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Means for rapidly restoring windows layouts Disclosure Number: IPCOM000127262D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Aug-19
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Aug-19
Document File: 2 page(s) / 45K

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A user often wants to minimise a window temporarily to examine other windows on a computer display. Existing windows-based operating systems require the user to move their mouse in order to restore the original window. This can be tiresome if the user has to do this repeatedly. Disclosed are three alternative solutions which allow a user to restore the minimised window without having to move their mouse cursor. The solutions could be extended to apply to other window manipulation operations as well.

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Means for rapidly restoring windows layouts

When a user has many windows open on the screen at once he may often want to minimise one window temporarily so he can check the status of another window. For instance, he might be writing a document in one window whilst running tests in the background from within another window. Periodically he might want to minimise the primary window in the foreground to see how his tests are progressing. But he will probably only want to interact with the other window (showing the tests) if something significant has happened. Otherwise he will simply restore the original window to resume working on his document. The problem is that in order to restore the original window in Microsoft* Windows* he has to move the mouse cursor all the way across the screen to the task bar (or use Alt-Tab) and click on the icon for the word processor. This can become irritating for the user if he repeatedly has to check the background window but does not have the space on his display to show the relevant portions of both windows at once.

    One solution would be to move the taskbar itself to the side of the screen closest to the minimise button on the window of interest. But that changes the layout of objects on the screen and the user still has to move the cursor to and from the taskbar.

    On the Linux** operating system or the Apple Macintosh operating system the user can click on the minimise button and the window is 'rolled up' like a blind into the application's titlebar. However the user might then have to move the titlebar itself if it is obstructing the view of something else underneath.

    The solutions proposed below are an improvement because they require no movement of the mouse but also completely clear the window from the screen when it is minimised. Several alternative solutions are proposed:

Click the minimise button on the window to minimise the window. Then click with the mouse in exactly the same place on the screen and the previously restored window is immediately restored. This inverting of the previous operation could be applied to other mouse operations (e.g., restore, maximize). If there is no application or active desktop in the background immediately beneath the cursor when the previous window is minimised this does not cause a problem. If there is then this im...