This question already has an answer here:

I have Windows XP Profesional here and it gets very annoying when an application that I launched five minutes ago finally brings up its main window and steals focus from the email that I'm writing (or other currently focused window). Is there any way, native to Windows XP, that I can disable this? I know some applications will just blink their title bar on the Taskbar rather than stealing focus, but they don't all behave this nicely.

I am working in a corporate environment, so there may be a limit on what extras/tools can be installed. Also, I am not sure I have access to regedit (and even if I do, Helpdesk will probably not be amused if they find I'm using it).

marked as duplicate by Tog, mpy, Heptite, David, Kevin Panko Feb 1 '14 at 5:48

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.


As provided by this tips & tricks article:

To prevent applications from stealing the focus from the window you are working in:

  1. Start Regedit
  2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
  3. Edit the key ForegroundLockTimeout
  4. Give it a value of 00030d40

You should have permission to modify this as a regular user (a corporate administrator could still lock down the setting if they really wanted to - I wouldn't see why, though). If editing the registry is not something you're comfortable with, you might also look at the program TweakXP and search for an option titled "Prevent other applications from stealing focus"

  • Very useful article list. Thanks. – Chris Nava Oct 4 '10 at 20:15
  • Or use Microsoft's "Tweak UI"...microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx – Moab Oct 4 '10 at 20:16
  • If that is the same registry key that TweakUI for XP changed, it never worked for me. – paradroid Oct 4 '10 at 20:17
  • Another setting in TweakUI that never worked for me, is the option to hide the mouse pointer while typing. I'm still looking for a way to do that, many years later! – paradroid Oct 4 '10 at 20:18
  • doesn't work for me either. Vuze for example when moving a bunch of data files steals the focus after every torrent it has moved... meaning about once in 30 seconds. If you move 20 files that can go on for about 10 minutes, great! Regardless I would like to even disable flashing the taskbar. Since with an autohiding taskbar that keeps it from hiding unless you give the program focus just for the sake of hiding the taskbar again :-( – ufotds Feb 23 '11 at 15:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.