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Windows Degrading #n: Foreground windows

Another 'why does windows degrade' question.

This time, my main machine no longer seems to bring windows to the foreground.

I have right now 8 items in my task bar. If I bring one to the front by clicking or alt-tab, it gets the focus, but isn't on top. Well, most of the time. Clicking around through 2-3 other apps will bring the app to the foreground, and the intermediate apps sometimes will and sometimes won't go to the foreground.

I've seen this before, and think it went away after rebuilding the machine and/or running windows update. Supposedly some random windows update caused it. But I hadn't recently run any windows updates when this started.

Anyone else seen this? I can't even figure out what to search for online to find a solution.

mb
Saturday, July 03, 2004

I think XP has a more restrictive "bring to foreground" policy.

Perhaps these apps were written for win9x where you could get away with SetFocus()?

Alex
Saturday, July 03, 2004

I'm not talking about the app itself setting focus, but rather me using alt-tab or clicking on the taskbar. For example, between different Internet Explorer windows.
IE may be the culprit, as it's the hardest to prevent from being on top... maybe I'll reset my IE settings to the factory default and see what happens.

mb
Saturday, July 03, 2004

I get this problem too, and it bugs me.  Maxmised windows seem to be involved.

At one point I suspected my media player (they tend to have funky UI's), also my video drivers (yes I know driver != GDI32 != USER32).

I've never really pinned it down.  For example, my work pc is a pretty vanilla w2k3 install (boring corporate h/w, boring corporate s/w) and it exhibits this problem.

I'm convinced that something I do/install causes it, because I don't remember seeing this problem on other people's computers or base installs.

Very frustrating.

Andrew
Sunday, July 04, 2004

mb, after rereading your post, I have the same behaviour with Firefox: when I go to fullscreen and then back, other windows fail to get focus.

Alex
Sunday, July 04, 2004

Not to mention the annoying Firefox "feature": close a tab with Ctrl-F4, and the underlying tab doesn't get keyboard focus --> you can't scroll with arrows.

Alex
Sunday, July 04, 2004

Well, I reset all my security zone settings, and window overlapping now appears to be mostly normal again.

Yes, you read that right. Some Internet Explorer security setting was affecting window display.

mb
Monday, July 05, 2004

I have this problem too on Windows XP Pro with Internet Explorer 6.0.2800 SP1 (+ all patches).  I have my Internet Zone switched to Prompt on Active Scripting, because I know how many IE vulnerabilities there are (there are always some unpatched ones out there).

I seem to have this foreground problem when I open a web page that is in the Internet Zone and has JavaScript on, i.e. when it pops up a dialog saying "Scripts are usually safe. Do you want to allow scripts to run?".  It doesn't matter whether I answer Yes or No - either way, if I try pressing Alt-Tab or clicking another window in the taskbar immediately afterwards, the application I try and switch to gets the focus but doesn't move into the foreground.

Can anyone else confirm the same cause?

BTW, I have the same security settings on the same version of IE running on Windows 98 SE and on Windows NT 4, and neither exhibit this foreground problem.

Seb
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

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