I'm doing some writing and I want to have my text editor open without any distractions/interruptions. In Linux I can just drop out of my WM, use a shell and fire up emacs and not worry about it, but I'm on a Win7 box now.

Is there any way - via native functionality or another piece of software - to completely 'focus' on one particular window. By 'focus' I ideally mean I want that window maximized and I don't want notifications from the taskbar or system tray. Bonus points if it let the window be 'Always on Top' or prevent dialogs, etc from other running programs/processes.

If it's relevant, I'll usually be running emacs on cygwin.

  • Run a second monitor and extend the desktop to that monitor, run your app on that desktop, not sure there is a way to completely disable all that crap on the regular desktop, but i could be wrong.
    – Moab
    May 14, 2012 at 23:52
  • 1
    @Moab getting another monitor is not easy for everyone
    – Desingh
    May 15, 2012 at 0:34
  • 1
    @Desingh That is why it was a suggestion rather than an answer. :-)
    – Moab
    May 15, 2012 at 0:42

5 Answers 5


Try this method and you can disable notifications from the taskbar or system tray.

  • Click start button & type in search bar "Edit group" , now click Edit group policy in list.

  • Using this local group policy editor you can turn off your taskbar ballon notifications

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  • In right side pane , Right click -> edit , Now choose Enable radio button and apply.

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  • And also try editing some other features you want to disable here.
  • 1
    The name of the exe file would me more helpful — not all of us use English i18n.
    – Martin
    Oct 21, 2014 at 6:29

There is an option for that in Windows 7, very easy:

  1. Go to the Windows mobility center (I access it via the energy symbol on the task bar, but it is also somewhere in the control panel)
  2. Select Presentation Mode

The presentation mode, does not only allow to turn off screen saver etc, but also turns off notifications. It is described when clicking on the help link on the presentation mode settings screen.


If you use Notepad++, you could simply navigate to

  1. View > Always on Top to obtain full focus
  2. View > Toggle Full Screen Mode to fill the monitor
  3. View > Post-It to do the same as full screen but also hide your tabs (always maximise before going post it mode. Also it automagically enables always-on-top for you)

Notepad++ View Menu

For a more emacs oriented solution, check out this question over on StackOverflow.


you can

1) kill your Windows Explorer

run --> cmd

tskill explorer

2) use third party software

there are many free SW just google "windows 7 always on top" this is the first result in google


When I followed Desingh's answer and edited via group policy, I noticed the following two registry keys were created/set. So an alternative is to set these registry keys and then restart Windows. Note: this was on Windows 7.

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