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Is there a handy powertoy-like program I can use to kill the always-on-top mode of the most bothersome windows?

Too bad that the programs I find useful and like to co-exist with other open programs (multitasking in common sense) set their window to always-on-top.

I.e. Canon PhotoStitch does this on Windows 7 while loading or merging images, a long time window during which I'd like to be able to use another program, but alas no. PhotoStitch is awesome, but not that awesome.

The dream is a program that runs in the background and automatically reverts all always-on-top API calls, except for a whitelist, like task switcher, Task Manager, Process Explorer, and any antivirus whose alerts actually could be important.

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  • "Always-on-top" should always be an opt-in option!? Are you sure these applications aren't just receiving focus, at which time they will be brought to the front? Many applications will be brought to the front when loading, but this is different to "always-on-top".
    – MrWhite
    Aug 16, 2010 at 14:12
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    Yes, when I am unable to bring another window to the top (I can focus it, but it'll remain in the background), I'm pretty sure that is because a windows was set to always-on-top. Now that is a conscious design flaw of the ones behind that program. Aug 16, 2010 at 14:23
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    Can you come up with any good reason why a program should be always-on-top? Any reason why splash screens should block other windows for several seconds? I haven't seen any legitimate, only misuse, except for some system security related ones, like UAC, but that's another story. Aug 16, 2010 at 14:24
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    I think always on top is ok if the application provides an option to control this behaviour (WinAmp comes to mind, they've been doing just this). Sometimes the behaviour can be desired by the user, but the programmers shouldn't decide for every possible user that they should desire...
    – Mephane
    Apr 11, 2011 at 13:40
  • Besides looking for a technical solution please also contact the software vendor and issue a change request/bug report. Hopefully if enough people complain they'll change it. Oct 17, 2013 at 15:38

4 Answers 4

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Yep, there's actually a program that does this, I just couldn't recall the name of it until now. It's called WinExplorer, by Nirsoft. It has an option, under the Size & Position tab, called "Set To No Topmost" that will remove the "always on top" flag from a window. It's an old app, but I'm still using it right now on Windows 7, to fix that annoying issue that crops up from time to time where sometimes windows will inadvertently get set as always on top after using "Show Desktop".

http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/winexp.html

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  • Works like a charm with Cygwin Terminal (which doesn't have an option to turn off always-on-top. Jun 1, 2017 at 12:35
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    @Artery I tried it on Windows 10, and it works for me.
    – nephewtom
    Feb 15, 2019 at 17:49
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    I still need to disable always on top manually for every window. Do you have something that does that automatically? May 19, 2020 at 7:35
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    I love NirSoft's stuff. I use 7+ Taskbar Tweaker for Windows 10, which lets you break up windows so that multiple windows from the same application arent' forced to move with each other on the taskbar. Super helpful. Feb 12, 2021 at 23:53
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    I found it in the directory where I keep my NirSoft tools, but it is now called WinLister, which works great, and is the reason for my +1 on this answer. Dec 28, 2023 at 21:53
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I've created a small program that disables the Always On Top mode for all programs while it's running. If you open the program at startup and let it run in the background while you're using your computer, programs will never be in Always On Top mode.

You can download a ZIP file with the executable and the necessary DLLs here.

If you're interested in the source code, you can find it here.

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This AutoIT script will let you manually set On Top for any open window: http://www.autoitscript.com/forum/topic/81398-window-manager-set-title-visibility-rename-etc-window-changing-stuff/

If you don't have AutoIT installed, a compiled version is here

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  • Works, thanks! But the exe-file is marked as malicious file by Windows 10
    – Artery
    Mar 18, 2018 at 16:30
-1

AutoHotkey can also toggle this option with the Ctrl - F11 keyboard shortcut This is provided in the default script

https://www.autohotkey.com/

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  • Please put an excerpt from the linked page to your answer: When the link goes down your answer will lose its base. This is not a "Link only" answer, but quite close...
    – Tode
    Apr 29, 2021 at 14:57

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