When I attach a second monitor to my MacBook, I drag many windows onto it. When I detach the monitor, all the windows move back onto my MacBook's display. How can I make it so that when I re-attach the monitor, all the windows automatically move back to their position on the second monitor again?

I use my personal MacBook at work where I have the extra monitor. But this means I need to detach and re-attach the monitor every day. I have many windows I leave open from the previous day's work, so this is a real pain.

I know about an app called Forget-Me-Not, which is almost exactly what I want. But I need something that works on OS X 10.5.

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    Has anything new happened on this front in the past 5 years? None of the options described seem to be what I want.... And some of the things proposed don't appear to exist anymore, or aren't under development anymore... Mar 4 '16 at 15:12
  • @BrianPostow, maybe you'll find this other question helpful. I specifically asked this question to find a solution on OS X 10.5, and no on answered it. I don't use 10.5 anymore, and I haven't found a great solution on the latest OS X either. Mar 6 '16 at 18:14

Any chance of you upgrading to 10.6? If so, you could use Stay from Cordless Dog.

  • It looks like Stay would work, but I'm not going to upgrade my OS just for this. Oct 13 '10 at 16:34
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    If you're currently running Leopard and your Mac can handle Snow Leopard, there's no good reason not to upgrade. SL is faster, slimmer, and better in a huge number of ways. Given its price, it's worth every penny.
    – Dori
    Oct 14 '10 at 4:05

Slate is free and very powerful, and it does exactly what you want.

I answered this in a previously asked question, but I'll summarize my answer here:

When you plug in your secondary monitor, Slate automatically detects the new monitor, and all of your windows will be moved and resized just the way you like them. You can define custom positions and sizes for all of your applications, including full screen, half screen, and grid-based.

You can define different layouts based on how many monitors you have connected, and you can also define keyboard shortcuts for specific layouts or actions such as nudging and resizing windows by a certain percentage.

Try it out! Here is a helpful article on how to get the most out of Slate.


I've been using Breeze to remember window positions when switching between an external monitor and the internal monitor of my MacBook Air. It works with 10.5, there's a free demo and it's not too expensive at $8. With Breeze you define window positions and sizes and then you can hotkey them. You can also set positions/sizes for specific applications in addition to the global setting.

Dori, thanks for that link to Stay, I've been looking for something that does exactly that and I'm running 10.6. Thanks!

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    I tried the demo. It remembers window size and position on the display, but not which display. This means I still have to drag each window one by one onto the 2nd monitor. This is also nice, but it doesn't answer my question :( Nov 2 '10 at 14:26
  • Oh, I'm sorry. I only use it on 1 monitor, so that use case was never an issue for me. I have contacted the developer before for another feature request, he replied fairly quickly. Maybe you could make a feature request for multimonitor support?
    – Jack Chu
    Nov 2 '10 at 22:27

Just came across SizeUp which is kind of like Breeze but also seems to have monitor management. I have not tested it but it looks decent:


Also there is Optimal Layout which is a very full featured tool but also worth looking at.


After looking for this for a while, I would like to say that Stay works wonderfully for saving state and position of windows across multiple displays. You have to save your settings for single screen and dual/multiple screens in order for your positions to be saved across both situations. Optimal layout, though a full feature product unfortunately did not save the window positions or set them back when switching between single screen and dual screen. At least I couldn't figure out how to work with it after only a 30-minute attempt. It's possible that it does but in the short amount of time i had to set this up, I was unable to save.

The ability to divide your screens into sections is a really great feature but not the main feature I was looking for in this case.


Yes Stay seems to work but it cant shift windows back that have been put into full screen mode. So if you want to maintain a state of full screen items on your laptop, but positioned windows on your external monitor, then unfortunately it doesnt work..

Kind regards, Steve


I also like Stay. It works great, and is really simple to use:

How Does Stay Work?

Move your windows to where you want them, then have Stay store them. Once stored, windows can be returned to their stored state at any time by having Stay restore them.


You dont need anything.

Cmd + Alt + Hold down your mouse 1 second at the bottom right corner

  • What is this action meant to do? Feb 27 '21 at 17:33

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