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Windows 7: How to make Windows ALWAYS give focus to taskbar applic that I click?

02 Apr 2014   #1

Windows 7 x64 Professional (SP1)
How to make Windows ALWAYS give focus to taskbar applic that I click?


How can I get Windows to always take me to what I click on?

e.g. Suppose I have 3 applications open - Firefox, MSIE and Excel and suppose I click once on each one on the Taskbar. With each single click I get taken to that application. BUT if I click on Excel TWICE I get taken back to MSIE . And if I keep clicking won Excel it will toggle between Excel and MSIE.

This INTENSELY irritating. Why does it do that?

i.e. If you click twice on an item, you get taken to the last visited item, not the think you actually click on.
And then if you keep clicking it toggles back and forward between the two.


This means that if I have two applications that look pretty similar (e.g. most modern browers!) I can easy get confused as to how many times I've clicked on what. And, depending on whether I have clicked an odd or an even number of times, I either go to the item I click on... OR whatever the heck I happened to be in previously. And if I lose count I'm screwed until I click on something completely different and then back on the thing I want... JUST ONCE.


How can I fix Window to just take me to the thing on the taskbar that I actually I click?


P.S. I am running Windows 7x64 and Classic Shell.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2014   #2
King Arthur

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

The first click focuses on the window (restoring the window if it is minimized), the second click minimizes the window. Subsequent clicks repeat the procedure.

It's been like this ever since Windows 95 as far as I can remember. I am not aware of anything that can change this long-standing behavior and I admit that you are the first person ever that I've seen complain about it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2014   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

This is completely normal! When you click in the icon for the first time, it will get activated as you say, gets on top of everything else, focused and restored if it was minimized.
But, if you click on the very same icon for a second time in a row, it will minimize it. It's normal. Since "you're already there", the window was focused and active, so there is nothing else it can "gain" by clicking again. That's why it's expectable to be minimized. After it, the next window will be focused since your previous one goes away. This is totally expectable, normal and working in this way since the early days of Windows 9x.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Apr 2014   #4

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit

It is the way it is and I don't believe there is a way to change it. I am sure the decision to do it this way wasn't arbitrary but based on usability studies.

Programming means making decisions. Many times these decisions are hard, sometimes very hard. Sometimes no matter what choice you make somebody will say it was a stupid one. You can't please everybody. Adding many options to give the user the choice doesn't work either. One of the chief complaints about software is that there are too many options. It also complicates the software and makes support more difficult. And there is more.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Apr 2014   #5

Windows 7 x64 Professional (SP1)

OK it's worse that I thought:

Suppose I have Chome open and 4 different files in Excel (2010). So now I have 4 Chrome icons, which are now sitting beside each other on the task bar.

SOMETIMES (but not always) if I go from another application (say Chrome) and I click from 1 excel file on the Taskbar and then pause for a couple of seconds, If I then click on a second excel file, the FIRST excel file stays on the screen.

But sometime if I do exactly the same thing and SECOND excel file appears on the screen.
e.g. take this sequence:

1. Click on Google Chrome that is open on taskbar ==> I see my Chrome window. ==> Good.
2. Click on Excel file1 ==> I see Excel file 1. ==> Good.
3. Mouse of Excel file2 for a couple of seconds...
3. Now click on Excel file2 ==> I still see Excel file 1. ==> WFF? BAD!
4. Confused I click on File2 AGAIN ==> Now I see file 2 ==> Good... but now I'm confused.
6. So I click again on File2 again ==> Now I see Chrome ==> BAD. Damn it. Screw Chrome! Chrome was 4 clicks ago. Where did Chrome come from?
7. Irritated I click on File 2 again ==> Now I see Excel file 2 ==> Good.

The point is that clicking on different instances of Excel is behaving differently from clicking on completely different applications. This is irritating and inconsistent. Surely the first time I click on a new file, the darned computer should show me that file. It has no right to say (in effect) sorry mate but you click on something that is still in Excel therefore I'm going to completely ignore your click.

