Focus Stealing

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by callam, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. callam

    callam New Member

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    Heyo!

    After some research, I'm pretty sure my problem is called Focus Stealing, I've looked at a bunch of forums/threads on the internet but each seem to have individual symptoms etc so the fix to someone's problem is not the same fix to someone else's. This is probably going to be a long post, but I want to make sure I provide as much detail as possible...

    I've had my computer for 2 months. This one: HP Pavilion p6-2170a Desktop PC Product Specifications - HP Customer Care (United States - English)
    For the past few weeks suddenly I'm experiencing focus stealing, from just a couple hours after turning on my computer to the whole length of time my computer has been turned on. At least right now, it is occurring every 60 seconds.
    For example, I'll have just one window open, and the computer will suddenly act as if I clicked the desktop so the window is deselected/not active...VERY annoying when I'm typing (in a word doc, this post, anything) cuz if I'm not watching, half of what I've typed ended up typing into nothing, so I have to start over.
    Additionally, when playing a full screen game or full screening a video, the game will minimize as if I alt+tab, or full screen video will return to a window.

    I need to make it clear (as I've read in other threads elsewhere) I'm definitely not alt+tab'ing accidentally, or clicking the little clear box in the bottom right corner that shows the desktop.
    I also cannot press alt+tab the moment the focus is stolen to see what program is doing it...I've had a lot of practice and nothing ever shows up.
    Obviously this is not a laptop so there is no track pad to accidentally press or something like that.
    I've done a virus scan with Norton (free trial with the computer, I have since uninstalled it as the free trial expired) and done spyware checks and I get nothing. This also seems to be a common symptom with other people.

    I'm the kind of guy that likes to have as little programs/processes/services running as possible. I'm no expert but I've tried turning off as much as I can yet it still happens. There must be something that's trying to update, get my attention, or something, without showing up. And it's only decided to do it relatively recently. I've tried watching the processes in the task manager and nothing shows up for the split second the focus is stolen. I've tried a couple of process monitoring programs but they didn't really do anything. But perhaps you guys could recommend something.

    If you need screen shots of my task manager, program list, credit card details or my mother, I shall provide them.

    THANK YOU very much in advance, I will owe you many high fives.
     
  2. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    What do you use for AV and security and are they up to date? I would suggest booting into safemode and run your AV and MBAM and see if they show anything.
    Joe
     
  3. callam

    callam New Member

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    What's MBAM? I'm getting Malware Bytes when I google it. Sorry for being a noob.
    Antivirus...nothing, just for the past couple of days. Otherwise I had the usual free (and full) trial of Norton since I got the computer.
    I'll give it a go, but I reckon it's some obscure program or process trying to do something annoyingly often...that's what I found with other people's cases anyway
     
  4. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    No AV is really really bad! Download Norton's removal tool from their site and install MSE Download: Microsoft Security Essentials - Microsoft Download Center - Download Details it's free. Run the Norton tool in safe mode before installing the MSE. MBAM is Malware Bytes it's very good just download the free version. After installing those run both in safemode. See if that helps at least you will have some good free protection.
    Joe
     
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley New Member

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    I wonder if a different pointing device could have an effect on this phenomena.

    Before I purchased this last mouse, I noticed my cursor look as if it were in several locations around the screen at the same time for a split second. The cursor flashing around wasn't constant but it happened frequently enough that I would noticed it a few times every day. If this same thing is happening here, focus could be changing while the mouse is in different locations. I never understood how the cursor could flash around the screen but yet look as if it never moved.
     
  6. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    We once had someone with a specific type of flash drive plugged in and it was stealing the focus.

    Other than something like that, you might try leaving Task Manager open to see if you can pick up what might be jumping to the top of the list when it happens.

    If it happens exactly every 60 seconds, it should be easy to track. But you believe the active window is just being deselected and nothing else is being selected? I wonder if setting the mouse cursor to jump to the active button might help. Just be careful not to select anything if you do this, in case it might go to a malware type window.

    Keep your open windows, if you can, away from the center of the screen in case something is popping up behind them. Also make sure nothing is popping up on the Task Bar.

    Do you have anything set to check for something about every 60 seconds, like the e-mail?
     
  7. callam

    callam New Member

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    @joe s
    Full Malwarebytes scan in safe mode came up with nothing. Also did superantivirus scan...nothing. Thanks for the security concerns though!

    @cliffordcooley
    It's not my cursor. But interesting suggestion. I've seriously had 3+ weeks to deal with this, I've got my eyes peeled and I'm watching every move...I'm not doing anything, and nothing is out of the ordinary besides the windows suddenly not being active.

    @saltgrass
    Well for the past...say 5 hours, the focus hasn't been stolen at all. As I said, it lasts for a random amount of time.
    As I also said, I like to have as little amount happening on my computer at once. I don't have any flash drives or anything plugged in. Whatever I've got plugged in already has been there from the start...I don't see why for example my wireless keyboard (bad example) would suddenly be stealing focus after a month.

