Those who use a PC with one or more multiple displays will appreciate a major change to how the docking and undocking experience works in Windows 11. And it’s as simple to describe as it is wonderful to experience.
If you’re familiar with how multiple displays work in Windows 10, you know that any windows you have open on an external display will move to the primary display (as on a laptop) when you undock or unplug the external display. That makes sense. But when you re-dock or re-attach the external display, nothing happens. It’s up to you to reposition the windows you want on the external display.
With Windows 11, it’s that latter scenario that changes. Now, Windows remembers the positions of windows on external displays. So when you re-dock or re-attach the external display, any open windows that were previously on that display return to that display automatically.
Better still, those windows remember their position and size. Maximized windows remain maximized, for example, and floating windows will still float at the same size, and in the same place, as before.
Microsoft also helps us understand this shift between states with a subtle animation. When you re-dock or re-attach an external display, the primary display appears to throb and contract. And as the windows return to the external display, the image on the external display appears to throb and then expand as they reappear.
When you think about it, the new docking/undocking experience in Windows 11 is very similar to Snap Layouts in that it’s all about remembering window layouts. With Snap Layouts, Windows 11 remembers the onscreen positions of windows you’ve arranged with Snap Groups, and it lets you easily reassemble those groups. With the new docking/undocking experience, Windows 11 likewise remembers the layouts of individual windows across multiple displays, and over time.
Here’s a quick series of shots that highlights how this works.
Initial layout across two displays
The external display is undocked
The external display is re-docked and the primary display throbs and contracts
And then the original layout is restored