BriCode Thoughts from Brian Holt


Game or application keeps minimizing or losing focus in Windows 7

This is a very frustrating because the problem is not usually apparent. There are so many issues that can cause this that it can be difficult to sift through all the possible issues that cause this head-meet-wall type of frustration. My issue ended up being completely undocumented and required hours of watching processes to figure out, but I will let you in on what are the most common issues and if those do not work, I will tell how I ended up finding my problem.

First, to give you an idea of what is happening (in case you do not already know) is that in Windows and just about every operating system, there is a concept called focus. The window you are currently working with and view is the window that has focus. Most operating systems have the windows without focus grayed out a bit. Normally shifting focus is not an issue because you just click on the window that you want to focus on and you normally will not even tell the difference. The issues lies is when you are in a full-screen application, like watching a movie or playing a game. When another application requests focus when you are in a full-screen application, it will minimize your application. This is the issue we need to prevent.

AVG Antivirus LogoFar and above the most common cause of this that I saw researching this issue was AVG Antivirus. Apparently, the new update has some sort of issue and constantly requests focus to the point of instantly minimizing whatever full applications you have. The fix for this is either just uninstall completely or wait for the new update for them to patch it.

The easiest suspect is if you get any notifications in your task bar. If your application minimizes and a notification bubble immediately pops up, you have your suspect there. Try to minimize the amount of applications you have running in your task bar at any given time. If you do not know what something does in your task bar, you can probably just close it.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware LogoGive this program a try. It is called Malwarebytes Anti Malware and it looks for malicious programs that can request focus away from the on which program you are working. Download the program; run the scan; fix whatever it finds. That may solve your problem.

Though unlikely your problem, my issue was with the webcam. The software suite for HP Deluxe Webcam, Arcsoft Magic-i, was, for whatever reason, requesting focus away and thus causing my games to minimize. After uninstalling it, the problem went magically away.

And now, if after the aforementioned steps, you still cannot find what is going on, try this. There is a program put out by Microsoft called Process Monitor. Go there and download the program and run it. It literally shows every process that your computer runs, so within seconds, the list will be populated with millions of entries. Needless to say, this can be a bit of a process. Run the program that keeps minimizing until it minimizes again. After it minimizing, click the button on Process Monitor to stop monitoring the processes so you don't get overrun with new processes. Then look at where your game or application stopped running and look at the processes immediately after that. It is more than likely that one of those first three or four programs to run thereafter will be your culprit, in my case the webcam suite. Things likes videocard suites or messenger programs are likely suspects. Try uninstalling and reinstalling stuff to see if it helps.

Anyway, I hope this helps. I was unable to find any useful help when I was encountering this problem, so I hope my post helps you find yours. Good luck!

Comments (26) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I had the same problem. It became very frustrating as the window / program would lose focus mid-type or scroll. In my case it was my Samsung Kies phone software which was running in the background. For now I am just disabling it in the task manager, since there are times when I do want to use it to access files on my phone.

  2. Found this article trying to find a fix for Malwarebytes Anti-Malware stealing focus from full screen games.

    It does so when starting scheduled scans and it seems there is nothing you can do about it.

  3. God I’m so glad I could finally end such an annoying problem. Was already getting depressed at the thought of a windows reinstall…
    I had the same problem, have done a few virus and malware complete scans and nada!
    But since I have disabled Kies in the task manager the problem has stopped. Same case than first comment (Lize).
    I hope people who have this problem of losing focus on windows randomly read this post before wasting any more time on it.

  4. I have the same issue as Lize described.

    I’ve bought a Samsung Galaxy S 2. I’ve installed Kies on my PC too. It’s a 8740w with win 7 Ent Ed 64bit English.
    Kies version:

    While I was browsing a website I wanted to scroll down, but I couldn’t because the focus was not on the browser. I experienced this with every application. Because installation of Kies was the only change to my PC I turn off all 3 KiesTrayAgent, KiesHelper, Kies PDLR processes and the focus lose issue was gone.

  5. I had the same problem. Minimizing every 15 minutes.
    I removed Kies and my Malware program to no effect.
    I have finally solved the problem by uninstalling my Vodafone Mobile Broadband connection, along with O2′s Connection Manager.

