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Scrolling in Inactive Windows

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  • tfraser

    Why won't Windows do this? When I hover the cursor over a scrollable area in an inactive window I should be able to scroll it immediately; not click to change focus, then scroll, then click back to the window I'm working in. It's very jarring coming from Mac OS where this feature is universal.

  • Dr Herbie

    I'm not sure everyone would like it -- it's like 'hot tracking' that I found in some old Solaris systems years ago: the keyboard input went to whichever window had the mouse in it. I actually found that to be really annoying as I often bat the mouse cursour out of the way when it's over text that  I'm reading, but I still want the text cursor to remain there for keyboard input (including scrolling).

     

    If you find changing OS jarring then just stick to one or the other and stop shilly-shallying around! Tongue Out

     

     

    Herbie

     

  • kettch
  • tfraser

    Dr Herbie:

     

    It's different to the Solaris method because keyboard input always goes to the active/foreground window, but mouse input goes to whichever window the mouse is hovering over. For example, you can have a text editor as the active window and an inactive browser window to the side with the mouse over it. The text editor will take your key presses and the browser window will take your mouse commands when you scroll.

     

    The ubiquity of Windows means you can never truly escape it.

     

    Kettch:

     

    I think that tweak would do something like what Dr Herbie described, which sounds like it could be worse than the default setup. Also, the Windows boxes that I use are mostly lab computers; hacking the registry is not really an option.

  • AndyC

    tfraser said:

    Dr Herbie:

     

    It's different to the Solaris method because keyboard input always goes to the active/foreground window, but mouse input goes to whichever window the mouse is hovering over. For example, you can have a text editor as the active window and an inactive browser window to the side with the mouse over it. The text editor will take your key presses and the browser window will take your mouse commands when you scroll.

     

    The ubiquity of Windows means you can never truly escape it.

     

    Kettch:

     

    I think that tweak would do something like what Dr Herbie described, which sounds like it could be worse than the default setup. Also, the Windows boxes that I use are mostly lab computers; hacking the registry is not really an option.

    Except it's just as annoying the other way round. I often use the mouse wheel to scroll the active window's document, without the mouse being over that window (I've usually moved it out of the way to avoid the pointer obscuring text etc). The fact that Windows was designed to always work without a mouse (wheras Mac OS has historically required one to function) probably influenced the approach Windows took. I have to say that I personally much prefer it, it seems far more logical and useful to me.

  • tfraser

    AndyC said:
    tfraser said:
    *snip*

    Except it's just as annoying the other way round. I often use the mouse wheel to scroll the active window's document, without the mouse being over that window (I've usually moved it out of the way to avoid the pointer obscuring text etc). The fact that Windows was designed to always work without a mouse (wheras Mac OS has historically required one to function) probably influenced the approach Windows took. I have to say that I personally much prefer it, it seems far more logical and useful to me.

    I can appreciate the usefulness of that scenario as well, but I think there should at least be an option to choose which way you want it to work (Windows 8?). For the kind of work I'm doing, the Mac way is so much more efficient; there is so much less clicking involved.

  • Lord Zarquon

    Windows is actually kind of inconsistent. In IE the scroll wheel always scrolls the area the mouse is over, in fact that seems to be the case for a lot of programs except Windows Explorer. I find myself being frustrated by it on a regular basis because I often want to scroll the folder tree when the file list is the active control. The most annoying thing about it is that the only way to make the tree view the active control is to actually select a folder, so if you don't want to change the folder being displayed in the file list area you have to click on the currently selected folder which is a relatively small area of the screen (if it's even visible at the current scroll offset).

  • PaoloM

    tfraser said:
    AndyC said:
    *snip*

    I can appreciate the usefulness of that scenario as well, but I think there should at least be an option to choose which way you want it to work (Windows 8?). For the kind of work I'm doing, the Mac way is so much more efficient; there is so much less clicking involved.

    ...but I think there should at least be an option to choose which way you want it to work (Windows 8?).

    You can forget about adding options to future releases of Windows. Historically, the trend has been to provide good defaults and leave it at that.

  • spivonious

    I would love to see this feature. It's in some applications and not others. I'd love if Microsoft made it the default for all windows. I definitely don't want the keyboard tracking mentioned above though; that would just get annoying.

  • vesuvius

    I think its even available in Linux distros like KDE, but this is how windows has always worked.

     

    Window is not a Mac, though Windows and Mac fanboys are constantly trying to make the to OS's identical or slating the other for being archaic, you'd probably find that there is a very good reason why they did this.

  • RLO

    Tfraser, I assume that the reason you have this complaint is that you are manually adjusting lab computers in your job environment, and as such you are going to every machine and applying these adjustments?  Hence your complaints about the mouse? 

  • BHpaddock

    RLO said:

    Tfraser, I assume that the reason you have this complaint is that you are manually adjusting lab computers in your job environment, and as such you are going to every machine and applying these adjustments?  Hence your complaints about the mouse? 

    I'm pretty sure most of the mouse software packages (IntelliPoint, Logitech's SetPoint, etc) let you change this behavior.  Don't think Windows has a built-in option for it though.

  • RLO

    BHpaddock said:
    RLO said:
    *snip*

    I'm pretty sure most of the mouse software packages (IntelliPoint, Logitech's SetPoint, etc) let you change this behavior.  Don't think Windows has a built-in option for it though.

    The reason I was originally asking was because I was in that situation in my last job.  We discovered the best way to avoid repetitive strain injury going through a lab of unmanaged computers was to use keyboard shortcuts instead of the mouse.  You can easily avoid touching the mouse if you know your keyboard shortcuts.  A simple alt + tab brings focus and by using the alt,backspace, arrow keys, and tabs, you can make most pieces of software obey your wants.  On XP it was easy to restart any of the computers by using win+u+r.  Originally using a mouse it would take 45 minutes or more to do work in a lab, and after using keyboard shortcuts it would take about 20 minutes to do the same work. 

  • SlackmasterK

    Some programs do it. Some don't. Truth is I just wish they'd pick a behavior and it would happen everywhere and in every program. But no, some people decide they need to create custom handling or something because they don't like the standard windows controls, or their framework doesn't have native support for it (i.e. Java and other platform-agnostic frameworks).

     

    Does anybody know whether J2EE apps do the inactive scrolling thing? I would therefore presume yes; alas, my systems are Java-free.

  • bluescrubbie
  • lloydbond

    WizMouse is exactly what your looking for. Also the Mac way of scrolling is really the unix way of scrolling.

     

  • ManipUni

    I'm not sure the "Windows way" is right (or wrong). But I wouldn't want to see it changed. That being said, I doubt anyone would complain about a user bound option (as opposed to system bound) to change this behaviour.

  • elmer

    bluescrubbie said:

    I finally got around to trying this.

     

    Win-XP could scroll explorer windows with the mouse-wheel, just by pointing at them, while Win-7 requires you focus the windows first... and I found the change to be really annoying, as my brain seems to be hard-wired to XP-mode.

     

    This app seems to do the job and so far no weird stuff encountered, but it does appear to be slightly more expensive on CPU resources.

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