Currently, on Windows, if you click an app in the taskbar, it is brought to the front of the desktop.

However, if the app is already at the front it is sent to the back of the desktop, i.e. hidden behind any other windows you have open.

I would like to turn off this second feature so that when I click on a app it always puts the app at the front, even if it is already there.

I realise that this is how Windows has always worked, but I use a lot of instances of the same application and would like to be sure that when I click on an applications taskbar item, it will be at the front. Even if it is already at the front.

From my experience Mac OS X and Ubuntu both already do this by default. Only Windows hides the clicked app under these circumstances.

Example: To test out what I mean, open a few applications on Windows and make them all full screen. Then keep clicking on one of the taskbar items. Do you see that the app appears, then disappears, toggling visibility.

Notes: Just to clarify, the appearance of the taskbar itself is fine. I never group my task bar items and use TaskbarTweaker to stop aero peak preview etc. The thing I have a problem with is that clicking on a currently focused taskbar item, hides the app it represents.

marked as duplicate by Der Hochstapler Mar 25 '13 at 17:55

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.

  • +1 for the Question, I agree -- this is really annoying! Related, but no solution either: superuser.com/questions/470022/… But IMHO Windows 95 or NT4 didn't behave that way. – mpy Mar 20 '13 at 9:33
  • @mpy: I don't remember either Win95 or NT4 behaving any differently in this regard. – Karan Mar 25 '13 at 16:56
  • @Jon: Since this is a duplicate, I just saved you some valuable rep points (which IMHO you might well have awarded me). :) Check out the linked question for my answer and rejoice! – Karan Mar 25 '13 at 18:01

The only way I can think of is a terrible hack. Basically, you write a program that hooks mouse clicks over the top of the taskbar and you process the logic yourself.

GetActiveWindow and GetFocus will help you know what window has the focus.

Hook the mouse and process the clicks. Make sure to pass them on once your program has processed them.

Note this is a terrible hack.

  • Creating my own tool is an option, but I really didn't want to have to take that route if I could help it. – Jon Mar 20 '13 at 11:35
  • You can Google around, but I think you won't find much. If you do write this yourself, you automatically become the subject domain expert on it, as there is apparently no one else doing it. And for some encouragement, it's not a terribly hard programming task. Download one of the free versions of Visual Studio and use C/C++/C#. You'll find it's easier than you think. Good luck. – kmort Mar 20 '13 at 12:33

I am not really sure what you mean by at the front/back. I am assuming that for some reason your windows are stacked. If you right click the taskbar you have three options of how programs will display in the taskbar, Cascade, Stacked, or side by side. If you want to change how icons appear in the notifications area, then right click the taskbar/properties/customize notifications.

If you are talking about when it combines the program windows and hides them, then right click the taskbar/find taskbar buttons/click combine only when taskbar is full or never combine.

If you are talking about keeping a selected open program window on top of other windows on the desktop, then go here and download "Always On Top"(this program allows you to select a window that will be on top and you can repeat for other windows as necessary). http://www.pcworld.com/article/218511/Windows.html

  • Thank you for you answer but unfortunately, it is none of these three. What I want is for a click on a taskbar item to make sure the app it represents is displayed on the screen. At the moment, if an app is shown on the screen and you click it's taskbar item, Windows hides the app window. – Jon Mar 20 '13 at 8:00
  • 1
    Sorry my question was a little hard to figure out previously. I have rewritten it and added an example, do you think it makes more sense now? – Jon Mar 20 '13 at 11:35
  • @Jon +1 - I thought you did a good job explaining something that was tough to explain. – webworm Jun 26 '14 at 19:15

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