In Windows 7, if you click the taskbar item of a window that has focus, that window is sent away. As I clicked the window, I want to put focus there. I have searched for a method to make Windows treat the click as either giving focus or doing nothing, but have not been able to come up with a satisfactory set of search terms.

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    IF it has focus, and you click it, it minimizes. So it HAS focus already... what are you trying to accomplish by clicking the focused app's icon? Sep 4 '12 at 17:25
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    I see I was a little vague, and said "window" at one point when I shoudl have said "taskbar item". To be clearer - Sometimes with many windows open, I don't know which has focus. It is often easier to find the task bar item than the window itself, especially with multiple monitors. If I click the taskbar item, I want the window to retain focus and not minimize.
    – CrankyDog
    Sep 4 '12 at 18:59
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    True enough - "closing" was misleading, so I have edited that. As for clicking again, sure, I can do that, but I don't really want to have to. In previous versions of Windows, clicking on a taskbar item that had focus did nothing - that's the behavior I want. To my way of thinking, clicking the item means "Give this focus." It's a small point, and Windows has many more major irritants, but this one has been bugging me a lot lately.
    – CrankyDog
    Sep 5 '12 at 18:43
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    That’s not correct. In every version of Windows since 95 (the first with a taskbar), clicking the taskbar item of a window that is visible and active would minimize it.
    – Synetech
    Sep 5 '12 at 18:45
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    I agree with CrankyDog that it's quite annoying to see a window minimize when you actually want to focus it. Especiialy when working with Excel files with similar names this can be confusing...
    – Dylan
    Dec 3 '12 at 14:40

After looking around unsuccessfully for programs that could do this, I actually went back to my favourite i.e. 7+ Taskbar Tweaker. Turns out it does allow you to do this, but using a hidden option that's not exposed through the UI! See the Advanced section of the help file for details.

I. For normal installation of the program

  1. Open regedit and navigate to:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\7 Taskbar Tweaker\Mouse Button Control


  2. Create a new DWORD called taskbaritem|lclick and set its value to 1.

II. For portable installation of the program

  1. Run the program once then close it completely (i.e. right-click the tray/notification area icon and select Exit) in order to create the 7+ Taskbar Tweaker.ini file in the same dir that 7+ Taskbar Tweaker.exe resides in.

  2. Open the INI in Notepad or any text editor and add the following section to it at the very beginning or end (don't mix it up with entries for other sections such as Config or OptionsEx):

    [Mouse Button Control]

Now run the program and try left-clicking any taskbar button as much as you want. :)

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    Since v4.4, you can use the Advanced Options Editor.
    – Paul
    Jan 1 '15 at 21:20
  • as per @Paul's comment, click on "Help" within the Advanced Options Editor > Mouse tab for more details and mouse options
    – Costa
    Jan 14 '15 at 1:15

Sometime I work with multiple files that are almost identical and this is causing me headaches.

I was under the impression, like the original poster, that Win 7 was different yet the argument saying "older version did that" also seemed correct.

I realized just now what the difference is and it is not evident since Win 7 have a lighter taskbar "highlight" than XP. I'm not sure how to explain it so I'll take the long route...

Let's say I have two apps already opened in the task bar called A and B. Clicking on 'A' in the taskbar brings the 'A' window up. Then Click on 'B' in the task bar brings the 'B' window up.

If I click again on 'B' in the task bar it will minimize the 'B' window - fine. But here is the problem... as 'B' minimize, it is 'A' that gets the focus.

And that's a problem because in the past I knew that ANYTIME I clicked the 'B' windows in the task bar, the 'B' application was getting the focus wether it was minimized or not.

But now, clicking the 'B' taskbar item does NOT garanteee that you will have 'B'. If you click by mistake when 'B' is already up then it is the previous windows that pops up and not 'B'.

Now, I do not have a XP machine in front of me, but I'm pretty sure that's the annoyance with minimize. When having two identical windows this jumping mecanism could make you work on another document without your knowledge. The solution is to keep a close eye on what task bar item is highlighted from now on as it can 'jump'...)

I also just realised that Win 7 also highlights the taskbar icon when the mouse is over it. This effectively masks the fact that the focus is lost on the clicked taskbar window (although the mouse have a slightly different taskbar highlight).

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