In Windows XP, Alt-tab keypress sequence to select applications, how can I ensure that certain applications always appear, in a certain order, with others always excluded?

Background for asking is that most XP-based machines that I am working with on a shop floor present the list of shortcuts in a certain order and certain applications.

There is one machine however, that displays an additional application. This is a hindrance to the users of the machines, as the nature of their work is routine and this variation disrupts the remembered sequence, "disrupts their flow".


Being a good superuser, I research first before asking, and I found:

  1. Applications randomly alt-tab? (especially full screen games)

  2. Restore Alt-Tab behavior so that minimizing an app once again moves it to the end?

(2. looks close to the control I need, but would need more finer, preciser control over what appears in the selection).



Use autohotkey script to assign ALT-x (or control or whatever to minimize conflict with your commonly used softwares) to activate a determined window. For example:

SetTitleMatchMode, 2
^1:: WinActivate, Notepad
^2:: WinActivate, Firefox

If you don't want to use autohotkey for this purpose, just slow down when you press ALT-TAB.


Thoughts. If all you really want to do is bring specific apps foreward, alt-tab is a mess when your working with multiple things. You just got me thinking, and I use it to get out of full screen only.

Instead I use the taskbar, and various batches with the toolbars. one click , that same click could be a single key, not even a key combo.

First, some programs will only run 1 instance of itself ever, Running the program again, will bring that 1 foreward. For those programs, thier shortcut or ShortKey would bring it foreward. how about arranging 4 programs ShortKeys on something like F5 F6 F7 F8 ?

The programs that will run a second instance via thier shortcut, just need a simple batch instead. A batch that just brings them foreward, or runs them which brings them foreward, like a Single instance program would do.

If it is there bring it foreward, if not run it for the first time, using Process Viewer tiny program. . CaveMan style, "me want program, me push button" :-)

pv.exe -q Photoshop.exe >nul
if ERRORLEVEL 1 goto Process_NotFound
pv.exe -q -a Photoshop.exe >nul  <---- bring it foreward
start /B "PHOTO START" "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS2\Photoshop.exe"

If you know what programs exactally beforehand your going to be running, the PV.exe can just be invoked to bring a program foreward, without a run. Same thing a Shortcut button and shortcut key that ran this Process Viewer to ONLY bring that item foreward. For me there are too many programs for keys, so I use toobars.

Off Topic things:

Toggle program batch ,For those times I never understood why an On Switch for a program shouldnt turn it off too.

pv.exe -q -c SHOWCALC.exe >nul <-- try and stop it  
if ERRORLEVEL 1 goto Process_NotFound  <-- if it couldnt stop it
start /B "SHOWCALC START" "C:\desk\SHOWCALC.exe"

These batches are trimmed down verisons , because I always apply sounds also. The shorts are set to minimise the cmd window or I use runinv (invisable) to batch without a window.


The solution my colleague found was to delete the Windows account and recreate it, and then the list of apps displayed in the alt-tab selection was consistent with the other machines on the shop floor.

I have +1 the other contributions here, thank you very much for your time and input. For now, I will likely accept my own answer (from my colleague) in a day or so when I am allowed to by SU, as my answer deals with my specific problem.

However, I am sure that others will find other answers here useful, and maybe, when I have more time, I'll look into the other answers too myself, and if I find one of them to be better than mine then I will change the accepted to theirs.

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