Skip to main content

Windows 10 won't randomly rearrange apps on multiple monitors anymore

Monitors
Monitors (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • If you have two or more displays and set your machine to sleep, odds are the apps will change locations.
  • Microsoft is aware of the issue and is fixing it.
  • You can grab the fix right now if you're in the Windows Insider Program.

Windows users with more than one monitor have long suffered at the hands of random app reshuffles. You set your machine to sleep, then wake it up only to see everything on the desktop entirely rearranged. All your careful organization mattered not to Windows 10 — until now.

Multiple monitor setups can rejoice, as Microsoft has announced (opens in new tab) that it's aware of the issue and intends to fix it (via The Verge). In a Microsoft dev blog entitled "Avoid Annoying Unexpected App Rearrangement – Your PC Can Sleep Without Nightmares," post author Michelle Xiong details that the issue is technically referred to as "Rapid Hot Plug Detect (Rapid HPD)," and that multi-monitor headaches caused by it can be a thing of the past if you're in the Windows Insider Program.

You can grab the fix right now via the Windows Insider Program as long as you're on build 21287 or above. Alternatively, you can wait for a regular Windows 10 update down the line to bring it to the standard release.

This small fix to an annoying problem isn't the only obstacle Microsoft is using technology to overcome. In recent news, the tech giant is also keen on helping employees recognize when they're stressing out at work by monitoring their biometrics. And Microsoft also recently conducted research using brain scanners to determine that employees need breaks. In short, lots of tech progress is occurring over in Redmond.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

19 Comments
  • Hallelujah. I can't believe it's taken this long. Actually I can but still
  • Haha, yeah, I can as well. Better late than never, I s'pose.
  • I wonder if this will work with different monitor setups? I use my work laptop at the office and at home, with dual external monitors both places. Once in a while the desktop shortcuts shuffle around. Never at the same location though, which is what they're addressing as far as I can tell...
  • Looks like it's fixing open apps not desktop shortcut movement.
  • I hope MS addresses the other issues with multiple displays with different DPI and resolution. Multiple monitor issues have plagued Windows 10 for years. And yes, I have submitted plenty of feedback through the feedback hub.
  • Yeah, considering we are now in the world where laptops may have higher DPI than the desktop monitors, and laptop workstation have become more popular than it used to be. These issues needs to be addressed. I think we need to actually provide more functionality for multi-monitor and for ultrawide monitors. Its surprisingly that there isn't much significant improvements in this space for several years. PowerToys does help, but that requires seperate install, additional thing to run on the background, a more complicated setup that pretty much focused for power users, and don't support Snap Assist which was one of the great Windows 10 feature that was introduced.
  • Hey MS, there are multi problems with multi-monitor support or lack there of... why the freaking bleep did you take this long to fix it in the first place? I can only assume you didn't care or you were negligent. I have a few curse words over the many years about these problems. But seriously why did it take you guys so damn long to actually fix it???
  • So are you glad that they fixed it or angry that they fixed it? Seems like this is good news to me.
  • Just completely p!ssed off that it actually takes them so much damn time to fix their bugs. They seem more inclined to compose new icons every couple of years for change sake then fix the bugs in their OS. Yes it rubs me the wrong way, glad it is finally being fixed.
  • Finally the issue will get fixed. Hope it gets backported to all supported releases.
  • Strange, this was fixed with my Surface Dock multiple monitor setup a long while ago. I guess this is a more general fix. Still, the fix needed to happen yesterday (it was so annoying when I had it). Also, one workaround is to just not let the device sleep when docked. You can have Windows turn off the monitors but not put the machine to sleep.
  • Ah, was the problem only if the PC went to sleep? I was thinking I haven't seen this problem in years, but my desktop PC never sleeps, just the monitors go to sleep, and my laptop doesn't use an external monitor, so maybe that's why I didn't experience this issue.
  • It happens whenever a monitor is disconnected. I think the most trivial case is with display port monitors: when a DP monitor goes into sleep it is disconnected (this is a DP spec). And many DP monitors don't have options to disable this "feature".
  • Thanks. That makes sense. Now that you mention it, I have noticed that happen when I lose power -- I have 2 monitors connected to my PC on a UPS, but the third is not. Any window on there is bumped over to one of the others and doesn't automatically bounce back. It's my third monitor that just shows my Outlook calendar, so I never really thought about it as a problem (after all, that monitor was no longer usable, so I would need the window on another to be able to see it) and just dragged it back when power was restored, but I could imagine if that happened on all my monitors it would indeed be annoying.
  • My PC with only 1 monitor resizes the open windows every time I turn off the monitor to save power. This will be a very welcomed update.
  • I've been using 3 - 4 monitors for the last 13 years and boy is this overdue! I hope this fixes a few of the other multimonitor issues as well! Like which monitor is Primary (1) and why sometimes your settings just get ignored...
  • Finally. For about a decade this has driven me mad. I'm constantly putting them back to where I want them.
  • From the MS article: "since laptops come with a built-in screen" Sure they all do 😂
  • 2021 big year for Windows 10: 1. 64-Bit x86 support on Windows on ARM will RTM at some point.
    2. This fixed finally.
    3. Sun Valley update.