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01/15/2007 02:24:39 PM · #1
Ok, I'm going nuts with this stupid problem, and calling upon help from the amazing pool of talent here at DPC once again :)

Here's the problem. Exactly every 60 seconds, some process is kicking in on my laptop which takes the focus away from my current window. I'm not sure if that's a good description, but here's what happens... as I am typing this right now, exactly every 60 seconds my web browser window will "gray out" as though I have clicked the Start button to begin another application.

Then I have to click inside the text box to make this the active window again so I can keep typing. Make sense? How do I figure out what process is causing this? This happens even if NO other application is running... like if I just have the clock maximized on the desktop. But sometimes it doesn't do it! I'm ready to put my fist through something.

And yes, my virus protection is updated, and a scan shows no malware/spyware, blah blah blah.

Message edited by author 2007-01-15 14:25:01.
01/15/2007 02:28:31 PM · #2
Maybe not of great help but if you click CTRL+ALT+DEL there will be a window opening in wich you have a process monitor. I suggest you open it and check for the new process opening then you will know at least wich one is it.
01/15/2007 02:28:44 PM · #3
this has happened to me before...but honestly, I can't remember why tho. I'm trying to think back.........

hmmm....definetly check the list of running programs/processes as suggested. There shouldn't be a whole list as long as your arm of random crap.

I used to sit at a PC for 8 hours a day for 7 years so I think everything that could go wrong with Windows did at some point happen to me. Lots of little oddities. I use a mac now :-)

Message edited by author 2007-01-15 14:29:57.
01/15/2007 02:31:47 PM · #4
Yeah, I've already sat & watched that... I don't see anything out of the ordinary there, and nothing new pops up at the same time as when the focus shifts... and nothing even moves up the list at the same time.

Originally posted by nicklevy:

Maybe not of great help but if you click CTRL+ALT+DEL there will be a window opening in wich you have a process monitor. I suggest you open it and check for the new process opening then you will know at least wich one is it.
01/15/2007 02:32:18 PM · #5
Originally posted by GoldBerry:

this has happened to me before...but honestly, I can't remember why tho. I'm trying to think back.........


Think, GoldBerry, THINK! My sanity depends on it! :)
01/15/2007 02:35:46 PM · #6
Right clivk on the tool bar and go to Task Manager. Click on the Processes tab. You can sort by CPU usage and watch for the cycle to see which process shows up.
01/15/2007 02:36:23 PM · #7
Do you have speech recognition on?

//support.microsoft.com/kb/313176

I would systematically turn off individual applications. Systray apps are most likely to cause this problem.

Also, as an acid test, boot in Safe mode. If you STILL get it, it's more likely to be malware.

(In the unlikely event you'd fiddled with a service and given it desktop interaction, try turning that off.)

Edit: What scarbrd said too - good advice.

Message edited by author 2007-01-15 14:37:11.
01/15/2007 02:39:16 PM · #8
If all else fails, it sounds like you may have some adware or spyware. Have you tried running Spybot S&D or anything like that? Here is a link to it and some other spyware removal tools on PCWorld's web site:

Spybot S&D
01/15/2007 02:41:44 PM · #9
If you can't figure out do Start->Run type in msconfig and click Run. Last tab is Startup. You can disable all, reboot your PC and try again. If everything is working, repeat above procedure and start enabling one by one until your focus no longer works. That way you'll know which process it is.
01/15/2007 02:41:54 PM · #10
Originally posted by scarbrd:

Right clivk on the tool bar and go to Task Manager. Click on the Processes tab. You can sort by CPU usage and watch for the cycle to see which process shows up.

If you don't see anything new popping up there, try the performance tab and see if there's a spike at the time it happens. If there is and nothing is in the processes tab, then you try a TOTAL cleanup (I use Window Washer) and virus scan.
01/15/2007 02:43:52 PM · #11
Originally posted by scarbrd:

Right clivk on the tool bar and go to Task Manager. Click on the Processes tab. You can sort by CPU usage and watch for the cycle to see which process shows up.

That. Plus, I would go to Start -> Run -> MSConfig -> Startup tab, and uncheck everything except your antivirus. Also delete anything that's in that stupid Start -> Programs -> Startup folder.
01/15/2007 03:21:13 PM · #12
Do you have IE7 and google toolbar?

I have and I have this same exact problem. And it's REALLY ANNOYING.
01/15/2007 03:26:03 PM · #13
Originally posted by mist:

Do you have IE7 and google toolbar?

I have and I have this same exact problem. And it's REALLY ANNOYING.

I let IE7 install on my PC at work. It seemed so slow down screen redraws for me so I uninstalled it. Suckage.
01/15/2007 04:30:49 PM · #14
that has got to be one of the strangest problems I've seen. Any other symptoms, like slowed performance, unusual internet activity, CPU usage spikes?
01/15/2007 04:34:24 PM · #15
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

that has got to be one of the strangest problems I've seen. Any other symptoms, like slowed performance, unusual internet activity, CPU usage spikes?


