Set Mouse Focus (bring Window to foreground)?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Jamie T. from the UK writes:

" Dear Dennis,

When I hover my mouse pointer over a window, it automatically brings that window to the front. I don't understand why this happening all the sudden. I can't seem to find any settings in the Control Panel where I can stop the mouse from stealing focus. Can you help? "

My response:

The mouse focus setting may be the result of a program you recently installed. At any rate, you can adjust mouse focus (enable or disable) it with a freeware Microsoft utility, called TweakUI (a part of the PowerToys collection). A download link will follow at the end of this article.

Once TweakUI is installed to your system, initiate it. Assuming you're running Windows XP, click Start -> Programs -> PowerToys for Windows XP -> TweakUI to launch the program.

There are two options in TweakUI you can change to adjust the mouse focus:

1. Expand the 'Mouse' category on the far left, and click the sub-category 'X-Mouse.' In the right-hand panel, ensure that Activation follows X-Mouse is *not* enabled. Note that when x-mouse style window activation *is* enabled, you need only move the mouse into the window in order to give it focus (normally you must click on a window in order to give it focus).

2. Expand the 'General' category and click on the sub-category 'Focus.' In the right-hand panel, check the box labeled "Prevent applications from stealing focus" and set a preference for how many times you want the Window to flash when an event occurs.

To download PowerToys / TweakUI for Windows NT, 9x, ME, and 2000:

To start TweakUI, go to the Control Panel (Start -> Settings -> Control Panel).

And for Windows XP:

To start TweakUI, use the TweakUI shortcut in your Start Menu (not the Control Panel), or run \windows\system32\tweakui.exe.

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