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Thread: Who is on Top!

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    Who is on Top!

    Since loading the 1803 update it seems as after some period of time and/or some circumstance - newly started applications do not show up on top of an existing application.

    ie. I have a browser window up on the screen and start up notepad so I can do something with it - notepad will start, however it won't get on top of the browser window. If I diminish the browser window notepad is there waiting for me.

    If I reboot the system then things work normally - for a while.

    1803 OS Build 17134.112

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    WS Lounge VIP Lugh's Avatar
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    Does this happen with any existing program, or only with your browser? If latter, which browser do you use?

    If you refocus to the new app—eg Notepad in your example—does it keep the focus, or is it stolen again? If latter, stolen by the same culprit or a different one?

    Trying to get a feel for how random this is, or if maybe there's a pattern. Run a malware scan if you haven't recently.

    I've had irritating focus steals before, but never a total steal by a program. Eg my Logitech mouse likes to do a daily two-second appearance in Taskbar and minimize full-screen programs, and various pop-up notifications—eg got mail or scan results—have gotten in the way. Nothing major like your problem.

    Have a look in Task Manager to see if there's anything running you don't recognize. Check the Startup tab to make sure nothing's starting that you don't need.

    Sort on the Services tab & take a screenshot of the running ones. When the focus problem happens next, quickly press Alt+F4 [should stop the active process] and take another screenshot. It's a bit hit & miss, but you might identify the problem via the difference between the running processes in the screenshots.
    A similar idea is to keep the Services tab visible, sorted by running, and try to spot what process becomes active at the same time as the problem occurs.

    If that doesn't provide a clue, Process Monitor from SysInternals might show you some process which just launched at the time the problem happened.
    I haven't used it, but I've read Window Focus Logger has a good rep.

    Chances are it's some background process like a helper, reporter or monitor which is misbehaving.
    Last edited by Lugh; 2018-06-18 at 21:52.
    Lugh.
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    The issue happens no matter what application is on top. If I have, say, Google Earth up (in full screen mode) to access any other application I have to diminish GE to get to the selected application. This type of action will continue with all applications until I reboot the machine; then accessing any application will put on top of any other currently operational application.

    Task Manager right now with only the browser (Chrome) and Task Manager as the only applications running indicate that there are 88 Window Processes and 95 Background Processes. It has been several days since I have rebooted the system.

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    WS Lounge VIP Lugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmi16 View Post
    Task Manager right now with only the browser (Chrome) and Task Manager as the only applications running indicate that there are 88 Window Processes and 95 Background Processes.
    I have 4 other apps running, 78 Window Processes, 52 Background Processes & ~100 Services.

    Looks like you have a lot going on in Background, your 95 nearly double my 52. I don't know enough to advise further.

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    Gold Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Just a jump in the dark here but focus1.JPG
    maybe check this setting

    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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    Gold Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Also starting in safe mode w/o a bunch of those tasks running might shed some light ...
    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wavy View Post
    Just a jump in the dark here but focus1.JPG
    maybe check this setting

    My issues are not with Notepad per se. I just used that as a convenient example. It also happens when opening Word, Excel, Google Earth, Garmin BaseCamp, AiM Race Studio Analysis or any other application I start or may want to bring to the top if it is already open.

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    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    The component responsible for managing/computing the windows z-order (i.e. which window is topmost) is called win32k.sys.

    It's possible that the reason win32k.sys isn't computing a correct z-order may be down to timing, i.e. the amount of processing your PC is carrying out isn't giving enough priority to win32k.sys. A quick way to help check this is to turn off all background app processing (which, by default, happens even if you're not using them), if only temporarily, to see if the problem goes away:

    1. Open Task Manager and check the total usage shown for CPU.
    2. Go to Settings > Privacy > Background apps > Let apps run in the background and toggle the default to OFF.
    3. Swap back to Task Manager and see if the amount of CPU usage drops within a minute or two.

    If this makes no difference then I suggest doing a check of the core components using the System File Checker tool. Have a look at this Microsoft article about how to use the System File Checker tool (after using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool first).

    Hope this helps...

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    wavy (2018-06-27)

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    Gold Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Rick
    Settings > Privacy > Background apps > Let apps run in the background
    Can't believe I never knew about that setting !!
    Thanks!

    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  11. #10
    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wavy
    Can't believe I never knew about that setting !!
    Glad to help. It's actually just a simple registry setting in the 'Current User' hive (HKCU) so you can toggle it on and off with .REG files:

    Code:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    ; Privacy - Background apps - ALL Background apps - Turn OFF
    
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search]
    "BackgroundAppGlobalToggle"=dword:00000000
    Code:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    ; Privacy - Background apps - ALL Background apps - Turn ON (the default setting)
    
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search]
    "BackgroundAppGlobalToggle"=dword:00000001
    Hope this helps...

    (If you have AutoHotkey installed then it's even easier... you can just toggle the setting with a keyboard combo if you want. )
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2018-06-27 at 12:17.

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