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It happens sometimes that the yellow circle in the top left of the windows, for minimizing, becomes gray for some windows. In particular it is gray for Finder, Safari, Calendar, iTerm2, Xchat Azure, Chrome, VirtualBox, and is still yellow for other windows, for example Mail, KeePassX, NoteBook, FreeMind, DjView, Lyx.

Obviously, when it is gray it is disabled.
The situation comes back to normal apparently without any reason.

The OS is Mountain Lion 10.8.5, and this is a screenshot

enter image description here

  • Do you have any sort of medications installed, something that changes the look/behaviour of Finder or the Dock? – Andrew U. Jan 28 '14 at 7:52
  • @AndrewU.: no, nothing of that kind, I think. – enzotib Jan 28 '14 at 8:30
  • And does this happen with various apps randomly or certain apps randomly? Is there any line to be drawn between moments that you have noticed the issue? How does a restart affect the behaviour? Does Finder restore your previous session upon login? – Andrew U. Jan 28 '14 at 8:33
  • @AndrewU.: no, i tried to pay attention, but I cannot see any pattern. – enzotib Jan 28 '14 at 8:37
  • Have you already tried reinstalling the OS? And what about the other portions to my comment? I left a lot of question marks there ;) – Andrew U. Jan 28 '14 at 8:53
2

Well now I have to take a stab at this with the information and comments you have provided. I am going to guess that the OS is damaged, probably the WindowServer is screwed up (http://www.macinside.info/process.php?name=WindowServer).

This can be resolved with a reinstall of the OS. You should have any data loss but of course make sure you have an active backup of all files just to be on the safe side.

To test though you could turn off the OS function of restoring previous sessions and then restart the computer holding down the shift key. With the shift key held until you see the spinning gear. This starts your system in Safe mode where only Apple daemons are allowed to run. WindowServer is a part of the OS and if it is indeed damaged then the issue will appear (after some time maybe) in a Safe OS.

  • Thank you for your answer, but I don't want to reinstall and the Safe mode is unusable, so I switched back to the normal mode before the problem appear. – enzotib Jan 28 '14 at 21:48
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On macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, my Chrome 65.0.3325.181 window had its orange Minimize button grayed out and disabled.

Solution that worked for me to restore the orange Minimize button:

  • go full screen (green button)
  • leave full screen (green button again)

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