Why can't we minimize the editor during heavy operation?


Many of us don't like the time editor sometime take to reload / recompile, that's one thing.

The other thing I don't like is the fact that during these loading times, we can't minimize the editor, to access our desktop (talking about windows, idk for Mac/Linux). This is also true for all in editor heavy operation such as building the game, building navmesh, import textures...

Is there a technical reason why we can't minimize the editor and let it run in the background during long "Hold on" time?
I already know the shortcuts to access other apps while waiting, but having the editor blocking a screen is anoying for multiple reasons.

(Edited the post to avoid some misunderstanding)

Because this behaviour is built into the OS? It would also be annoying AF if the editor minimized every time it does something for a few seconds.

Press Win+D to access your desktop, and press it again to go back to the previous state. ;)

Alt-Tab never stopped existing.

I'm talking of a user input on the minimize window button.

Thank for the tip, but it doesn't work on my computer (other apps don't minimize too, so maybe my company disabled this shortcut).

I always do this, but your desktop icons arn't accessible because Unity still hide them.

Man, who has shortcuts on their desktop in 2024? Windows is so good at searching for stuff, I just slap the Windows button and search up what I need. Can leave my desktop completely bare (save for some cool art spread across two screens).

Regardless, use Win+E to open explorer, and you can access the folder for your desktop from there. But that's so Windows XP.

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To answer the actual question: the Editor wasn't designed for it. The "single thread" that drives all the execution of all the C# code in your scripts and editor tools is the SAME single thread that the OS is trying to communicate with about clicks, window painting, and other app-level concerns. So if the C# code is rockin', the OS can't come a-knockin'.

It should have been designed with a working thread and a service thread, but the time to architect that into the app was about twenty years ago, and would be nigh impossible to refactor it in now.


Wait, my heavy export just finished, and the Win+D I did 50 minutes ago executed right now!
So your tip doesn't work (Windows 10), and Unity also prevent the other windows to be minimized with the shortcut!

To stay on the actual question, thanks halley, that is what I imagined.

Question for Unity's dev: is it something you are looking to change in the future?

This isn't what you want to hear but I just got a second build machine and I push / pull code over to it (git source control FTW) when it is time to build my app... otherwise I just work in the Unity editor without building.

If you're doing your own long-running thing there is an Editor Coroutines package you can do that keeps your editor nice and responsive while you're doing long-timeframe tasks.

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