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z-order dead on XP Home laptop

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5 replies to this topic

#1
AEN007

AEN007

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1December2009

Greetings.

Here's a fun one.
The z-order on my XP Home laptop stopped functioning properly this week.
Minimizing non "always on top" windowed apps/utils no longer
sends the app/util to the bottom of the z-order.
Anyone ever heard of this one before?
Anyone know & would tell me what controls the z-order?
Does a registry entry control the z-order?

Any helpful replies/insights appreciated.
Thank you.
Regards,
AEN
Æ
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#2
cluberti

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There's not a "controller" for z-order at all, and only applications that explicitly set themselves as background (or foreground) and keep checking can actually (mostly) guarantee that they'll keep their place in the z-order. There was a question about this on this forum about a year ago, I believe, and it ended up being a logitech mouse driver that caused it, so for what it's worth, anything that can interact with the desktop and the user's desktop heap can cause the issue.

Has anything changed or been updated on your box on or around the time you noticed this was occurring, and does it also happen in safe mode?
MCTS Windows Internals, MCITP Server 2008 EA, MCTS MDT/BDD, MCSE/MCSA Server 2003, Server 2012, Windows 8
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#3
AEN007

AEN007

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1December2009

Greetings.
Thanks for the/a reply.

I'm not sure I understand your reply in the context of the following

http://blogs.msdn.co...0/20/55367.aspx

The above link implies XP controls the z-order.
I have not yet tried Alt-Tab in safe mode.
Alt-Esc still works properly.

Things are always changing on my three XP laptops.
I am constantly updating freeware (mostly portable / install free);
tweaking the XP StartMenu, registry & other settings and
recently tweaking Ad Hoc LAN NICs. In that I have three XP laptops
I have somewhat of a control group when making changes.

Laptop G is my XPHome laptop & now has the z-order problem.
I have had no z-order problems on laptop T with XPP.
I had the same z-order problem on laptop i with XPP, but
experienced that turning on Personalized Menus in the Classic StartMenu
& rebooting returned the normal z-order. I recently decided to turn off
Personalized Menus on all three laptops. The "fix" that worked on i
has not worked on G and now no longer works on i but is no longer necessary either.
I have been able to reboot with Personalized Menus turned off & the z-order remains working.

What things could be interacting with the DeskTop?
What could it mean if the z-order is OK in safe mode?
I'll try the Safe Mode tomorrow probably.

Any helpful replies/insights appreciated.
Thank you.
Regards,
AEN
Æ

p.s.: I can never logout of this forum without closing whatever browser.
I logout & leave. Then maybe I come back later to check for replies
and the forum automatically logs me in even though I do not & never check
remember me ...
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#4
cluberti

cluberti

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The above link implies XP controls the z-order.

Yes, the shell controls the z-order, but "control" is a bad word. There's no guarantee that z-order will be the same forward and back when applications are minimized, maximized, brought to foreground/sent to background, etc, unless the application itself makes sure of this in it's own code (and there are very few apps that I know of that do this). It's true that it usually works as expected, but there's no guarantee that it will, and if it's not working as expected it's highly likely some software on the machine is interfering.

What things could be interacting with the DeskTop?
What could it mean if the z-order is OK in safe mode?

Anything that interacts with the shell, either via a shell extension or a load hook in a .dll can cause it. You can see and enable/disable some (most) of these by using autoruns and shellexview.
MCTS Windows Internals, MCITP Server 2008 EA, MCTS MDT/BDD, MCSE/MCSA Server 2003, Server 2012, Windows 8
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#5
AEN007

AEN007

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3December2009

Greetings.
Thanks for the reply.
XP managed the z-order properly in Safe Mode, but
did not after I rebooted normal XP; however,
I then (seem to have) subsequently found a solution.
At the moment XP is (once again) properly managing
the z-order on each laptop with Personalized Menus disabled.

I still need/want to find a helpful network PING problem solver.
Any suggestions?

Thank you.
Regards,
AEN
AE
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#6
cluberti

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My suggestion would be to post that request in the network and internet section, you'll probably get better help there for that.
MCTS Windows Internals, MCITP Server 2008 EA, MCTS MDT/BDD, MCSE/MCSA Server 2003, Server 2012, Windows 8
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