Can you identify which program is stealing focus?

Running win2k.

For the last 2 weeks or so, an invisible program has been stealing focus for about a quarter second randomly maybe twice an hour. I don’t actually see it steal focus, I don’t see the program at all - but whatever window I’m working in will become inactive - the blue bar at the top turns gray, if I was typing something my cursor is no longer in the text box, etc. After a half second to a second, the window I was working with comes back into focus.

So it seems like a program is launching for a brief sub-second window, invisibly, and then giving back focus/control.

Problem is… if I’m in a full screen window like a game, it drops me to the desktop, which is annoying. Even worse - one of my games will crash if I try to put in the background and then bring it back up.

So is there any way I can either go about suppressing the ability of this mystery program from stealing focus, or at least figure out what it is doing it?

Well it’s got to have a process, right? I’d start with the task manager and start killing processes. Also you can use something like Autoruns ( – basically MSCONFIG on steroids – to start killing things at startup.

Process of elimination (no pun intended) is probably the way I’d proceed.

It might not be a perpetually running process, but something that pops up and closes down, launched by something else.

Best I can figure it’s the zonealarm suite I installed fairly recently. I can’t remember exactly when this started, so I don’t know if it matches up, but it’s the only process I think that’s changed in the time period this started happening.

I guess I can start trying by process of elimination. Did they ever come up with a way to suppress applications stealing focus in general? It seems like it causes far more annoyances than good.

I’ve never used it in Win2K but TweakUI (or tweak XP) have a setting to prevent applications from stealing focus. It’s worked well for me.

I remember years ago enabling that setting, and not having it actually work. I can’t actually figure out how to get tweakui to work anymore. I found an old copy on my computer, version 1.33 I think - but it doesn’t have an executable.

The files are

The only one that windows knows how to execute is the .cpl file. Upon running it says TweakUI should be run from the Control Panel. Would you like to install it now? And upon clicking yes, there’s nothing new added to my control panel.

Do you happen to know how I’d actually go about using the tweakui window? The newer versions they have available for download are for XP only, and I’m not sure how to get the old version to work.

I’ll bet this is your problem; I use ZoneAlarm’s Internet Security Suite, and noticed the focus-stealing as well, though I only saw it hourly (it auto-updates every hour on the hour).

They recently released version 7.0.362.000, which lists among its features “Better anti-spam performance, fixed occasional hang during AV updates, addressed issues with hourly updates stealing focus from some applications and games.” (Bolding mine) I just recently installed this version and it does seem to have stopped stealing focus, although it seemed to take longer than usual to complete a recent virus definitions update.

Right-click tweakui.inf in Windows Explorer, and choose “Install”. That should install it into your control panel.

I thought you solved it… until I checked the version on my zonealarm and it already is 7.0.362.000. Very strange.

Aha, thanks. I should’ve known.

Even stranger - I now seem to have the aforementioned “hang during AV updates”, which I didn’t have before. Methinks this ZoneAlarm update has a coupla kinks . . .