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Is there some setting in Windows where I can change the default behavior that causes the border and title of a modal dialogue box to flash like 6 or 7 times when I click on the parent window?

Simply focusing it would be plenty to let me know what I did was wrong.

I don't feel the need for all the sirens and bull horns and strobe lights to let me know I clicked in the wrong place.

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Solution

  1. Press Win+R, type or paste regedit.exe in the text box, and press Enter.

  2. Navigate to the following registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
    
  3. Locate the ForegroundFlashCount value, and set it to 1.

    Note In case the value is missing, create a new DWORD (32-bit) value. While you could set it to 0, that would prevent modal dialog boxes from properly regaining focus.

  4. Log off and log back on to apply the changes.

Additional information

The ForegroundFlashCount registry value was first introduced with Windows 2000. Here's an excerpt from the original documentation:

Specifies the number of times the taskbar button flashes to notify the user that the system has activated a background window.

Source: ForegroundFlashCount

In Windows Vista and earlier the value was set to 3 by default. Starting with Windows 7, the default value is 7. Although it doesn't seem to be specified anywhere, the same value also controls the way modal dialog boxes flash when you try to shift the focus to their parent windows.

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