Just a lit­tle tip that I think some of you’ll find help­ful. As many of you may already be aware, I make exten­sive use of Open Source tools. For years, I’ve used Linux/BSD on my home work­sta­tions and quite a few times have gained suc­cess in con­vinc­ing my boss­es to make the switch but you know, that’s not always the case. No mat­ter how you want to avoid Win­dows, you’ll often times come across sit­u­a­tions that force you to use Win­dows, even for a day.

One of the things that I hate about Win­dows is that even though it is a pret­ty capa­ble oper­at­ing sys­tem, it hides many such capa­bil­i­ties that pow­er users are going to like. One of such capa­bil­i­ties is Change Focus on Mouseover. Nor­mal­ly, you aren’t going to find any vis­i­ble option to enable this fea­ture. In Win­dows, the default con­fig­u­ra­tions force you to click on the title bar of anoth­er win­dow in order to bring it into focus. This is not the case with Lin­ux. Just bring your mouse point­er to a dif­fer­ent appli­ca­tion win­dow and it becomes focused!

I can’t explain how much I’ve missed this fea­ture before I came to real­ize that this kind of stuff is pos­si­ble even in Win­dows oper­at­ing sys­tems using the RegEd­it (Reg­istry Edi­tor) util­i­ty. Since edit­ing reg­istry is some­thing that you shouldn’t do unless you real­ly know your stuff, I’ve found a tiny util­i­ty that allows you to do the same using point & click method.

Go to Microsoft Pow­er­Toys and down­load the TweakUI util­i­ty. Here is the direct link. Here is what TweakUI does:

TweakUI gives you access to sys­tem set­tings that are not exposed in the Win­dows XP default user inter­face, includ­ing mouse set­tings, Explor­er set­tings, taskbar set­tings, and more.

After installing it on your sys­tem, launch TweakUI from START >> Pro­gram Files >> Pow­er­toys for Win­dowsXP >> Tweak UI. Under Mouse >> X-Mouse, select Acti­va­tion fol­lows X-Mouse check­box and click OK.

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You’re done! Try open­ing a few appli­ca­tions and hov­er­ing your mouse over them. Check if win­dows change focus or not.

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