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Back again: focus flicker ...

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Seems as though Ive been asking a lot of questions lately.  Prolly 'cause I have.

I've been dealing with this for a while, now.  However, what was a minor annoyance has become a major irritant.

I've been researching this for several months, but while I've found something like 1,110,000+ references - up by ~8,000 since last week or so - none of them seem to apply.

The problem is that when I change focus from one window to another, the focus doesn't stick.  It flickers from the selected window to another.  This can be a back-and-forth process, sometimes just once back and forth, sometimes as many as ten times, possibly greater.  Of the referenced million-plus pages, once I filter out Ford Focus, Logitech drivers, and other such kinda, sorta false positives, there are still more pages than I can begin to peruse in what's left of this year, much less in the next few weeks.

While this was not a serious problem before, now that I'm contracting again, there are several downsides that are not tenable.

One of 'em is that when I switch from, say, PHP to CSS IDEs, what I start typing may not end up in the right IDE  :'(.  'Nother one is that when I work with a DVCS, I can't always depend upon the commands going to the right place.

The OS is 36-bit Win7 on a dual-core 2.8 GHz processor, 3G Ram, mucho disk space available.  Don't think this started with Win7, may have started with installation of Google's Chrome, but I think it was later.  Think I first noticed it after installing Prism HUD, a system resource monitor, but it doesn't seem attributable to Prism HUD. 

Oh, yeah ... the focus doesn't always switch back to the window I was in ... sometimes it flickers from the window I'm in to I wot not what.

Frankly, I'm at a loss to 'splain it.  I can, if I'm careful - and abominably slow - work with it, but I'd much rather work without it.

As usual, DC is my recourse of last resort.  Any ideas?

look for the possibility that you have another program running in the background causing this..
try existing any running processes when it happens, and see if killing one makes it go away.

@barney: I had a similar - though not identical - problem (running Windows XP SP3 on a laptop with a Centrino Duo processor). Some applications were trying to "steal focus" or priority in the User Interface.
I don't know what caused it - it just started to happen one day - but I fixed it with Tweak UI - which is a component of the Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP.
You can download the separate Power Toys (e.g., such as Tweak UI) from here:

   1. Install and then start up Tweak UI.
   2. Click to expand the "General" branch on the tree in the LHS of the Tweak UI control box.
   3. Click on the "Focus" branch on the tree.
   4. Play with the settings to "Prevent applications from stealing focus".

I think it changes settings in the registry. I don't know where the settings are or what they are.
You may need to do a user logoff and on again, or reboot, when changing Tweak UI settings, before they affect your system.
Anyway, it worked for me. Hope it helps you.
I'd be interested in your feedback on this, if you try it.
You may have to go back and repeat these steps if something (some program or other) keeps persistently changing the settings back in your registry.

@mouser, I've stripped Win7 nude, for all practical purposes, but still have the issue.
@IanB, I cannot seem to find a tweak system for Win7 that allows the things I remember doing with XP.

I've check several forae that mentioned nVidia as a possible cause, but none of the fixes published were viable.  Same thing with various Logitech boards, even though I don't use Logitech drivers, 'cause sometimes a solution will not be related to the board it's on.  I've tried several TweakUI variants supposedly for Win7, but have yet to find one that is even close to comprehensive.  Even tried the XP version, with mixed results, but nothing has addressed this problem to date.  As I said, I've been working with this, off and on, for a while, to the point that I'll accept, or at least try, just about any left-field suggestion.  Not quite ready to dance naked under a full moon with esoteric symbols painted on my body, but if I thought it would help ...  :-\

one other thing you might try, from monitor display properties, disable acceleration.

when you say it flickers -- do you mean that the windows are switching back and forth for focus (are there titlebars chaning colors?)?  can you reproduce it reliably?


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