In Windows 7, Microsoft added Aero Snap which made rearranging windows easier even though the underlying abilities were present in Windows since Windows 95. In Windows 10, Microsoft introduced more features for snapping windows. But Windows 10 as we know from experience has far too many issues and is nowhere near the quality of Windows 7. So for those who wish to continue using Windows 7, here's a good news. With a free app, you can get some Windows 10 Snap features on Windows 7.
In Windows 7, Microsoft made it easier to tile (snap) windows side-by-side by automatically arranging them when you drag them with the mouse pointer to the top, left or right edges of the screen. Microsoft calls this Aero Snap. In Windows 10, snapping features have been expanded. Windows 10 has Snap Assist, Corner Snap and Snap Fill. Snap Assist prompts you to choose another window to snap immediately after you snap any one of them. Corner Snap is the ability to drag windows to the screen's corners to resize and snap them to the 4 screen quadrants. Snap Fill is the feature where resizing one window also resizes the other window snapped to it to automatically remove any blank space.
What if you want these features on earlier releases of Windows? With this great app we found called AquaSnap, you can get Corner Snap and Snap Fill on earlier versions of Windows for free! AquaSnap is essentially window management on steroids. But it's much more than that. AquaSnap is actually far superior to the snapping features on any Windows OS.
AquaSnap is a free app for personal use. The free version gives you enhanced window snapping, stretching, shaking, docking and customizable keyboard shortcuts. Its professional edition which is for $9 gets you some extra features like moving windows together, tiling and multi-monitor support. AquaSnap not only greatly enhances the Windows Snap feature but makes it highly configurable. You can selectively disable snapping to whatever screen edges or corners you want. It also includes smarter ways to resize app windows.
Installing and configuring AquaSnap is a snap! Download the MSI installer and install it. It will add shortcuts to the Start Menu to launch the program and configure it. Open the Configuration and you will be presented with this window:
Let's go through the options it provides.
On the General tab, there are options to automatically start with Windows and show a notification area (tray) icon.
Moving to the AquaSnap tab, you will see that it lets you snap individual windows as well as child windows in a multi-window (Multiple Document Interface) app. We won't go into the MDI features because such apps are less common. So in the 'Window type' dropdown, select 'Independent window' to control the snapping of single windows.
- AeroSnap is the same as what Windows 7 has.
- AquaSnap (Simple) mode enables snapping, resizing and rerranging to the screen edges.
- AquaSnap (Advanced) mode enables corners as well like Windows 10.
- Finally, the Custom option is the real killer feature which lets you selectively disable and enable snapping to specific corners and edges.
- AeroStretch is the default Windows 7 behavior where double clicking a window's top border maximizes it vertically and dragging by the app's top or bottom border to the screen's top or bottom edge does the same.
- AquaStretch improves upon it by letting you maximize windows horizontally as well. It also adds a Shift key so you never accidentally maximize a window while resizing it from the borders, which is how Windows should have designed it in the first place.
Double clicking the window borders also behaves differently with AquaStretch. A double click on any border only resizes or stretches the window to the corresponding edge of the screen. Shift+double click maximizes the window vertically or horizontally.
The AquaMagnet feature is just a fancy name for snapping windows to each other or to the screen edges while resizing them. You can specify with pixel perfect accuracy how much farther apart or closer a window will snap while you resize it by dragging its border.
AquaGlue lets you resize or move snapped windows as a group! It is Windows 10's Snap Fill feature for resizing plus the ability to move windows together as a group. AquaGlue however is available without restrictions only in the paid version.
The Hotkeys tab is extremely awesome and lets you assign up to two distinct keyboard shortcuts for the software's window management features. You can override the keyboard shortcuts used by Windows and assign your own.
You can see how powerful and flexible AquaSnap is. All of its features are available on Windows 2000 and upwards. It is amazing that most of its features are given away for free. Many Linux distros and desktop environments like KDE have had corner snapping for many years. The window manager of the Windows operating system also has supported these capabilities but they were never exposed to the end user. It has always been possible to manipulate windows programmatically but Microsoft did not include configurable snapping. You can get AquaSnap here:
AquaSnap perfectly fills this much needed void. The paid version is totally worth the price if you need the extra features.
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