    Absolutely 100% nothing else is being selected. I have nothing as far as I'm aware to be doing something every 60 seconds. I only noticed the 60 second thing today because I was watching a video. I'll see if it's the same tomorrow when it no doubt starts again.

    I'm interested in the mouse-jumping to active window thing...how do I do that?

    I've starred at the processes in my task manager, and not had windows in the center of my screen....nothing...
     
    #7 callam, Sep 27, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  8. zvit

    zvit Honorable Member

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    Either one of those two are fine with me...

    I had this problem once and solved it but I don't remember how. I'll search around later or tomorrow. I might have even posted about it on this forum...
     
  9. callam

    callam New Member

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    haha
    thanks buddy, that'd be great!
     
  10. zvit

    zvit Honorable Member

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    What I used was Process Explorer but I can't remember what it was that caused the problem. Actually, it doesn't matter what caused mine because many people had this problem and it was caused by all kinds of things. So best would be if you used Process Explorer and then you can find what causes it.
     
  11. callam

    callam New Member

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    I tried Process Explorer and another one or two last week and they didn't seem to help, but I'll try it again.
    Sure, random processes would appear sometimes, I'd get it to highlight it for 5 seconds so I had a chance to see it before going away...even if I did find something...how do you then search for the process and tell the computer to never allow that one...
     
  12. zvit

    zvit Honorable Member

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    When you stop the real-time scrolling or monitoring, you can always go back to up so it doesn't "go away". Also, if you see a process that you know is not the problem (Like your anti virus) and it's causing the scroll to go too fast, you can right click the process and choose "exclude this process". You can also do this in the filters window.

    If I told you, I'd have to kill you...
    Let's first find the culprit!
     
  13. callam

    callam New Member

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    Ha, ok, thanks buddy. I'll have a go tomorrow. Thanks for the tips!
     
  14. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    Since Zvit seems to be confusing Process Explorer and Process Monitor, you don't have to give him a credit card !! :)

    But if you have Process Explorer running, if the offending process is already running, it will not change colors. You would have to be watching the CPU column to see what shows activity when the focus changes. If you can pin it down to one Process ID (PID), you might be able to find a thread in that process that is actually causing the problem. Make sure you have it set to show processes from all users, show fractional CPU, fastest update speed (.5 sec), and run it as admin.

    It may not help, but you could configure your Symbols by putting the following in the Configure Symbol path under the Options menu. This allows for Process Explorer to give you more accurate info about some processes.

    SRV*http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols

    Process Explorer also has the ability to "Suspend" a process for testing. If you suspend the wrong one, of course your system might have problems. But you could try suspending ones you are not certain of.

    As far as the mouse cursor, there should be a setting on the mouse control panel to allow the mouse cursor to jump to a new window, or active button, and it is probably called different things. I think a Logitech mouse uses "Smart Move".
     
  15. zvit

    zvit Honorable Member

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    Dang it!! Of course I meant Process Monitor! Process Monitor (Explorer and Monitor are from the same company and I use both)

    So all the explanations I gave you (filters, exluding...) are in the Process Monitor.

    I guess I don't deserve the card... mother will have to do...
     
  16. callam

    callam New Member

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    I don't know zvit, you might have to work a little harder for my mother...the credit card's off limits to the entire forum now, sorry folks!

    Sorry for the late reply, I ended up going out/not being on my computer most of the weekend, thank you Saltgrass for the tips, I have changed update speed to .5secs. I'm not losing focus right now so I'll see what happens tomorrow when I boot up again.

    I'll give Process Monitor a go too, thanks for all that info zvit, I really do appreciate your help, time and effort...all of you guys. Man I hope I nail this sucker.
     
    #16 callam, Sep 30, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  17. callam

    callam New Member

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    So it appears my focus stealing is no more--and all it took was a chat with my room mate, ha.
    I just uninstalled my TP-Link wireless internet interface program thing...even though that's been installed on my computer well before the focus-stealing began.
    However I am having an equally annoying keyboard-somtimes-not-working-problem now...which I may start a new thread on after some research.

    THANK YOU for all your help, high fives everywhere, you are all very kind and of the finest caliber of gentlemen.
     
  18. HaffaWaffle

    HaffaWaffle New Member

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    I am having the EXACT problem, Check your processes for "Conhost.exe", and see if the window loses focus when conhost.exe crashes and then it comes back on, the window will regain focus.
     
  19. callam

    callam New Member

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    i dont have a conhost.exe--i found the problem is unique to everybody, turns out mine was to do with my wireless internet program/interface thing...not that i proved it, but since uninstalling it i dont lose focus anymore.
     
  20. zvit

    zvit Honorable Member

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    I read somewhere that uninstalling his HP printer software solved it for him. I guess "callam" is right... this seems to be unique to everyone.
     

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