Grabbing attention
January 6, 2007 6:53 AM   Subscribe

How can I force new Windows apps to open in the background?

One of the major annoyances: you are working in one program and you find it necessary to open another. You keep working in the first while the second starts a 5-45 second opening routine. The new program will grab the focus, sometimes three or more times, during the startup.

How can I discipline my windows so that they serve me, not vice versa?
posted by megatherium to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you right-click the shortcut you use to open the app in question (could be somewhere in Start->Programs, could be on your desktop) and select Properties, you should be able to find an option to run it minimized. Turn that on, and the app should start up with only its taskbar button showing. Click that button when you're ready to use the app.
posted by flabdablet at 7:17 AM on January 6, 2007

This was one of the things they supposedly fixed in 2k (or at least improved.) There is an Explorer setting called "Don't allow apps to steal focus" or somesuch, which when enabled causes the opening program to flash on the taskbar instead of stealing focus. You should definitely enable this. I find that every now and then there is an especially annoying app that finds its way around this measure, but for the most part it works pretty well.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:34 AM on January 6, 2007

Best answer: Oh, and the setting can be adjusted with TweakUI on the "General -> Focus" page.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:37 AM on January 6, 2007

It's been a long time since I habitually used Windows, but something at the back of my memory says that holding in the shift key while launching an app will push it into the background.
posted by genghis at 10:06 AM on January 6, 2007

As Rhomboid said, but it doesn't work with every app. For instance, Outlook consistently steals focus for me, regardless of the setting.
posted by converge at 5:28 PM on January 6, 2007

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