Hello all. This is a request for a software recommendation -- or a request for a new small program.
I, like most, have a number of utilities that run in the background while I work on my PC. Besides my AV and AS, there are a few others that I allow to run because it is convenient to do so. However there are some times when I must have full CPU, or when I cannot afford for anything in the background to steal focus. For this I have found that a PC Magazine utility, Startup Cop 2, works well for me. It allows you to setup numerous profiles with different startup programs. So if I plan to just browse the web or write emails -- what I will call very general, but light PC activity -- I use my default profile: it has all the background applications that I like and will tolerate under the best circumstances auto-starting. Then I have other profiles where I only allow certain apps to start, depending on the situation - what I will be working on and how sensitive it is to background "interruptions". And I also have a profile that is almost equivalent to Safe Mode. It allows only my AV and AS to start automatically.
There are some apps that run in the background that may affect my usage more than some others. For example, I do not have full use of one arm/hand, and keyboard usage is getting more difficult for me, so I am using Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional version more and more. However if anything is running in the background that occasionally steals the focus, it can throw me way off while dictating. I had installed Windows Desktop Search even though my preferred desktop search is Copernic 2, with X1 as my second choice. I installed the Windows Search only because it is recommended for use with OneNote 2007 - OneNote will not use any other desktop search, of course. (Thanks a lot, Bill!) However Windows Desktop Search installs itself as a service and even when indexing is turned off and the program is closed, it continually grabs 1 to 2% CPU and then releases it. Doesn't sound bad, but any "Select and Say" application that I am using with Dragon loses focus as soon as the Windows Search grabs any CPU at all. Which means that only part of what I am dictating gets "heard". Any of you who has to rely on speech recognition for PC input will understand just how disruptive this is!! Even when using the keyboard, something occasionally grabs focus and the last line you typed is lost - never got there! Ever experience that?
So presently I try to select my Startup Cop 2 profiles carefully and work with only those items running in the background that I know won't be disruptive. However every now and then something starts stealing focus and I cannot figure out easily which app is doing it. I use the Task Manager, Process Explorer, the Event Viewer, and a couple other utilities to try and figure out exactly what is happening during those times, but that can be very time consuming, and even with investigating things that way I cannot always find the culprit easily.
Is there anything available that anyone can recommend that shows a log of all activity over time? Something that would tell me at a glance what most likely stole focus at the moment I noticed it was gone? With all the tools already available I do not want just a reworking of any of those; just something quicker, easy to view, and that doesn't analyze everything going on -- just what had focus and what may have taken focus away.
Thanks for any and all advice!