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I've recently upgraded 2 systems from Fedora 17 to 18 (both with XFCE) and noticed that in both cases there's something odd happening to the upper panel (the one which has the applications menu). Attached is a file which shows the issue.
What happens is that the panel resizes itself automatically, leaving empty gray space on the right side of the screen which does not really look good. What should happen is if there is any empty space between the workspace switcher and the clock it should move the clock to the very right of the screen and this is what I want to achieve. On the other hand; when there are multiple windows opened it fills up the space so the panel looks normally.
Try removing the Window Buttons item and adding it again.
[Edit] I've seen something like this a couple of times. At least... looking at the file you posted it seems that the panel itself is already 100%: what happened to me was that the "Windows Buttons" item's size changed depending on the number of open windows, and all items on the right side sticked to it (clock, workspace selector,...) leaving the right side of the panel empty. What I did was right-clicking on the "Windows Buttons" item (exactly on the five dots you see at the left end of it), removing it, then adding it again with the "Panel preferences" menu: this fixed the thing.
Last edited by Philip Lacroix; 02-06-2013 at 02:08 PM.
I tried it a couple of times but that did not help. I was also trying to shut down xfce4-panel and start it again. I deleted different sections of my panel and added them again and that also did not help. I do not really want to reinstall xfce just because of that...
did you try to create a new panel? You add a new taskbar to it (window buttons) and take all other items from your current panel (right click --> move), check if it works, then delete the original panel. This should work (and now I suspect that's what I actually did :-)
I tried switching from Fluxbox to XFCE on Slackware 14 and I had the same problem... with version 4.10.0, while Debian wheezy still has 4.8.0. In fact the window buttons don't expand anymore and I found that you have to use a separator for the same result: you can add one after the buttons and make it expandable and transparent.
I hope it works on your system too. Now I'm asking myself on which one I solved this differently... if I ever did, because I'm probably mixing things: I tried Fedora last year and eventually dropped it but it was version 16 or 17, and both have XFCE 4.8.3.
That's exactly what fixes the problem!!! It should be documented somewhere because it may really confuse people still new to graphic environments (I'm not new to Linux but still never dealt with separators and that kind of stuff). Nevertheless, thank you again a lot for the effort and that we finally found the solution.