SentryOne Team Blog (

Workarounds : Plan Explorer / SentryOne client won't maximize

UPDATE 2017-10-27: This issue has been addressed in 11.3.0 (see this blog post).

We've had several customers describe an intermittent issue where they'll minimize Plan Explorer or the SentryOne client and it won't respond to any actions applied to the taskbar icon, such as clicking or right-clicking.

The behavior – while not exclusive to our applications – feels  like there is a modal window somewhere that needs to be dismissed. You may have seen similar issues when an application triggers a UAC prompt (and it disappears behind the app), or when the Windows service manager prompts you if you're really sure you want to restart SQL Server from Object Explorer (but that prompt hides behind SSMS).

We've got a bug logged in our system, #17489, but we need to do a lot more research into what exactly is causing this problem, and how we can address it. Initially we thought there were common threads (such as Windows 10 and/or multiple monitors), but it later turned out that the problem was seen elsewhere as well. We've had trouble investigating the issue because it is so intermittent and there are no clear repro steps.

But I do have some workarounds for you in the meantime:

  • The simplest way (courtesy Andy Mallon) is to minimize all windows by pressing + D, then right-click the relevant taskbar icon and choose Maximize. On more modern versions of Windows, this means right-clicking on the "peek" thumbnail icon you get when you hover, not the shortcut on the taskbar:

    Taskbar peek icons

  • Mike Walsh (@mike_walsh) says that right-clicking the taskbar icon and choosing Cascade windows resolves the issue.
  • On newer versions of Windows, you can open Task Manager and right-click on the Plan Explorer child  process, where you'll find an array of options that might work:

    Task Manager

  • A few customers have reported this happening when Plan Explorer seemed to be a victim as a child process of Management Studio, which can only happen if you've launched PE via the SSMS add-in. In almost all cases, you are better off generating a plan from within Plan Explorer anyway, which should also prevent this particular manifestation. If you still want to generate plans in SSMS first, then as a workaround, you could save the .sqlplan file to your disk, and then manually open it from Plan Explorer or the SentryOne client.
  • One customer said:
      "In my experience though it's always when I'm running with multiple monitors, the client is on the 2nd monitor and I grab my laptop to head to a meeting. It still seems to think it's running on the other screen. And – on reboot it often still remembers where it was and won't open on the laptop screen. I just try to remember before disconnecting or closing it down to drag it back to the main monitor and I don't have any issues."

Please let me know in the comments below, or at, if you have other workarounds – or if these don't work for you.

5 replies on “Workarounds : Plan Explorer / SentryOne client won't maximize”

5 Comments (Comments are now closed.)
  1. This only seems to happen for me when there is actually a plan open – i.e. I'm not on the Start Page. and Cascade doesn't work for me I'm afraid. Irritating but, hey, it's free.

  2. I always start Plan Explorer as a standalone application, never from SSMS and can reproduce the problem 1-2 times a week. Windows 7 with 2 monitors, but they never get deattached, it's just a normal desktop computer. I rarely restart my computer (maybe once a week). I have a feeling that the problem surfaces mostly when I have more than one instance of Plan Explorer open.

    Btw, it took me a couple of minutes to find the context menu with Maximize function. If you just click on the icon in the taskbar you get "Pin this program to taskbar/New instance/Recent files etc.". You need to either Shift-right click in the taskbar or hover over the taskbar and right-click the individual windows then shown for the context menu with Maximize.

  3. I've seen this a few times with Plan Explorer; usually holding down the Windows key and hitting either the up, left, or right arrow will bring it back into focus.