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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.

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    If it is neither iconified nor hogging the whole screen, it is being displayed normally.
    – tchrist
    Dec 3, 2012 at 15:38
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    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. Dec 3, 2012 at 16:19
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    I wonder what the macos term is Dec 3, 2012 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. Dec 3, 2012 at 18:33
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    I was tempted to suggest midimized, but I don't think the dictionary recognizes it. Dec 5, 2012 at 22:55

8 Answers 8

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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).

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    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. Jan 10, 2017 at 15:06
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Java refers to the possibilities as iconified, maximized, and normal.

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    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, 2012 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, 2012 at 15:36
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"Windowed" exists too, but it might be specific to computer games, which run either windowed or fullscreen.

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    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, 2015 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, 2016 at 13:05
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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.

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    And why not unminimize?
    – Gangnus
    Dec 3, 2012 at 16:16
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    Unmaximize is the name for an action (that I know as restore), not a state. Dec 3, 2012 at 16:18
  • But the question was about the state, not the action!
    – Gangnus
    Dec 4, 2012 at 15:36
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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.

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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.

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    "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, 2016 at 13:10
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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".

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  • But you can't really think of it as restored if it was in that state to begin with? Dec 4, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2012 at 15:39
-5

Restored.

Logically that should be the only option.

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    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. Dec 3, 2012 at 15:48
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    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. Dec 3, 2012 at 18:31
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    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. Dec 3, 2012 at 21:02
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    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. Dec 5, 2012 at 7:29
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    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, 2012 at 0:47

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