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I have seen several games that have a video display mode that is windowed with no borders, at the same resolution as the desktop. It's sometimes called "Borderless Windowed" mode, or "Maximized Fullscreen" mode. It seems to balance the trade-off between running in fullscreen, and running a game in windowed mode.

Fullscreen vs Windowed
A game in fullscreen mode fills your screen and is more immersive. Supposedly fullscreen mode provides better performance, but I don't anything about that (nor have I recently observed better performance in fullscreen mode). The most common caveat is that your computer chokes momentarily if you alt-tab to go do something else. Playing in windowed mode allows you to switch to other tasks with no delay, or even multitask. Windowed mode also seems to be better for users using dual displays.

In Maximized Fullscreen mode, the game is in windowed mode, but the borders and title bar are removed and the resolution matches your desktop's. In effect, it looks like you're playing in fullscreen mode, but you can still switch to other applications with no delay. Sounds like the best of both worlds to me!

Left 4 Dead 2 in Windowed (No Border) mode

Multitasking is great if I happen to be respawning, waiting for a loading screen, or if I need to look up information about the game (like looking up quest info for MMOs). Clicking on the game pushes the other (naughty, immersion breaking) windows and the taskbar into the background, seamlessly filling the full screen.

Unfortunately most games don't seem to include this feature yet. For the games that don't, is there a way I can force this mode?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 16 down vote accepted

I have a simple AutoHotkey script that will force this mode for me. The script removes the window border and title bar of any window, and moves the window so that it fills the screen:

^!f::
WinGetTitle, currentWindow, A
IfWinExist %currentWindow%
{
    WinSet, Style, ^0xC00000 ; toggle title bar
    WinMove, , , 0, 0, 1920, 1080
}
return

The hotkey this creates is Control+Alt+f. It applies changes to whatever window has focus. If you wanted to use this script, all you'd need to do is:

  1. Install AutoHotkey
  2. Copy the script to a text file and name it something like MaxFull.ahk
  3. Right click on your new script and use Run as Administrator.
    SUDO Autohotkey script

Note that you'll need to have your game in windowed mode, set to your desktop's resolution. Also change "1920, 1080" to whatever your resolution is. Press the hotkey and bam! Maximized Fullscreen goodness. It even toggles back and forth if you press the hotkey again.

While the hotkey works on many games that I've played, some games are stubborn and don't want the window border removed. In that case, I have another hotkey that is a bit more forceful.

^!g::
WinGetTitle, currentWindow, A
IfWinExist %currentWindow%
{
   WinSet, Style, -0xC00000 ; hide title bar
   WinSet, Style, -0x800000 ; hide thin-line border
   WinSet, Style, -0x400000 ; hide dialog frame
   WinSet, Style, -0x40000 ; hide thickframe/sizebox
   WinMove, , , 0, 0, 1920, 1080
}   
return

Simply append this to the previous script to enable the hotkey Control+Alt+g.

Update: Some games also use a 0x40000 "ThickFrame" style, which the script wasn't removing until now. See the AutoHotkey documentation for a list of styles that can be removed.

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awesome tool mate.. –  DrFish Nov 7 '11 at 19:30
2  
Tip: Bethesda games like Skryim prevent global hotkeys from working. To get around this, I launched Skyrim using Steam. Bringing up the Steam UI allows hotkeys to work again, and I'm able to resize the window as usual. FUS RO DAH –  brianbaligad Dec 11 '11 at 6:27

There's a very simple utility that I've used for ages to accomplish this very purpose. It was originally written for EVE Online, but it will support any game.

Gamers Window Relocator

When you install it, it looks like this:

enter image description here

You basically choose the game you're running, and it will automatically move the game to completely fill the window.

The advantage of this over the AHK method mentioned earlier applies mostly to users of multiple windows. It will automatically clamp to the nearest corner. So if you move the window to your second monitor, it will automatically fill your second monitor instead of your first. This way you don't need multiple scripts for every monitor.

It also works automatically, without any hotkey.

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I dont like semi automation (having to press a key every single time you start a game) so I wrote python script that starts games for me. Example for World of Tanks:

import win32gui
from win32con import GWL_STYLE, WS_CAPTION, WS_SIZEBOX, WS_DLGFRAME, WS_THICKFRAME
import time
import os

def main():
    os.system("start \"..\" G:\\World_of_Tanks\\xvm-stat.exe")

#   option = combination of those four: WS_CAPTION, WS_SIZEBOX, WS_DLGFRAME, WS_THICKFRAME
    option = WS_CAPTION + WS_SIZEBOX
#   window_name = name that appears on application title bar
    window_name = "W.o.T. Client"

    time.sleep(5)
    for x in range(60):
      time.sleep(1)
      hwnd = win32gui.FindWindow(None, window_name)
      if hwnd !=0:
        win32gui.MoveWindow(hwnd, 0,0,1599,1200, True)
        gwl = win32gui.GetWindowLong(hwnd, GWL_STYLE)
        win32gui.SetWindowLong(hwnd, GWL_STYLE, (gwl ^ option))
        break

if __name__ == '__main__':
    main()

it spawns the game, waits 5 seconds, starts to look for "W.o.T. Client" window for 60 seconds retrying every second, When it finally finds one it does its magic and quits.

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There is a tool called ShiftWindow, written specifically for this purpose. (although I haven't used it yet)

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