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One of our project machine(WinXP) is installed with a software(HMI) that monitors a bunch of devices. The machine is setup such as that whenever the machine boots up, it'll automatically starts the HMI software. You don't get to see any WinXp interface at all.No Start button, no task bar.... nothing. Quiting the HMI software will shutdown the machine. In addition, the HMI software blocks certain keys combination such as Alt-Tab, Alt-F4 etc etc except Ctrl-Alt-Dlt.

Whenever a user starts IE from the HMI software(a launcher), the IE appears in front of the HMI software GUI. The issue is that, whenever the user clicks at the HMI GUI, the IE will hide behind the HMI GUI and there is no way to call it back. Thus, user will have to launch another IE from the HMI to use it again.

Is there a way, to force IE to always be in front although something behind the IE is clicked? Please advise.

I can access the normal WinXp interface by logging in the HMI software as admin. Then closing the HMI will return me to the WinXP interface.

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See the free Eusing Auto Window Manager:

Auto Window Manager automatically manages any window you specify. For instance, some web browsers open up in a non-maximized window. Using Auto Window Manager, you can set those windows to automatically maximize (minimize, normal, minimize to tray, stay on top) every time they opened. It works with almost any program, including web browsers, Notepad, etc. Auto Window Manager stays running in the system tray, so it stays out of your way while it works.

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Wow! +1 for that great find :) – alex Sep 11 '09 at 9:51
thanks for the link... I just tried out Auto Window Manager... It does exactly what I'm looking for...forces IE to stay on top during next launch or system reboot.. but the Registration Window appears everytime the system starts up unless I register/donate for it... still a great piece of software nonetheless.. – jjplaw Sep 11 '09 at 10:00

PowerMenu adds items in the System Menu of all applications, including an "Always on top" option.

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thanks for the link... just tried it... works great but it only applies for the specific IE window... I'm looking for something that force IE to stay on top forever(next startup) – jjplaw Sep 11 '09 at 9:40

Try using ProcessMonitor to achieve this. After installing it, right click on Internet Explorer in the taskbar and choose Always on top. This change is not permanent, though. It's only until the window is closed.

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thanks for the link... just tried it also... works great but it only applies for the specific IE window... I'm looking for something that force IE to stay on top forever(next startup)... Thanks though – jjplaw Sep 11 '09 at 9:41
That really is tough, I'll give you that :). I'll edit my answer to say it's not permanent. – alex Sep 11 '09 at 9:45

you can run Internet Explorer in 'kiosk mode'

just add the the switch -k to your shortcut.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Kiosk Mode:

CTRL+A Select all (editing)

CTRL+B Organize favorites

CTRL+C Copy (editing)

CTRL+F Find (on current page)

CTRL+H View History folder

CTRL+L Open Location dialog box

CTRL+N New window (opens in non-Kiosk mode)

CTRL+O Open Location dialog box (same as CTRL+L)

CTRL+P Print

CTRL+R Refresh


CTRL+V Paste (editing)

CTRL+W Close (same as ALT+F4)

CTRL+X Cut (editing)

ALT+F4 Close



ESC Stop

F5 Refresh

to close IE use Alt + F4

Source: MSKB

share|improve this answer
thanks for the tip... though not what i'm looking for at the moment... i need to IE to operate normally except that it just stays on top all the time.... anyway, thanks again... i learned something new today :) – jjplaw Sep 14 '09 at 1:36

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