I'm an avid GNU Emacs user and I like to have the active frame maximized at
start-up. This is easily done on Linux:
(set-frame-parameter nil 'fullscreen 'maximized)
But on MS Windows this is not so trivial... Like many of you, I have to use
Windows for my daily work. I tried many different approaches to get that frame
maximized on Windows, but just recently I was able to achieve that outcome in a
reliable manner that works across many different versions of Windows.
In an effort to not bury the lead, as they say... this is what I have done
(defun w32-maximize-frame ()
"Maximize the current frame (windows only)"
(if (eq system-type 'windows-nt)
(add-hook 'window-setup-hook 'w32-maximize-frame t))
(set-frame-parameter nil 'fullscreen 'maximized))
In the above code I address maximizing the frame in the two platforms I use
most: Linux and Windows. I defined the function
w32-maximize-frame, which send
the Windows message to the Emacs frame for it to maximize itself. The underlying
w32-send-sys-command is well-known, but initially it did not work for
me as I'll explain below.
The strategy that did work for Windows was to wrap the call to
w32-send-sys-command in a function and then add a call to it to the
window-setup-hook. I tested this on the 7 and 8.1 versions of desktop Windows
and on 2008 R2, 2012 versions of Windows Server and using Emacs 24.3. And if
Emacs is not running on Windows, I set the frame parameter
maximized for the current frame.
What didn't work...
I started this journey into figuring out how to start Emacs maximized a while
back. In the beginning I would let Emacs start and then just use the maximize
button on the title bar, but then I started using things like
set-frame-* to get the top, left and size just right
for my different screens. The problem with that approach is that I had to tweak
it for every new install of Emacs on every computer I used. It got old really
Then I found the
set-frame-parameter trick that you can see in the code
above. But that only worked for Linux variants. At this point during my
research, I have already found out about the
but using it on my
init.el file directly was not working. The frame would
think itself as being maximized, and you could see that by looking at the state
of the maximize button on the top-right of the window. But visually, the window
would remain small.
Next I started using the
maxframe.el package, but that really didn't last all
that long. I found that there were several flaws with it: First, the package
would not truly maximize the frame, but it calculates the size of the frame
based on your monitor's resolution and font face sizes and stretch your frame
accordingly; Second, the package would not account for the position of my XFCE
desktop panel and place the Emacs title bar under it; And third,
would not account for a multiple monitor setup and stretch the frame across my
two monitors. So I dropped it and went back to the drawing board.
It turns out that the proper way to achieve the maximize frame on start-up on
Windows is to use the
window-setup-hook. This variable is a normal hook that
Emacs runs after handling the initialization files. It turns out that with the
previous approaches, I was trying to send a message in Windows to an Emacs frame
that didn't yet exist. This hook is used for setting up communication with the
windowing system and creating the initial window and is, therefore, the proper
place, or point in time, to maximize our frame in Windows.