I didn't have this happening on Mint 17.1.

On Mint 18.1 and also Mint 19.3 MATE, with a dual-monitor setup, and the external monitor being primary, the menu bar covers up the lower part of any maximized window (Firefox, Terminal, etc.) making some screen content inaccessible. This is especially a problem with Terminal, since I can then never see the prompt and what I'm typing there.

Terminal in particular for some reason has different results depending on what I set the "Application font" to in the Appearances applet, which affects the size of the menu bar but not the size of the Terminal output. At 16 pt font it only half-covers the last line:

The menu bar covering only the lower half of the words "as you can see" typed into a maximized Terminal window.

But at 14 pt font, it covers the whole last line:

The menu bar covering the entire prompt line of a maximized Terminal window.

16 pt seems to be a sweet spot---10 pt or less and 20 pt for example both cover most or all of the last Terminal line, just like 14 pt. More than 20 pt starts to cover multiple lines. But in any case, it's a no-go for Terminal windows and also for the bottom of web sites being hidden in browser windows.

If I make the laptop built-in primary, I do not have this issue on that screen. Only the external. The problem is, I don't want the tiny screen to be where apps launch by default, otherwise I wouldn't have an external in the first place.

Unmaximizing and remaximizing a window does not solve the issue.

Is there any way to fix this?

If not, is there any way to move the menu bar to the laptop screen, but have the external screen still be considered primary for the purpose of new window creation?

Update regarding potential workarounds

  1. If I disable the laptop screen, and just use the external, the problem goes away. (Obviously this isn't a solution though if I want to use both screens.)
  2. The "Autohide" and "Show hide buttons" options do not work for my case because while the menu bar is hidden, I cannot see (at a glance) unread status indicators in app title bars, the clock, or system tray icons.
  3. Side orientation doesn't work well for me because I need to make the bar huge in order to have the same amount of app title bar width for readability, and also makes my app windows skinnier than works for me (Google Docs in a web browser, for instance, creates a horizontal scrollbar, when there's a comment column and it's zoomed in for readability.)
  4. Top orientation seemed promising---Fitz' law for closing apps apparently died sometime in the mid-90's on most OSes for supposed aesthetic reasons anyway---but Chromium, oddly, does not play well with it all, taking up the whole screen and covering up the menu bar even though it's not supposed to be coverable. (Could be a bug in Chromium, MATE, or both...but that's already true of the main issue here in bottom orientation as well.)
  • Auto-hide of the taskbar is an acceptable alternative?
    – marc
    Jan 20, 2017 at 14:20
  • Is this what you want to achieve: unix.stackexchange.com/questions/80745/… ?
    – marc
    Jan 20, 2017 at 14:23
  • @mmmint no I like to see the taskbar, sorry.
    – Kev
    Jan 20, 2017 at 14:29
  • @mmmint no as stated, I am already able to move the bar between monitors. The trouble is that it behaves well on my laptop screen, but not my external monitor, where it covers up maximized apps for some reason.
    – Kev
    Jan 20, 2017 at 14:30
  • One half-workaround is to use the launch shortcut (under "Keyboard shortcuts", it's "Show the panel's main menu") to launch apps--wherever the cursor is when you hit this keyboard shortcut, the app you choose launches. Upside: best way to pick the monitor for the new app. Downside: have to get to know the menu hierarchy if you were used to typing a bit of your desired app's name, instead.
    – Kev
    Feb 11, 2017 at 13:39

2 Answers 2


Acceptable workaround for me was to enable Show hide buttons in the Panel properties (just below autohide option, package mate-desktop 1.22.2-1~18.04.york0).

This adds 2 small buttons on each side of the panel and when you click on either the panel gets hidden.

I rarely need to see that small part of the screen so this workaround is good enough for me.

  • That sounds promising. Does pressing the windows key still open the menu OK? Or how can you unhide the menu when you need it, e.g. to access tray icons?
    – Kev
    Feb 1, 2021 at 12:55
  • 1
    I'm using this workaround for the bottom Panel where I have just Show Desktop, Window List and Workspace Switcher items. The 2 buttons get added on the both ends of the Panel and the other items are moved towards the center a bit to make the space for the 2 buttons. You unhide the Panel by clicking on the same button again.
    – torson
    Feb 2, 2021 at 15:36
  • Nice, my version has it too, I see what you mean. I'll try it out—I do miss having the clock at a glance, but this is definitely useful! Thanks!
    – Kev
    Feb 3, 2021 at 7:35
  • Well, +1 for the idea and your followup, at least. It doesn't happen to suit my needs in the end, but it was worth a shot, and hopefully others will find it useful. (I installed a separate clock app...no problem...but then noticed the "⚫" and other unread indicators used in app title bars are not available at-a-glance either, and something that can display that is harder to add than a clock app.)
    – Kev
    Feb 4, 2021 at 15:26
  • I'm guessing you're using a single bottom Panel. I find having 2 Panels much better, one at the bottom for Show Desktop, Window List and Workspace Switcher items and one at the top for Menu, App icons, Tray icons, System monitor and Date clock.
    – torson
    Feb 5, 2021 at 8:50

Seeing something similar on whatever runs on AWS Workspaces (A2L? w/Mate)

I just discovered if you right click the "taskbar", ie "Panel", and click the Properties, you can "Show hide buttons", which lets you manually show/hide the bar. This looks like a good enough workaround for me.

  • Thanks @xdhmoore but this isn't what I'm looking for—c.f. the comments below the original question. Hopefully it helps others though.
    – Kev
    Feb 26, 2020 at 10:42

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