Nope. Just the problem I described. I used a stopwatch to find that it was happening exactly every minute, whether I was touching anything or not. Very bizarre. AND to make things more strange, it doesn't happen all the time. It has been over an hour without a problem now, but I'm not going to celebrate yet.

Every time I think I have it pinned down to a certain application (my latest suspicion is my anti-spam program), it starts acting up without that program running. I dunno.

I have to go rub some Head-On directly to my forehead.
01/15/2007 04:35:02 PM · #16
Originally posted by mist:

Do you have IE7 and google toolbar?

I have and I have this same exact problem. And it's REALLY ANNOYING.


Yes, I do have both of these, but I haven't been using IE7 very often at all. I've been using Firefox 99.9% of the time. Granted, it does have the Google toolbar too.....
01/15/2007 04:37:40 PM · #17
Maybe compare software installed?
01/15/2007 04:39:12 PM · #18
This might sound stupid... but might it be a malfunctioning screensaver? What are your settings there?

Also, check scheduled tasks.

Message edited by author 2007-01-15 16:40:14.
01/15/2007 04:39:59 PM · #19
Originally posted by alanfreed:

Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

that has got to be one of the strangest problems I've seen. Any other symptoms, like slowed performance, unusual internet activity, CPU usage spikes?


Nope. Just the problem I described. I used a stopwatch to find that it was happening exactly every minute, whether I was touching anything or not. Very bizarre. AND to make things more strange, it doesn't happen all the time. It has been over an hour without a problem now, but I'm not going to celebrate yet.

Every time I think I have it pinned down to a certain application (my latest suspicion is my anti-spam program), it starts acting up without that program running. I dunno.

I have to go rub some Head-On directly to my forehead.


Apply directly to the forehead.

Yeah this problem is crappy. I've had it too but never frequently enough where I investigated further. I do have a more annoying issue at home, though, where my mouse disconnects for a second and reconnects so Windows makes the USB connecting sound and then I'm fine again for a few more minutes. Drives me nuts and can't find anything wrong.

I'm assuming you don't have other windows open that are asking for your attention? Is it only IE that you have open?

I was going to suggest what has already been suggested - to open task manager > processes tab, then sort by CPU so that the process doing work goes to the top of the list. This list constantly cycles.

Best of luck!
01/15/2007 04:49:53 PM · #20
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

This might sound stupid... but might it be a malfunctioning screensaver? What are your settings there?

Also, check scheduled tasks.


None, and none. I have the power settings set so that the screen will go off after 20 minutes, or some such thing, but that's it.

Originally posted by Kaups:

I'm assuming you don't have other windows open that are asking for your attention? Is it only IE that you have open?

I was going to suggest what has already been suggested - to open task manager > processes tab, then sort by CPU so that the process doing work goes to the top of the list. This list constantly cycles.


Nope, this doesn't involve IE at all. It happens without IE open, or anything open (no, I don't have any other pop-ups that coincide with the problem either).

I did use the task manager when this first started, but I didn't have it sorted by CPU usage, so I'll give that a try next time it happens.

Thanks for all the responses!
01/15/2007 04:52:28 PM · #21
Try disabling antivirus or other things of that nature that could be scanning.
01/15/2007 04:58:41 PM · #22
That's odd that this same problem happens in different browsers.

I wonder what it could be?

It doesn't seem to be happening now as I type in this box, but I'm sure it will happen when I'm not expecting it.
01/15/2007 05:03:11 PM · #23
The only stuff I have changed recently is AVG antivirus and something is saying that a Java update is available. Everything else is the same as ever, when I didn't have this issue.

Maybe some windows update has broken something.
01/15/2007 05:08:50 PM · #24
Do you have Office (any version) installed on this system? If so, make sure MSO is turned OFF. This is the service Office uses to search and categorize ALL files on your system so that when you call an Office app to open one, it finds it fast. If it has not done a complete scan, or has not updated the current scan of your system it will attempt to do so when it THINKS your system is idle or otherwise not busy using some CPU time. Just a suggestion...

If you have done an update that involved Office (any app) this setting can and will change

It will try to scan continuously unless you interrupt it

If you look at processing running or things loaded during start-up and MSO is one of them, turn off/disable (this may or may not show up in Start-up tab, but will always show in processes tab)

Also check that Windows Messenger is NOT running.

Message edited by author 2007-01-15 17:12:41.
01/15/2007 05:11:18 PM · #25
Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services, Messenger and see if it is enabled or disabled. I've had that happen, along with a number of out of nowhere popups advertising something on screen.
To change it, double-click on Messenger and select disable from the drop-down.
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