After a recent version change, my Emacs 24.5 is now making its initial frame (window) "sticky" on launch. I am having to unstick it manually, which is a royal pain. I tried using the Emacs variable initial-frame-alist to make it not sticky, but this does not seem to work.

Here is what C-h v says about the variable:

initial-frame-alist is a variable defined in `frame.el'.
Its value is ((sticky) (vertical-scroll-bars))
Original value was nil

Note that (sticky) means (sticky . nil).

Some more diagnostic information:

  1. When I launch my normal emacs with init file, the resulting window is sticky

  2. When I launch using emacs -q (no init file), then run the init file (either with M-x eval-buffer or with M-x load-file), the resulting window is not sticky.

  3. I am running desktop-save-mode. When I launch a second emacs while the first is running, the initial frame opens with the initial settings, and it prompts me that the desktop file is already in use by another process—should I use it? At that point the window is not sticky. But after I respond n and the initialization process finishes, the window then becomes sticky.

I'd appreciate any help diagnosing the source of the stickiness and putting a stop to it. My .emacs file is shown at http://pastebin.com/6tdc0dPM. Please treat it gently; it's the result of over 30 years of accretion.

  • Have you looked into the last line of the init file?
    – p_wiersig
    Apr 26, 2016 at 22:40
  • @p_wiersig yes, that line (add-to-list 'initial-frame-alist '(sticky . nil)) was my attempt to turn the stick property off. It seems to have no effect. (But see my ETA above.) Apr 30, 2016 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


It turns out that the sticky property was set in my saved desktop, and that executing (desktop-save-mode 1) was enough to turn it on.

I solved the problem by using emacs -q to edit the desktop save file to remove the (sticky . t) from a property list.

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