Active window forces it's way to front

Microsoft Windows 2000 professional
January 14, 2010 at 07:55:29
Specs: Windows 2000 XP SP2
The department in which I work has three computers
running Windows 2000, all are similar or the same in
hardware setup EXCEPT that the computer I'm
experiencing the following problem on has an
upgraded video card (nVidia) which allows two
monitors to be plugged in at once (at one time this
tower had two monitors side by side, but currently
only one), and I'm only experiencing the "problem"
with this computer.

If I am ALT-TABbing between two windows, doing
something in each, if I have to wait for a process to
complete, or for a web page to load (in IE)--basically
any type of non-immediate response--and I switch
from that window or program currently processing to
another to continue working, once the refresh or the
process is finished, that window/program becomes the
active window and forces its way to the front,
interrupting any typing I was doing in the second

I know this is different on the other two computers
because when doing the same thing (with the same
programs and IE), instead of the window with latest
"Refresh" or recent process completion forcing its way
to the front, it's corresponding task bar rectangle with
simply flash blue (to let you know there's been recent
activity in a specific program or window).

At first I though this was only with IE, but it turns out I
only noticed it there because web pages are most
often the type of process that do not load instantly
and take a moment while data is downloaded. I later
found it to be any program (for instance this is in a car
dealer parts department, and the parts catalog has a
delay between when I enter a new VIN and press
enter to when it populates the window with data
specific to that vehicle, and if I were to paste a VIN
in, hit 'enter' and then switch to another window to
work in while that VIN loads, the moment it does, the
parts catalog program (which uses javaw.exe) would
force its way the front.

I'm sorry for the lengthy explanation, but I realize that
"active window" isn't the ideal search string, so I
haven't been able to find anything previously posted,
and felt the need to thoroughly explain things.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks

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January 20, 2010 at 10:47:29
I think the TweakUI program for Win2K allows you to set the focus and such.

We were the unwilling, led by the unqualified, to do the unnecessary, for the ungrateful.

VietNam War Poster

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January 24, 2010 at 18:47:25
Thanks for the input. A few days after posting this I found a few
discussions on various forums with a solution via editing the
registry. In Users HKEY Current Software ... in
Windows>Desktop or something to that effect, there are two
keys, one which controls the delay before an active screen can
surface on the desktop, and another to control how many times
an active program or window's task button will flash. Thanks

EDIT: I realized that the my post is above is entirely useless to anyone else who may have the same question, so here's the solution:

17. Stop 'focus stealing' by background applications and pop-ups

If you get annoyed when pop-up windows or other applications you have running replace the window you are currently working on, here's a registry edit that can help you deal with this behaviour.

Start Regedit and navigate to 'HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop.'

Double click the 'ForegroundLockTimeout' key. Change the notation to decimal. This key controls the amount of time that Windows will wait for user input in the currently active window before shifting focus to whatever other window is demanding attention. The default is 200000 milliseconds decimal, or 200 seconds. Change this to a greater millisecond value if you want to prevent Windows XP from stealing the focus while you are occupied. Log out and back in to effect the changes.

Specifies the number of times the taskbar button flashes to notify the user
that the system has activated a background window. If the time elapsed since
the last user input exceeds the value of the ForegroundLockTimeout entry,
the window will automatically be brought to the foreground.]]

Specifies the time, following user input, during which the system keeps
applications from moving into the foreground.]]

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