I've always seen floating window used to refer to always on top windows or to the Ui style where instead of a single container window with docking of some sort each set of UI features is spawned off into an separate window. – Dan Neely Dec 3 '12 at 18:33
  • 1
    I was tempted to suggest midimized, but I don't think the dictionary recognizes it. – Ross Millikan Dec 5 '12 at 22:55

In Windows, the verbs are Minimize, Maximize and Restore Down.

In official documentation, Microsoft uses restored but also normal.

A WindowState that determines whether a window is restored, minimized, or maximized. The default is Normal (restored).

  • One thing to note is that each windowing system has its own terminology (e.g. Apple interface guidelines don't use 'restored' or 'normal', but they do specify windows based on type i.e. document vs panel, so a window that is not full-screen is a window (but apple doesn't seem to have a specific modifier for 'normal' window, which makes sense) But as others have mentioned, java and linux desktops also have their own terminology rooted in their feature set and ui philosophy. – Peter Hanley Jan 10 '17 at 15:06

Java refers to the possibilities as iconified, maximized, and normal.

  • 2
    I rather wonder what the “Uncleftish Beholding” versions of all these big, long, and for the most part thoroughly unwieldy words would be. I feel like we at first used to use short, regular words for all these, but now we use tantas groserías. – tchrist Dec 3 '12 at 16:41
  • @tchrist I've always thought IT was better about it's technical terms than many other professions. We mostly use simple words like "list" and "tree" and "memory" and "event", even when the concepts involved are really quite complex. – Jay Dec 4 '12 at 15:36

"Windowed" exists too, but it might be specific to computer games, which run either windowed or fullscreen.

  • 1
    A good choice, which would probably be clear for a normal program that can be maximized, minimized and 'normal' aka windowed. But specifically from a fullscreen app like a game, a 'windowed' version can still be maximized as well. – Nanne Feb 5 '15 at 10:59
  • Note that "fullscreen" usually implies "without a title bar or other window decorations". A game which offers the choice of running "windowed" or "fullscreen" can be run maximized in its windowed mode (and I do so quite frequently with games that can be left in the middle, e.g. strategy games, in order to make it easier to switch backwards and forwards to other applications). – Jules Mar 31 '16 at 13:05

GNOME uses unmaximize in their official documentation and it's the only term I've ever heard. I can't imagine any more precise term.

Derived from that, unmaximized is your word.

  • 2
    And why not unminimize? – Gangnus Dec 3 '12 at 16:16
  • 4
    Unmaximize is the name for an action (that I know as restore), not a state. – reinierpost Dec 3 '12 at 16:18
  • But the question was about the state, not the action! – Gangnus Dec 4 '12 at 15:36

I reckon "scalable" window fits the bill. After all, that is what you can do to them - resize them to fit a particular part of the display.


The discussion has led me to conclude that the "official" terms are bad: confusing, inexact, unintuitive, non-descriptive. A better triad of terms might be full-screen, floating, and docked.

  • "Docked" is a bad choice because it is already a term of art used to describe a window that is attached to part of a larger window, for instance toolbars, status bars, scroll bars, etc. "Full screen" is also usually used for a mode where window decorations (e.g. titlebars) and desktop controls (e.g. the taskbar in windows) are hidden, which is different to maximized, which still keeps these elements visible. – Jules Mar 31 '16 at 13:10

The most precise way I can think about is: "restored to its size." So, the shortened one-word way might be "restored" or "of set size".

Or "show as is", or simply "as is".

  • But you can't really think of it as restored if it was in that state to begin with? – Samuel Edwin Ward Dec 4 '12 at 14:49
  • Sometimes in the past, even if you haven't done it personally, the window got its sizes. After that it could be maximized or minimized, but it still can be returned to the sizes set. Restored to its size. – Gangnus Dec 4 '12 at 15:32
  • I am not insisting that this meaning is the best (I don't think so), only that it is possible. – Gangnus Dec 4 '12 at 15:39


Logically that should be the only option.

  • 3
    Whoever voted this down is not a programmer. Unfortunately, due to lack of attention to UI perception of this window state, it is called the "restored" state. – Blessed Geek Dec 3 '12 at 15:48
  • 4
    Anyone who thinks Restored should be the only option clearly hasn't done any significant programming outside of the MS world as demonstrated by the answers showing Java and GNOME do use different terms for the state. – Dan Neely Dec 3 '12 at 18:31
  • 20
    I just voted this down, and I am a programmer. This site is for discussing English usage, and not specifically computer jargon. If you have to write text for people who are unfamiliar with Microsoft's technical conventions, then using "Restored" would be very poor. Indeed, the question does not specify Microsoft, nor should it. "Restored" only makes sense if there's an original state that the window has been restored to. When it's in this state and has neither been Minimized nor Maximized, can you say it's been Restored? Of course not. – Dominic Cronin Dec 3 '12 at 21:02
  • 2
    Restored would only be correct if a window had begun in one state, then had a different state, and then had its original state restored. Therefore Restored is the wrong answer, regardless of Microsoft's influence. – Dominic Cronin Dec 5 '12 at 7:29
  • 3
    I also voted this down, not because of "Restored", but because of the phrase, "Logically that should be the only option." There are plenty of options, and English isn't logical. – Lunivore Dec 12 '12 at 0:47

protected by tchrist Jul 6 '14 at 23:56

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.