How to Make Pidgin Remember Window Positions in Windows

If you use Pidgin for instant messaging and can't figure out why it puts message windows in the upper-left corner no matter how many times you move them elsewhere on the screen, I've got the plugin for you.
Published: Jun 17, 2007
Author: Jordan Running
Related OS: OS X / Windows / Linux
All-in-one messengers
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GAIM 1.5.0
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PidginIn my article last week about all-in-one, multi-network instant messaging programs (Goodbye, Buddy List Shuffle) I recommended the open source Pidgin (formerly Gaim) as one alternative to keeping three or four IM programs on your desktop at a time. I whole-heartedly recommended Pidgin and still do, but it's not without its quirks.

One quirk that I've been wrangling with is the fact that, on Windows, Pidgin cannot and will not "remember" where on your desktop a message window was the last time it was open. In other words, if your mom IMs you and you drag her IM window to, say, the lower-right corner of her screen, when she IMs you again tomorrow Pidgin will put her Window back in the upper-left. Infuriatingly, this seems to be by design, and despite the fact that users expect programs to remember their size and position between sessions (because nearly all applications are smart enough to do so), Pidgin's developers appear totally apathetic to these facts, seemingly borrowing a line from Microsoft's playbook: "It's a feature, not a bug!"

Fortunately, not everyone in the Pidgin community is deaf to these concerns. An independent developer name Michael Sartain has built a plugin called Windows Position Manager (or ExtPos for short) that forces Pidgin to remember where you stuck that conversation window last session. Unfortunately, he's hidden it away in a SourceForge tracker thread, making it nigh ungoogleable. I'm hoping this article will help point a few Pidgin users in its direction. Here's how to install Sartain's plugin:

  1. Go to the SourceForge page, scroll all the way down to Attached Files, and download the latest .zip file matching your version of Pidgin (I'd recommend installing the latest version of Pidgin first).

  2. Unzip the file (try 7-Zip if you don't already have a utility for extracting zip files) and extract it to you Pidgin plugins folder, which is probably C:\Program Files\Pidgin\plugins\.

    Pidgin plugins
  3. In Pidgin, go to Tools > Plugins and scroll down to ExtPos. Click on the checkbox next to ExtPos to enable the plugin, then click on the Configure Plugin button. That's it!

If you want, you can click on the Configure Plugin button to edit some extra options, but that's optional. Once you've enabled it, it will start remembering your conversations' sizes and positions. It does so according to window title, which means you'll have to do it on a per-buddy basis, but it's much, much better than nothing.

About Jordan Running

Blogger since 1999, Jordan Running went pro in 2005 and never looked back. Sometimes programmer, occasional photographer, and serial tinkerer, he decided to to switch to Linux in 2001 but just hasn't quite gotten around to it yet.

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