MacBook Migrant: RightZoom Is The Solution To Your Mac Window Maximising Woes

MacBook Migrant: RightZoom Is The Solution To Your Mac Window Maximising Woes

Mac OS X doesn’t offer the ability to automatically maximise a window to fill the screen, which can be very frustrating if you prefer to work without distractions (and doubly so if you’re on a notebook with a relatively small screen and have come from a Windows background). Free utility RightZoom solves that problem, changing the green window control from “expand to appropriate size” to maximising to the full width and height of the screen (less the Dock).

That in itself would be enough to recommend RightZoom to many switchers, but it’s also highly customisable. You can set the button to only maximise if you hold the Option key (meaning you have both functions available); set a shortcut key to maximise any window; and even specify which applications will or won’t include the maximise functionality.

We actually featured RightZoom back in 2009, but in the context of Windows users moving to Mac, it’s definitely worth revisiting. It’s hard to exaggerate just how frustrating I’ve personally found not being able to maximise apps, and manually dragging them to near full size was not much of a substitute.

By the way, in line with the spirit of this entire MacBook Migrant project, I don’t want to retread the argument about whether maximising “makes sense” or not. If you find the default settings on Mac OS meet your needs, then you won’t need RightZoom and you can happily ignore it. People who regularly use multiple monitors will also probably want a different solution (if they want a solution at all). But if you’d like to have a Windows-like maximising option on your notebook, then RightZoom adds it for no cost, and with a high degree of customisability as well.


MacBook Migrant is a week-long series of posts highlighting tricks new or aspiring Mac owners familiar with Windows can use to ease the transition.


  • This is one of those little quirks that seems huge when you first make the switch. I must admit, though, after having my macbook for over a year I never even think about the fact I can’t maximise in the “normal” way…

  • To be honest, having windows always fully maximised is reducing the functionality of OS X.

    The design of the Mac OS is that you should be able to have many windows visible on screen at once so you can drag and drop easily between them. Unlike Windows, you can click and drag from a window WITHOUT bringing it to the front, which makes having multiple windows on screen very useful.

    Getting the most out of OS X requires a little adjustment in habits compared to Windows — just trying to replicate Windows will… just replicate Windows.

    • On that point, I’ll refer you back to the original post Dan (and idly wonder what happens with all those Lion fullscreen options). Undoubtedly not liking “drag and drop” as a constant metaphor is one of the reasons I personally don’t get on so well with Macs.

      • Yeah, but you did say in that post, “This is not trying to suggest that Windows users should bring all their existing approaches with them. Bringing the attitude that “everything should work the way I’m used to” isn’t sensible in any computing endeavour, since it means you might miss out on much more productive alternatives.”

        • Yes, and the _immediate next sentence_ is ” On the other hand, arguing that someone should (or could) throw out everything they’ve learnt and change their entire approach in one hit isn’t helpful either.” Very selective quoting there Dan!

  • Take a look at HyperDock as well (

    Brings some Windows 7 dock functionality to Mac OSX. I shelled the 10$ mostly for the keyboard shortcuts to manage windows (resize, move, dock) and the screen-edge docking. The window preview is nice, but not critical for me.

  • Thanks Angus, I’ll definitely check that one out. I almost never maximise on my 30 inch monster, but almost always want that when I’m on the road using my Macbook.

  • Ok, I downloaded Rightzoom and gave it a try. It is a little limited on the key configurations I’d like to use, but the main problem with it, is that it does not zoom (maximise) all the way. It still leaves the menu bar and dock on the screen, so it’s not really going full screen.

    And just like Megazoomer it only works on apps written using Cocoa. It won’t work on Carbon apps such as iTunes.

    But I prefer Megazoomer as it really maximises the app to cover the menubar and the dock. The menubar will drop down if you move the mouse to the top of the screen.

  • I use MercuryMover to maximise windows quickly. Just invoke it then press the plus key and you have an instantly maximised window. ¥ou can also use MM for moving windows around and other resizing tricks.

  • I second Better Touch Tool – I do find it hard to get my head around the extra touch gestures, but it’s the free window snap features that rock.

  • Coming from a world of Windows, and especially Win7 to a Mac enviroment was VERY frustrating…. the UI is dated and clumsy.. the lack of basic UI features such as being able to maximise a window, and cut/paste is baffling.. but I fixed those with a $15-20 of simple, effective apps…

    Cinch to give OS.X the (now standard) modern UI feature of AeroSnap from Win7… insanely useful and something you cannot live without once you have used it.

    DockView to give back some, not all, of the AeroPeek feature of Win7.

    And MoveAddict to fix the problem of no cut/paste feature.

    Why not stay with Win7 if I love it so much…. I don’t love it THAT much… I prefer the Mac software/app range, and i LOVE the Mac hardware… but the underlying OS is pedantic, dated and needs a serious modernisation refresh.. they have a chance to do it with Lion… here’s hoping…

Log in to comment on this story!