Resize non-resizable windows with ResizeEnable

Resizable windows are one of the key parts of the window metaphor. Unfortunately, not every piece of software follows this design standard. For example, how many times have you gone to a Properties panel, only to discover you had to scroll? Stop this madness now with ResizeEnable.

What it does

ResizeEnable is a very small portable program (42 KB download size) that does one simple thing: Allow users to resize non-resizable windows. For example, you can turn this…

…into this:

ResizeEnable isn’t just for vertical enlargement either; it works for horizontal enlargement, too. For instance, I needed to get a URL from a list…

…but the list was truncated before the URL ended. Using ResizeEnable, I was able to make the window horizontally wider, and get the URL I am looking for:

Resizing Windows

Resizing windows with ResizeEnable is as easy as running the program and mousing over the edges of windows. When you mouse of the edge of a window, you should see the double-sided resizing arrow, like so:

Once the double-sided arrow appears, simply click + drag to resize the window. This double-sided arrow appears at all four sides so you can resize from any edge; it also appears at the corners so you can resize diagonally, too, if you want.

Things to note

There are a few things to note about ResizeEnable:

  • First and foremost, realize ResizeEnable does not work with all windows. It works with *most* non-resizable windows, but not all. The ones that it doesn’t work with are the ones that don’t code to “normal” coding standards (whatever that means, haha.)
  • Secondly, ResizeEnable tries to proportionately scale the contents of a window to match the new window size. While this doesn’t work with all windows, the content scaling works with most windows.
  • Thirdly, if a window has “child” windows that popup, ResizeEnable attempts to automatically resize those child windows to be proportional to the new size you gave the parent window. Like the previously two mentioned points, while this works with most windows, it doesn’t work with all.
  • Fourthly (is that a word?), windows resized with ResizeEnable are not permanent. Once you close/reopen a window, it goes back to its normal size.
  • Lastly, ResizeEnable appears to no longer be in developement. The last version – v1.4 – was updated in 2003. However, it still works on Windows 7 so presumably it works on all previous version of Windows – like Vista – that were released after 2003.

Conclusion

ResizeEnable is a great way to resize annoying windows, and at less than two megabytes of RAM usage, it’s efficient too. Although it may not work on every window, using ResizeEnable isl a good way to resize non-resizable windows

You can grab ResizeEnable from the following links:

Version reviewed: v1.4

Supported OS: Windows 98 and higher

Download size: 42 KB

Malware scan: VirusTotal scan results – (0/43)

ResizeEnable homepage [direct download]

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24 comments

  1. Dru

    I use FileBox eXtender and FlashFolder. On some dialogs where one of those two programs automatically resizes the dlgbox (configurable; e.g. File Open), RE prevented proper operation and rescaled. Just mentioning. So for me, instead of auto-running at login I run when I need it–I find FileBox eXtender and FlashFolder indispensible.

  2. Dru

    Thx so much for posting this gem. One of my items lower in the priority stack was to find just such an app. Not only does it allow resizing but also scaling. This is golden for my Outlook rules that display in the Alert box. Now I can resize and see more than just two (when I resize the subject line it adds a vertical scrollbox which means only 2 items display). I couldn’t get another window to display (library web site), but I’m sure it’s no match for ResizeEnable! Yahoo! Oh, btw, I use WinSplitRevolution and a hotkey resizes that non-resizable web window (and the Outlook alerts)… however, it doesn’t scale the contents like RE.

  3. Robert from Boston

    Ashraf –

    Thanks for passing this on to us! I know there are a few programs or recurrent dialogue windows that I keep running into that are VERY frustrating due to not being resizeable (I think a couple are even neither resizeable nor scrollable, which is a SUPER pain, ’cause it cuts off file pathnames etc.!). Funny thing is I can’t remember what programs they are in, offhand – but I’ll be waiting for the little buggers next time they cross my path, now! I do know that many of them are in Microsoft products, which I have always found particularly irritating, MSoft being the company that likes to tell everyone ELSE they need to follow the correct programming standards.

    Considering the above, I found that part of the “readme” file for ResizeEnable gave me a good laugh, and I can’t refrain from quoting it here, for the amusement of anyone else who hasn’t read the readme. ResizeEnable’s author states:
    “Some Microsoft applications have dialogs that can be resized, but none of their contents
    move. This is down to the fact that the contents of the dialog ARE NOT STANDARD
    MICROSOFT CONTROLS! They are some bastardisation written specially for the application.
    They may look like normal buttons/drop downs, but they sure as heck aren’t! Hence,
    ResizeEnable can’t tell them to move or resize. Yet again, Microsoft ignore their own
    codebase and reinvent the wheel. And people wonder why their applications are so big..”

    Ya just gotta laugh….

  4. Eddy

    @Leslie:
    Well, ‘laziness’ sounded a bit harsh. I meant that it requires extra effort of the programmer, especially if the window contains graphics, as you mentioned. So it requires less time to program a non-resizeable window than a resizeable one.
    What Win98 is concerned, I would think that resizing is not more complicated on Win98 than it is on say Win 7.
    You trap the WM_SIZE message and relocate and resize the controls as needed…

  5. Josh

    Thanks. While on the subject, does anybody know of a way to prevent Device Manager to stop cascading all items, that have been disabled previously, every time you make a new change? It’s annoying to have to scroll past all the cascaded items every time you want to change something below those items. The Device Manager window can be enlarged by default and the cascaded items can be closed, but as soon as you change something, all the disabled items are immediately cascaded again and you have to scroll all the way down past them to get to another item. When you disable a number of items, the cascaded items make the list very long.

  6. Locutus
    Author/

    @Leslie: Interesting to hear it from the POV of a software developer. I feel sorry for you almost–Windows 98?! When was it discontinued–around 2006, I believe? Ouch.
    That said, please don’t enable resizing on all your windows. Especially ones with lots of graphics. =/

  7. Leslie

    @Eddy: As a software developer I can tell you that it is not due to laziness but due to the fact that many of us have to program for the lowest denominator – for me until 2 years ago we still supported Windows 98. Now we only support XP minimum. Why ? Because some features are only available from certain versions of the Win32 API and at various times of the lifespan of an application it gets “held” back by this legacy support.

    But also, depending upon the nature of the window, resources like graphics images are non-resizable and so why would you allow resizing – you would be the first to complain that it looked tacky. BUT, if a dialog does lend itself to resizing then I seen no reason not to allow it.

    That I am afraid is the nature of real world development, especially in the business arena where companies do not upgrade their OS every time Microsoft blinks.

  8. David Roper

    This is the best utility I have found in the years 2010 and so far, 2011. Thanks to the programmer and DotTech for it.

    What’s the best method to make this part of my OS every time I launch WIN7? Startup menu?

  9. ZappedSparky

    Thanks Locutus, it works on a couple of windows I use regularly. I wonder why they COULDN’T be rezized? Especially with monitors getting ever bigger. Well, they do now, cheers.

    EDIT: Vista home premium.