    Good Luck to the rest of you

  6. I do not have any phone program installed here, i do not have a webcam and this problem randomly occurs, i use Avira FREE Antivirus program instead of AVG. I put it to automatically check for updates from 10 to 10 days. I even changed the windows wallpaper “automatically changes” to see if was that the culprit and nothin’. D:

  7. In the newest versions of avira there are actually *2* different things that it does that can take you out of fullscreen whenever it damn well wants to. Quite invasive. You have control over your computer though, so the solution to this is to simply create software restriction policies for the two offending processes (do not worry, they are only used to spam you messages about how you should buy their stuff) your start menu, type “local security policy” and hit enter

    2. in the left part of the window here, select “software restriction policies” and then “additional rules” below that. Right-click “additional rules” and then select “new path rule”

    add the path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Avira\AntiVir Desktop\avnotify.exe

    make sure it’s set to “disallow”, below where it asks for the path.

    click “Apply” then “ok”

    repeat this for the 2nd path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Avira\AntiVir Desktop\ipmgui.exe

    Enjoy! (this bothered me to no end until recently too!)

  8. Hi, i would just like to say thank you. I used the Process program that you advised and helped me pin point the problem. What i did was as you suggested. Ran the program then opened up my game while it was running. Soon as my game lost focus I looked at the exact time on my desktop clock and then stopped the process program. From there I personally found that I had a GUI program that must have been interfering with my game. Ended up going into my processes and killed it then my game worked like a charm. Thanks heaps again, was really starting to do my head in!

  9. Hello i have the same problem, but mine doesnt just do it with my full screen games it does it when im on a website scrolling or typing. i cant find any way to fix this its really pissing me off can someone please help me

  10. I have windows 7, alienware, and norton antivirus. This only started happening after my Uverse was installed about a week ago. driving me crazy.

  11. Hey there, I have read through a lot of these threads and i’ve seen a lot of people having this problem recently, but not many know how to fix so it’s good that this is there. I however have this same problem with the refocusing of any program i’m running. I’ve downloaded the process manager but i can’t see what’s causing it. i’m not 100% sure what i’m looking for though. I use “microsoft security essentials” for security so it’s not something like that AVG thing and there are no pop ups or strange programs running. Only “Optus mobile broadband” the usual drivers running for devices such as keyboard etc. no newly added program that stands out. IDK WTF TODO D: it refocuses on average once every two minutes at least :( plz halp.

  12. I just uninstalled my webcam software- working like a charm so far! Thanks!

  13. mine minimizes every 10-20 seconds its so annoying gl and plz post a fix

  14. Thank you for your advise. It helped me. I was raging here today :D .

  15. I had the same problem with my comp too. But not only that , even my youtube , google images and facebook is not working. All of this problems happened just a few days after I downloaded McAfee Interner Security. Can someone help me with my problem =/

  16. my problem relates to games minimizing every other minute even when all processes are closed. i am having trouble playing games and it is very annoying, please help. i have windows 7 n microsoft essentials

  17. It’s scanning…I’m excited thinking this will work :D

  18. I’ve also heard that updating graphics card bios can help with this issue. If nothing else has worked, try:
    1.Go to your card manufacturers website. (E.g. Gigabyte, MSI, Asus etc NOT Nvidia or AMD)
    2.Select your card type (E.g. GTX 560Ti)
    3.Download the latest BIOS for the card
    4.Flash it (Install, it’s usually an .exe file)
    5.Reboot (Most will prompt you to do it automatically)
    6.Frag away.

  19. For windows 7 users: Go to control panel>system and security>user account control settings> Set to Always notify. A popup should occur now letting you know what was causing the focus change.

  20. i had the same issue,i uninstalled java and the updater,then reinstalled them again and i have had no issues so far

  21. Thank you sooo much!!
    This issue of my screen minimizing to the desktop was driving me crazy!
    I uninstalled Samsung Kies and the issue is fixed :D
    Hopefully Samsung can sort this out….
    Thanks again.

  22. This problem is driving me nuts and mine seems to be worse than what is described here.

    If I open an application such as the calculator it almost always will minimise immediately.

    I tried Mitch’s solution on the User Account Control Setting but my was already set to notify me.

    Any other ideas?

  23. Had same problem of my games being minimized,after uninstalling my airtel broadband modem,gaming never gets minized on my laptop

  24. Your advice probably helps some, but others like me don’t even have home internet [hence have no AVG etc. etc. etc.], and still have this focus loss problem….

  25. I’ve same problem ,, and I couldn’t solve that problem but I found another way avoid that problem just I’ve been created new user “new Profile” and now everything is running ok

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