Applications Stealing Focus on Windows XP


One of the most annoying “features” of Windows (9x/2000/XP) is the fact, that any application can steal the focus of the front-most application: I repeatedly sent [lbaum][] snippets of code or some command-line when he was contacting me via AIM or MSN on Windows because that apps would steal the focus of whatever window I was working in. It’s a wonder I never sent him a password of mine or so …

Of course, this same behaviour started to bug me at my new workplace. Thus, I was not only bugged by these intrusive [Windows Notifications][] in the taskbar, I also got the benefit of windows randomly yelling at me during work.


Fortunately, I found a vaccine against this: [Power Toys for Windows XP][], a free download for TweakUI from Microsoft. TweakUI lets you tweak some settings of the Windows UI, including one to “Prevent applications from stealing focus”:

Check “Prevent applications from stealing focus” to prevent applications from stealing focus from the window you are working in. Instead, their taskbar icon will flash to indicate that the application is trying to get your attention. (Emphasis by editor)

Let em try, I say!

Can anybody tell me why

  • Microsoft Power Toys for Windows XP are not part of a standard install?* Microsoft does not include this setting *per default* in a Windows XP install?

Sheeesh …

[Power Toys for Windows XP]: “Microsoft Power Toys for Windows XP”[lbaum]: “Olbaum”[Windows Notifications]: /2004/10/07/os-x-notifications/ “OS X Notifications”


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