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Fixing tooltip behind the Windows taskbar


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Originally Posted by Computer Guru @ Neowin

The technical explanation is that in the Win32 API, tooltips are coded to have HWND_TOPMOST as their z-index - meaning that they are on top of everything.

However, due to a series (many) (obvious) bugs and miscodings in the Windows Shell, when you perform certain actions with dialogs and Windows that are supposed to appear above current windows (like the context menu when you right click the start menu items) end up coming even above the HWND_TOPMOST entries as well - that's not supposed to happen.

Then it seems (from here on in, i'm only guessing based on what i can see) that the parent window/dialog (in this case, the start menu, then the taskbar) inherits the window status when the child is closed, and keeps it.

Think of it like Dominoes. The first window is made topmost - no problem. as it closes, it's parent takes that z-index. then its parent, and the next, and the next - until you end up with something in the same x-y plane as a HWND_TOPMOST item, and it ends up with a lower z-index; therefore obscuring that item from view.

Basically, it is something that could be avoided by properly handing off z-indexes and keeping these always under HWND_TOPMOST items.

Only the people with Windows' source code or those that have reverse-engineered Windows can actually patch it; so ToolTipFixer runs in the background (as a service) and intercepts calls for HWND_TOPMOST to circumvent the bug. It runs as a service for minimal impact on performance (Start | Run | Services.msc | NST ToolTip Fixer) and for persistence across user-sessions.

^ response from the author to better describe the program. net 2.0 is required, 2.6mb memory usage, but a easy trade-off imo to not be annoyed with the tooltip bug and having to click a script everytime it happens.

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heres another program that does the same thing except it is constantly running, you don't need to make a shortcut to click when the tooltip bugs on ya.


In my opinion this program uses to much memory and it would be better to fix this problem without need to have some app always running.

What exactly goes this executable do behind the scenes? Unload / reload dll? Regtweak? What? A little uncomfy with running executables that I know little about...

I would like to know this too to maybe fix this problem without any program but I don't know is this possible. I checked and this program do nothing with registry. I hope in sp3 for winxp this problem will be finally fixed.

This product will prevent the problem from happening. It is not a separately running process on your computer. It is implemented as a standard windows shell extension. It does not use any CPU resources and only a very, very small amount of memory. Oh, and it even lets you change the fonts, colors, and timers for the tool tips. All other products/fixes I know of only attempt to correct the problem after it occurs or require you to manually run something to correct the problem when it happens. Microsoft's answer to fixing this is to up grade to Vista so I would not hold my breath hoping for a fix. I hope that helps.

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