Hardware Hints/Tips

Windows lose focus

Recently I noticed a problem on my laptop, Dell XPS-15 (L501) Windows 7 64-bit, where the window I was using would lose focus apparently at random, but on closer examination seemed to be happening between every 5 and 15 seconds.

This was at first puzzling – no other window appeared to be gaining the focus, and it was unclear exactly what was actually capturing the focus.

It quickly became more of an issue as it was becoming impossible to use an editor, VS, etc. as mid-typing the cursor would suddenly disappear from the point at which you were typing!

It was also apparent when simply scrolling, for example through a long web page. In this case, scrolling would stop as the focus was lost from the scrollbar!!

A quick search on the web revealed a suggestion, amongst others, that the issue may be caused by the QuickSet utility program supplied with Dell laptops.

But why would this utility suddenly start to be a problem when it has been working quietly for the last 14 months or so?

Anyway, it’s easy enough to un-install QuickSet and I could easily re-install it if I found I was really missing it (although having not used it since I’d had the machine this was unlikely).

So I un-installed QuickSet from Control Panel … Program and Features and re-booted the machine.

Initial test looked promising – scrolling web-pages are back to normal and not losing focus while scrolling and editing also seems to be back to normal.

While this solution worked for me it may not work for everyone – but as I never used this “useful”  utility it was worth a try.

The only thing I can think of that may have caused the issue to start happening is an apparently un-related problem with the laptop battery. A few days ago, I had a warning pop-up telling me that my battery was un-reliable and I should purchase a new one from Dell as it had now lost 63% of its original capacity !! Perhaps, it’s a coincidence, but I wonder if it’s related … on a separate question why has my battery only lasted a little over 14months?