sepdek November 10, 2013
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There was the time of the PowerToys…back in the Windows XP era…So we had the option to easily change system setting without having to get our hands dirty digging into the registry.
Nowadays there is no such utility so we have to do thing on our own.

What I am particularly interested in is the x-mouse unix-like function, where focus on windows follows the mouse without raising the focused window in the foreground. I have been using this setting since Windows XP and I find it extremely useful.

By default, Windows gives focus to a window only after clicking on it, which it turn brings the window in front. In the modern (as of Windows 8) Control Panel there is an option to have focus following the mouse in the “Ease of Access” and further in the “Ease of Access Center” and in particular in “Make the mouse easier to use”. If the option “Activate a window by hovering over it with the mouse” is selected then the system always gives focus to the window under the mouse. There is only one drawback: the window under the mouse comes in front of all windows.

So far, I have only found two solutions to this:

  1. Do a little registry editing which involves editing of two sections summarized in the following:

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
    “UserPreferencesMask”=hex:9f,3e,03,80,12,00,00,00
    “ActiveWndTrkTimeout”=dword:00000000
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse]
    “ActiveWindowTracking”=dword:00000001

    This piece of code can be downloaded as a .reg file ready for registry merging here.

  2. Get a very handy little utility that will do the trick. The utility is called “X-Mouse Controls” and can be downloaded here.

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