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It happens to me so many times that I roll the scroll wheel over some scrollable element, but the thing DOES NOT SCROLL. What's worse, something else on another part of the screen may scroll.

I know very well why that happens. Windows is sending the command to the active element in the active window, i.e. the thing that has focus.
But that behavior is absurd. The focus is meant for the keyboard not for the mouse. If I click a mouse button, that click goes to whatever is under the mouse pointer, not to the focused element.

Anyways, enough protesting.
Is there any way of correcting this so it works in the logical and intuitive way? that is, to scroll the thing that's under the mouse pointer.

I'm looking for a general solution for all versions of Windows (at least from WinXP on) as the problem is present in all of them.

I'm aware of the X-mouse feature, but that's not what I need. I dont want other windows/elements to gain focus just because the pointer is over them, that's more an annoyance than not.

I'm looking for a solution that works at the gui-control level, i.e. scroll the specific element in the window that the mouse is pointing at (think about MDI windows like Windows Explorer with a left and center panel, etc.)

marked as duplicate by Dennis, Scott, Renan, 3498DB, Tog Feb 27 '13 at 9:52

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.


In Windows 7 & 8 at least, type "change how" into the start menu/screen. You should see (under Settings on Windows 8) "Change how your mouse works". Select this and look for the option to "Activate a window by hovering over it with the mouse".

Now the window under the mouse will activate automatically after a short delay and scrolling will work as anticipated.

I'm not sure if this is available in earlier versions of Windows. Try looking under accessibility options in the Control Panel.

For the sake of completeness, lets list all the options:

  • Change the Ease of Access settings (as given above, works with at least Win7+, maybe others)
  • Use TXmouse as suggested by @Sean-Cheshire in the comments (last updated in 2005)
  • Change registry settings - see the question "Setting focus auto-raise and focus auto-raise delay in Windows 7"
  • Use WizMouse which has the advantage that it doesn't affect the window order like the other answers do. However, it does have some compatibility issues (see the web site). Supports Windows versions from 2000 to 7, not sure if 8 is supported.

UPDATE: From the "Update 2" in the question, I'd say that WizMouse is your best option as long as you can live with the limitations listed which seem to revolve around touchpad and Logitech issues.

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    "Activate a window by hovering over it with the mouse" does not make the scroll wheel affect always what's under the mouse pointer. It's just another method of alt-tabbing, nothing to do with the question. – Vladimir Kornea Nov 6 '15 at 3:07
  • If you read the question it already talks about sending events to the active window which is what the first part of my answer addresses. So it is relevant. The other parts actually start to answer the real question. With some applications, the first part of the answer may well have been sufficient. – Julian Knight Nov 6 '15 at 9:03
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    The question is how to make the scroll wheel affect any "scrollable element" that has hover, rather than requiring the scrollable element to have keyboard focus. You're telling people how to use the mouse to switch focus to a different application. Do not bother trying this, people, it's just wasting your time. – Vladimir Kornea Nov 6 '15 at 21:07
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    That's why I updated the answer to recommend WizMouse. – Julian Knight Mar 30 '16 at 8:21
  • WizMouse still works, on current Server 2012 at least. Thanks for the recommendation. – Matthias Urlichs Dec 5 '17 at 2:12

I use a wonderful little piece of freeware called Katmouse.

  • Ah, that's the one I was trying to remember! However, I remember that it didn't work with all windows and it hasn't been updated since 2007. – Julian Knight Feb 26 '13 at 21:38
  • I have it running just fine on Windows 7 64-bit; I cannot speak for Windows 8. At 335k it is certainly lightweight. There is also a beta version on the site, but I have no information on it. – Wizard Prang Feb 26 '13 at 21:57
  • Thank you! This has bothered me for years! It's the simple things in life. ;-) – MaseBase Jul 20 '14 at 22:09
  • This thing is nice. Works almost like a charm on Windows 8. Only problem is that it sometimes has a glitch when my computer wakes up from sleeping mode. But exiting KatMouse and restarting it fixes that. – ITroubs Feb 4 '15 at 9:35

Microsoft has a free Windows "PowerToy" utility for XP called TweakUI which contains something called X-Mouse which, when enabled, causes activation, or focus, to follow the mouse's position. I not aware of them ever releasing a version of it for Windows 7 or 8 however (but haven't checked for one in a long time).

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