WORSE it actually *IS* inconsistent, because it doesnt always behave like that.

It seems that there are two types of popup. There is one that lists all 4 file names in a vertical stack and if that is showing, then you will be taken to whatever you click on ==> Good!

But if you pause for a couple of seconds with your mouse still over any one of the Excel icons, you then get a different popup that only has ONE file name. And if that is showing then USUALLY if you click with the one name popup showing, then that click will be completely ignored.

This sounds like a bug. And no, it's nothing to do with Excel. The same is true if I have multiple windows of say Firefox open. If I keep my mouse of over the Firefox icons on the task bar and waif of the popup then the next click on Firefox is completely ignored (usually but not always!).

But these are mere details. I hate the basic way that windows works toggling between what you click on and the previous application.

Why [the heck] cant it just open show what I click on ?

And no I don't care how long ago this feature was invented. It serves no purpose!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Apr 2014   #6
King Arthur

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

I see where your "problem" is.

Windows is considering the two different Excel taskbar buttons as one Excel window and instance, thus the second time you're clicking on either button it's minimizing the the entire Excel window that's holding the two sub-windows (your two open spreadsheets shown on your taskbar) and showing you what is under that window (in your example case this happens to be Chrome).

However, I cannot reproduce your "clicked but did not focus" problem nor your example using Firefox.

Unfortunately, I cannot give you any constructive advice beyond getting used to it. The feature has been long-standing and is one of many GUI de facto standard behavior that is present across multiple operating systems and desktop environments. I am not aware of any means to change this and I would presume that any means (were any to exist) would be unreliable.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2014   #7

Windows 7 x64 Professional (SP1)

OK but with all due respect... this is not helping!

e.g. How can I stop all my different Excel files that are open being treated as a single window?

e.g. Are you sure that there is no way to stop clicking on a window for a second time from minimising that window.

P.S. I don't give a damn about de facto behaviours. It might well be the de facto standard to say marginalise women, black skinned people and minority groups but that doesn't make it right. The current behaviour is inconvenient, stupid and counter intuitive. Much better to simply open whatever we click on. So no, I don't care how long they've been doing it for the question remains what's wrong with these people at Microsoft?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2014   #8

Windows 10 Pro

I think this will solve your problem. Make your taskbar act like XP.

Right click your taskbar-properties. Check use small icons, and also check taskbar buttons-combine when taskbar is full.

Windows 7 for one application combines it into 1 square icon by default on the taskbar, I like to have everything shown. So I use the xp style.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2015   #9


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ship691 View Post

How can I get Windows to always take me to what I click on?

e.g. Suppose I have 3 applications open - Firefox, MSIE and Excel and suppose I click once on each one on the Taskbar. With each single click I get taken to that application. BUT if I click on Excel TWICE I get taken back to MSIE . And if I keep clicking won Excel it will toggle between Excel and MSIE.

This INTENSELY irritating. Why does it do that?
Hey, Ship,

That has been bothering me for years. It happens all the time that I click on the app that is already open, and Windows opens another app.

Have you ever found a solution to this?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Dec 2016   #10

Windows 10

The OP's question is legitimate. Despite someone's claim that the described problem is the expected behaviour, it was not the behaviour of my 5 Windows XP pro machines. I have switched to Windows 10, and find this feature incredibly annoying.

Again, it's that clicking on a taskbar button toggles between that application and the other most recent window (I think -- or in any event some other unexpected window).

Expected behavior (expected by me) is that clicking multiple times on a taskbar button should keep you at that taskbar's window (i.e. do nothing upon the second, third, fourth, click etc., if, for example, you can't figure out what window you are on, or are waiting for windows to catch up).

Please someone find a registry edit that fixes this.


clicking twice to toggle among the clicked button
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to make Windows ALWAYS give focus to taskbar applic that I click?

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