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Random Alt+Tab

by DctrApathy

Original Post

Random Alt+Tab

★ Apprentice

I've been experiencing an issue for a few months now where my game occasionally hides itself and shows my desktop on its own: I haven't given an Alt+Tab or anything of the like. It only happens during missions, but it is not limited to the use of any specific character, gear, map, etc. I wouldn't say it's really frequent - it happening about once every ten missions - but when it does happen, it's exceptionally annoying because it usually gets me killed.


Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Message 1 of 24 (19,535 Views)

Re: Random Alt+Tab

[ Edited ]
★★ Guide

In Diablo II, a friend would set alt for a commonly used button, such as highlight treasure or run, so they were holding that button down a lot.

When it was time to use a potion, they would be hasty and occasionally miss the "4" key and end up pressing "F4" instead.

Your tale of this happening once every 10 missions sounds like a similar time frame as that accidental Alt + F4 combo, with similar consequences.


Windows 7 added a few more minimize to desktop options, are you accidentally hitting one of those?

Hmm, not listed are some of the mouse things, such as grabbing a window and wiggling left and right a few times quickly.

(Is it possible that while you are holding down left click to shoot and then wiggle left and right to spray bullets back and forth that it is triggering that command?)


Personally, I used to find the Left Windows key to be rather devastating for similar reasons, so I have performed Hardware "enhancements" to remove it from my keyboard(s) in the past.  There is still a Windows Key on the right if I ever needed to press it.


Some other things that may do it:

Do you have a mouse with additional features beyond left, right, and scroll?

Do you have any other software running in the background that likes to get attention periodically? (AVG and USB Wireless software are two examples.)

Do you have any special keyboard commands or Macros set-up?

Any accessibility options interfering?

Did you adjust the Key Binding to something different?  (I did and it helps a lot)

Message 2 of 24 (19,379 Views)

Re: Random Alt+Tab

★ Apprentice
Those are interesting ideas. I'll run through the list and see if I can replicate the problem.
Message 3 of 24 (19,376 Views)

Re: Random Alt+Tab

★ Apprentice
I've looked into all of those possibilities, and none of them appear to be the case.
Message 4 of 24 (19,363 Views)

Re: Random Alt+Tab

★ Apprentice

This continues to be a problem, and there is never any evident pattern or reason for it. Is there anyone else out there that has / knows about this problem?

Message 5 of 24 (19,349 Views)

Re: Random Alt+Tab

[ Edited ]
★★★ Newbie

I have the same exact problem.


I get random alt-tabs to my desktop from within the games I play. It happens so randomly that I cannot pinpoint what is causing the issue. It started happening a month or so ago. The only thing that has changed recently is installing two EVGA 680 GTX video cards in SLI. Before, I had two EVGA 580 GTX in SLI. There are many factors as well. During the past two months there have been a lot of updates with Windows, Nvidia, etc.


I have reformated multipled times to a clean system and updated my drivers and whatnot but the issue is still there. I even tried purchasing Windows 8 to see if it happens there but I reverted back to Windows 7 before I had a chance check it out. Very cool OS by the way. I reverted back for personal reasons.


Anyway, I started noticing it happen in WoW and just now Saints Row the Third played through Steam. It happens whether or not I am using my keyboard/mouse or if it is sitting there idle. I searched the net and many people are having this same issue all the way back from 2008 with different setups (computers etc). It happens so random and at different times. Some hours, days, weeks.


I wonder if Windows Event Viewer catches what is causing the alt-tab? Is there an application that tracks/records what is happening on your computer and tells you what processes were running at X time? That way next time it happens I can check it out there. I'm not sure if viewing my Task Manager when it happens would help. I wouldn't know which process was causing it without a lot of trail and error and if it was process that appears and then disappears.


Anyway, let me know if you find the cause of your issue. I'll report back if I progress in finding the cause of this.



Message 6 of 24 (19,341 Views)

Re: Random Alt+Tab

★★ Guide

This app used to be a staple in online diagnostics.  (Such as places like Answer HQ)

(This is a wikipedia link about the software, different versions and who created/owns it, find your favorite version from there)


However, it was originally a snapshot utility, not a monitoring one.  If you leave a link to it on your desktop, when you get sent to it, you can run it and *maybe* whatever caused the alt+tab is still running.


Or there might be newer versions that has monitoring enabled, in which case run it until you hit the issue, then check/report the logs.

Message 7 of 24 (19,337 Views)

Re: Random Alt+Tab

★★★★ Novice

I don't know if this will be of any use to you, as I don't know what set-up you use - but I had this very same problem that persisted for weeks on end and drove me absolutely crazy - it would always happen in game at the worst opportune moment, and I would end up dead when I managed to get back into the game.  It happened with ALL of my games, and when it started happening with other software like Word, for example, as well, then I really knew something was up.


Turns out, we had recently set up a wireless network at home (previously had used cabled internet).  The software that came with the USB wireless adapter kept "hijacking" the system, at random intervals from once every 30 seconds or so to once every couple of days.  What the purpose was of the hijacking, I don't know - but disabling the software solved the problem and now everything is as it should be.


Have you, by any chance, changed something in your network at home in a similar fashion?!  This of course may not be your issue at all, but it's worth suggesting anyway, just in case.



Message 8 of 24 (19,331 Views)

Re: Random Alt+Tab

Community Manager (retired)

I have a couple more possibilities as well.

If you have AVG virus scanner, it has a habit of minimizing full screen items (games, movies, etc) disabling that could help.


Run the game in window mode borderless and set the resolution to the same as your computers. It should appear fullscreen but be a bit more stable and solve the random Alt+Tab issue.

Message 9 of 24 (19,316 Views)

Re: Random Alt+Tab


biowareqa wrote:

I have a couple more possibilities as well.

If you have AVG virus scanner, it has a habit of minimizing full screen items (games, movies, etc) disabling that could help.


Run the game in window mode borderless and set the resolution to the same as your computers. It should appear fullscreen but be a bit more stable and solve the random Alt+Tab issue.

I too used to have problems with AVG minimizing all my games. That's when I switched to Avast antivirus, which is much more gamer-friendly.

I do not work for EA.

Message 10 of 24 (19,314 Views)


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