Why I maximize everything in Windows

I know I have a lot of screen space, and I can have several windows open side by side. But usually I find myself just focusing on one thing at a time, so I might as well use the whole screen for that window. Whenever I don’t have the current window maximized, I just end up with that window in the middle of the screen and one or two other windows in the background, that I end up not getting any meaningful information from anyway.

Almost the only exception is when say when I am writing something and looking at a source at the same time, or when I’m programming. In those cases I sometimes end up with two windows side by side.

Am I a horrible Windows-user?

Not at all. I"m much the same way. I have two 24" monitors. That being said, I don’t see the point of not using screen space. Hence, if I’m only doing one screen, (like right now, checking the Dope before I leave for work) its maximized on one screen. Two things? Each maximized on a screen. Only when I’m doing something where I’m looking at at least three things at once do I actually use windows.

Someone in a thread recently stated that this was something they found really annoying. I don’t do it myself because I am forever jumping from one thing to another, both at work and at home, however I can’t see why anyone would care about it. If you are only using one window at a time why not maximize it? No-one would split their TV picture into several separate boxes and then only watch one channel at a fraction of the available size.

Nope, you’re rather typical, really. I know very few computer users who don’t run everything maximized at least 90% of the time. And I’ve never heard of anyone who actively gets information from another window, save in circumstances like you describe.

Both Windows 8 and OS X Lion (and soon Mountain Lion) actually have started moving towards more full screen apps.

For certain minor applications that don’t have a lot of visible information, such as a small text file open in a text editor, or a calculator, it doesn’t make sense to have it take up the whole screen. But for most things, like a web browser or a spreadsheet, more screen space is generally better so I think most people run them maximised almost all the time.

I maximize everything so I can see it. Old age and visual acuity don’t mix well.

I’m with the OP. For all the reasons given in the OP. I’ve always taken it to the max. Really there are only two exceptions:

  1. When translating. This is a big one for me as I’m a professional translator. I split-screen the original on the right and my work on the left to see both at once. This is because I got a wide flat-screen monitor. When I had the older kind of monitor, I had the original above and my work below.
  2. When I open Notebook just to jot down some data temporarily, I often have it resized if I’m looking at another window when making notes. Otherwise, I maximize that too.

Oh, I remembered one more exception. 3. My Chrome browser, at the settings I use and on this monitor, displays the less-formatted web pages with the left edge of text cut off when maximized. So I resize it, then drag the boundaries to one pixel less than max on the left, and then I can see everything.

I’ve got two 19 inch monitors. I currently have 8 applications open and only one is full screen. That on is an RDP session that itself has 6 applications open with none in full screen. I keep 10 or so often-used shortcuts on the left of the screen so having my windows non-maximized makes them easier to get to.

Research is somewhat mixed but suggests that the optimal line length for reading on a screen is about 75 - 100 characters per line. Much longer than that and the eye is forced to travel too much, making text harder to read.

Well designed websites will use a fixed column layout so that the text is within the 75 - 100 cpl boundary regardless of browser size but many webpages (including the sdmb) expand text to fit the width of the window. I leave my windows scaled to a sane size so that most webpages appear reasonably readable which means it takes up about 60% of my screen horizontally.

I use the rest of the screen for a condensed version of my email inbox and some active IM windows so that both can be used at a glance without having to switch contexts.

No. It’s configurable to work the way you want it precisely because we’re all different.

I mean, there are such things as horrible Windows users (such as folks who never use any shortcuts, use the File>open dialog in Word as if it’s Windows Explorer, search for Google using Google every time they want to use it, etc) - but they mostly only harm themselves.

total hijack:
Do you use any CATT at all, or is it always file vs file?

I used to do that, but I’m doing it less and less now:
screens are getting too wide (16:9)
some websites don’t use that much space anyway (Engadget)
reading too wide paragraphs is actually less efficient, like Shalmanese said. I think that’s why newspapers have columns. When you open text documents, do you turn on word wrap?

Same here – plus the other reasons listed above. I don’t multi-task very well and prefer to focus on one screen at a time. I keep my task bar at double height to make it easy to see what I have open but minimized, as well as showing me the links for my favorite websites (like this one).

that’s true. I alleviate that somewhat by having the taskbar on the side rather than the bottom. The Windows 7 taskbar works really well in that position, unlike previous versions of the taskbar.

I have quad monitors. Usually everything is maximized, and Alt + Tab is my friend. Right now I have three Word windows on monitor 1 (two side by side, with one more directly under the one on the right), as well as a directory window and my dictionary. Monitors 2 and 3 (portrait) have one maximized Word window each; #3 also has my time tracker underneath. Monitor 4 has Thunderbird and several Firefox windows.

I Alt+ Tab among different programs, or Alt+ W, [number of window] among Word files. (I always open the files in a particular order, so I always know which number is for which file for this particular type of project.)

There is no right answer, maximize or don’t maximize, whatever works for you. Software-driven devices are great because you can configure them however you want. I think this is why the lackluster maximize on Macs bothers Windows users.

It also depends on the screen size, if you’re running a 4:3 aspect ratio at a low resolution, you pretty much have to maximize to see much of what you’re looking at.

I recently started working for a new company that uses some kind of CATT software. I sometimes find its computer-assisted translation features helpful, especially in reducing routine repetitive phrases. But the drawback is a tiny window space to look at the original and even tinier space to type in.

What I was referring to was all the other translations I’ve always done, with a .pdf and a .doc.

Thanks, it’s just something I find strange about CATT tools, that they don’t try to give to their users the look’n’feel of “manual” translation at all. Since I never learned to work doc vs doc, the single-window approach of some CATTs works well for me, but if I was making one I’d have doc vs doc as a display option. And yeah, those with the five tiny windows can be… irritating.