Workarounds: Plan Explorer / SentryOne Client Won't Maximize

Aaron Bertrand

Published On: June 7, 2017

Categories: Plan Explorer, SentryOne, Windows 5

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.

Aaron (@AaronBertrand) is a Data Platform MVP with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. He is editor-in-chief of the performance-related blog, Aaron's blog focuses on T-SQL bad habits and best practices, as well as coverage of updates and new features in Plan Explorer, SentryOne, and SQL Server.