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Prevent Loss of Window Focus?


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#1 Sardonicus

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 07:58 AM

I've searched all over and cannot find any consistent answers (or anything that works), so I've had to come here again. I'm thinking that from now on, I am just going to come here first for everything - you guys are the only ones to seem to know what you're doing.

So, here's the bit, any time a program, ANY program (doesn't matter if it is an installer or what) is not programmed to open or run in the background, if something happens in it, the focus gets stolen from where I am (say Firefox or a Microsoft Word Document), even if the application doesn't actually pop up, then I have to re-click on the program to regain focus and continue working.

The real problem is when things pop up unexpectedly as I am typing and I hit the space bar, which results in my accepting something I may not have wanted to.

Is there any way at all to FORCE a global "stay in the background" for any program that doesn't have focus or to prevent programs from stealing the focus?

I tried the mouse hover trick, but that's an annoyance because if I accidentally bump it off of my active window, whatever one it comes on top of becomes active and is only worth it if I'm working in a full screen window (which is maybe 30% of the time).

I am running Windows 7 Home Premium x64.

Edited by Queen-Evie, 05 May 2012 - 10:00 AM.
Omitted Profanity

Kyle Sardonicus Amadeus Stanfield
Writer, Philosopher, Composer/Musician, Artist
Comprehensive Psychology Major, Troy University
www.impetus-aesthetica.com

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#2 Guest_Xircal_*

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 08:46 AM

Sounds like you've got some kind of virus infection which is feeding you ads.

I'd suggest downloading the free version of Malwarebytes in the first instance and then performing a full system scan.

#3 Sardonicus

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 09:13 AM

No no, I've already done scans (and regularly do them).

I'm talking about actual programs that are supposed to run... say an installer that I set to run, then decided to work on other stuff while it did, as it took a while. Then the installer finishes and pops up to select an option or something, but instead of coming up minimized, it takes the focus away from the window I'm in to it.
Kyle Sardonicus Amadeus Stanfield
Writer, Philosopher, Composer/Musician, Artist
Comprehensive Psychology Major, Troy University
www.impetus-aesthetica.com

#4 Guest_Xircal_*

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 09:21 AM

You need to check with the site you downloaded it from to determine if there's an option to perform a silent installation. That way, the installation takes place in the background and won't interfere with your other work.

#5 Sardonicus

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 09:30 AM

Yes, but, it isn't just installations.

It's also Windows programs. Like say, a program that has to do some form of processing in the background, then it finishes and pops up and takes the focus from my window I'm working in.

For example, Adobe Media Encoder doesn't. Once you start it, you minimise it to the task bar and even when it finishes, or if it hits a snag/error, it will make a sound to let you know, but won't steal the focus.

Other programs will though, even Microsoft programs themselves.
Kyle Sardonicus Amadeus Stanfield
Writer, Philosopher, Composer/Musician, Artist
Comprehensive Psychology Major, Troy University
www.impetus-aesthetica.com

#6 Guest_Xircal_*

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 09:46 AM

Does the application you're using have an option called "Always on top"? If so, enable that.

#7 Sardonicus

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 09:49 AM

I have literally hundreds of programs and not a single one has that option (unless it is say, a full-screen video application). Either way, that doesn't help at all with the 99% of windowed programs I have (as they lack the option)...

Edited by Sardonicus, 05 May 2012 - 09:49 AM.

Kyle Sardonicus Amadeus Stanfield
Writer, Philosopher, Composer/Musician, Artist
Comprehensive Psychology Major, Troy University
www.impetus-aesthetica.com

#8 kisk

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 09:53 AM

Run regedit and navigate to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Control Panel > Desktop

Look for ForegroundLockTimeout

This DWORD controls how long you have to be idle in an app before another app can show focus. If the time has not yet expired, the offending app should just flash in the taskbar. The default should be 30d40 (200000), which is 200000 milliseconds. Maybe yours got set lower or to zero somehow? What is the value of ForegroundLockTimeout you have?

Edited by kisk, 05 May 2012 - 09:53 AM.

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#9 Sardonicus

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 09:56 AM

Run regedit and navigate to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Control Panel > Desktop

Look for ForegroundLockTimeout

This DWORD controls how long you have to be idle in an app before another app can show focus. If the time has not yet expired, the offending app should just flash in the taskbar. The default should be 30d40 (200000), which is 200000 milliseconds. Maybe yours got set lower or to zero somehow? What is the value of ForegroundLockTimeout you have?

I've already attempted this "trick" several times.

It is set to 0. I will (running as administrator) change it and save it, but it always gets reset back to 0. It has done this since day 1 of having Widows 7.
Kyle Sardonicus Amadeus Stanfield
Writer, Philosopher, Composer/Musician, Artist
Comprehensive Psychology Major, Troy University
www.impetus-aesthetica.com

#10 Guest_Xircal_*

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 10:00 AM

Here's a small app for you which should help: Keep window always on top

#11 kisk

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 10:03 AM

It is set to 0. I will (running as administrator) change it and save it, but it always gets reset back to 0. It has done this since day 1 of having Widows 7.


Well this is your problem. We have to figure out why/what is changing this value. Have you ever had any Windows "Tweaking" tools installed?
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#12 Sardonicus

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 10:10 AM

Here's a small app for you which should help: Keep window always on top

I've tried those before and it becomes an annoyance when I am working in multiple windows and having to switch between them because then I have to turn the "keep on top" off for the one and turn it on for the other. I do this a LOT (window switching), say from going back and forth between my browser and Visual Studio, etc.


It is set to 0. I will (running as administrator) change it and save it, but it always gets reset back to 0. It has done this since day 1 of having Widows 7.


Well this is your problem. We have to figure out why/what is changing this value. Have you ever had any Windows "Tweaking" tools installed?

Never, but I a previous investigation of this problem, on one of the official Windows help forums or whatever, one of the like, "volunteer" guys basically said that Microsoft has blocked Windows 7 home premium from changing this setting because "it's not fair to other programmers and they may need the ability to gain the focus and to block that would infringe on their rights" or something to that effect, which to me sounds like a load of crap.

Actually, not too long ago I did a massive software cleaning on this with help from bleepingcomputer, using FRST (or whatever it is) and some other stuff.
Kyle Sardonicus Amadeus Stanfield
Writer, Philosopher, Composer/Musician, Artist
Comprehensive Psychology Major, Troy University
www.impetus-aesthetica.com

#13 kisk

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 10:26 AM

Could be so, but I'm using Win7 Home Premium 64bit as well and do not have this issue. My value is the default (200000 decimal).

Do you have SP1 and all available updates after installed?
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#14 Sardonicus

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 10:29 AM

Could be so, but I'm using Win7 Home Premium 64bit as well and do not have this issue. My value is the default (200000 decimal).

Do you have SP1 and all available updates after installed?

Yes, I do. I regularly maintain my Windows updates, except when they try to get me to install the Bing toolbar to IE (which I don't even use)...
Kyle Sardonicus Amadeus Stanfield
Writer, Philosopher, Composer/Musician, Artist
Comprehensive Psychology Major, Troy University
www.impetus-aesthetica.com

#15 Guest_Xircal_*

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 10:30 AM

Picking up on Kisk's suggestion, maybe you could you try this value instead.




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