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Topic: «Disable AWM Alt+Tab in favour of Windows Alt+Tab » on forum: Feature Requests   Views: 15586
 
Tinybut Strong
Advanced user
 
Posts: 188
Joined: 02.02.2010
Posted: 01.02.2014 05:18:44
 
 
Quote
- How many monitors do you use?
What exactly applications (names, versions) have you noticed the problem with?
Did you wake up your computer after sleep or hibernation?
Are you able to reproduce the problem?

Noticed same problem on my HTPC (also Windows 8 based), not sure if in this case was related to sleep (not hibernation). The Windows Explorer was minimized and not showing in AWM task switcher. I'm not able to reproduce the issue, it occur by random. If I find a way, I'll notify you.

All environment tested with one single monitor.
 
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aph
Registered user
 
Posts: 50
Joined: 18.03.2014
Posted: 18.03.2014 11:55:01
 
 
So frustrating to read this thread and the replies.

The question was how to disable the Alt+Tab. Not "ask us specific details on our configuration as we try to fix it again"

PLEASE just let us disable it!

Here's another bug with it in 8.1.2: it doesn't respect the keyboard repeat delay, so it waits forever before proceeding even though my keyboard repeat delay is set to minimum.

Again, how do we disable it? The interface implies it's off when the multiple-monitor task switcher is disabled, but it stays on forever. I am trying various ways of forcibly terminating the window but have no luck so far.
 
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Vasiliy Ivachev
Administrator
 
Posts: 2051
Joined: 09.11.2010
Posted: 19.03.2014 13:10:04
 
 
Hello aph,

Quote
The question was how to disable the Alt+Tab. Not "ask us specific details on our configuration as we try to fix it again"

PLEASE just let us disable it!
- We'll try to add the possibility to disable the multi-monitor task switcher.
But the native task switcher will be unable to display all windows that are placed in multi-monitor taskbars in this situation if the multi-monitor taskbar mode is Individual.

Quote
Here's another bug with it in 8.1.2: it doesn't respect the keyboard repeat delay, so it waits forever before proceeding even though my keyboard repeat delay is set to minimum.
- Could you provide me an example of the problem? Could you also provide me an instruction of how to change the keyboard repeat delay?
 
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aph
Registered user
 
Posts: 50
Joined: 18.03.2014
Posted: 19.03.2014 16:12:35
 
 
Agreed completely, the AWM task switcher is required in the case the AWM task bar is used. But when the task bar is not used (since it has been available as a native option since, Vista?) it just makes everything feel slower. I change tasks a few times a minute and it's very frustrating to wait the extra few seconds each time.

To bring up the keyboard repeat delay option just use the Keyboard Properties in Control Panel. One way to bring it up is with the following shell command:

Code
rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL main.cpl,@1

Thank you for the quick response and offering a solution.

My settings are:

 
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Vasiliy Ivachev
Administrator
 
Posts: 2051
Joined: 09.11.2010
Posted: 20.03.2014 17:10:23
 
 
aph,

You didn't provide an example.
How could I reproduce the problem?

I've changed the keyboard repeat delay and it worked correctly with Actual Window Manager loaded and unloaded.

Could you also specify your OS (version, 32 or 64-bit)?
 
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aph
Registered user
 
Posts: 50
Joined: 18.03.2014
Posted: 21.03.2014 11:37:12
 
 
I'm not sure if you're asking what the functionality is or how AWM Alt+Tab ignores the setting. The keyboard repeat delay is the amount of time the operating system waits before repeating a key that is being held down. AWM Alt+Tab ignores the setting and uses the long pause that is the default.

The steps to reproduce are holding down Alt+Tab.

The expected behavior is the short delay being respected. The current behavior is a long delay. This causes the slowdown when there shouldn't be one.

Since it's a very commonly used feature makes the system feel slugging even though it's just waiitng for however long the value is set in the code of AWM.

Keyboard repeat delay has not changed at all in the last 15 years. After using it that long it's just muscle memory that makes you land on the right window even as they're switching 30 or 40 ms apart.

I'm sure most of the users of AWM are "power users" with similar habits. This bug disrupts the normal flow of using the system. The OS is Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit RTM.

I mentioned there were other bugs as well. There are at least 8 other system parameters that Alt+Tab reads and AWM ignores. These include the values of the number of rows per window, columns per window, thumbnail size, icon size and position, title text size, various different settings for margins and more. About half a dozen tools can change these very easily with no requirement for the user to have any technical knowledge. But the nice and large thumbnails don't show up in the AWM Alt+Tab.

That is why I believe strongly the option should be available to disable the AWM Alt+Tab especially when the AWM Task Bar is not used and I am happy that you are looking into it
 
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aph
Registered user
 
Posts: 50
Joined: 18.03.2014
Posted: 22.03.2014 14:06:55
 
 
Another few bugs I found in the AltTab while working on the deactivation.

Step 1: The first steps to replicating all of them is to bring up the AltTab window by any means that you might prefer, so either holding down Alt+Tab, pressing it once and holding only Alt, or pressing Ctrl+Alt+Tab is all the same here end result

Bug 1: Step 1 above, then rght click mouse button
Expected effect: none, actual effect, flickering or disappearing icons. Thumbnails not affected

Bug 2: Step then hotkey activation of window resize by mouse movement
Expected beh * avior: Either none or resizing of the window and its contents
Actual beh * avior: Contents stay where they are but the solid background color alternatively clips o the foreground contents or resizes only on its s own leaving floating icons and tuhmbnails on to

Bug 3: Same as above but activating window movement by hotkey.
Expected beh * avior: Either nothing, or movement of the window
Actual beh * avior: Background and thumbnails move but icons stay until button lifts, they flicker off and then turn back on to show where the should have been when the thumbnails moved

Bug 4: Psychadelic backgorund effects by combinations of the above,. Sometimes pulling in black, white, gray in circular shapes or arcs, with icons and thumbnails scattered in throughout the desktp and the bakground floating indepndently. Takes experimentation and practice to reproduce, not sure o a specific process that will replicate it consistently and not too interestde in finding one...

If anyone else is actually reading this thread I found how to deactivate the AltTa window without affecting the core functionality. Just workiing on a 1-line command tha can be pasted into a Run window to automte the process so it's easy to see what;s happpening and easy to do. Easily reversed as well. No modification of AWM files, no executable code or DLL hooking involved
 
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Frank Gerrits
Registered user
 
Posts: 15
Joined: 05.11.2009
Posted: 22.03.2014 19:13:23
 
 
Hi aph,

I started the thread, and am very much interested in how to deactivate AWM's Alt-Tab. Can you provide me with the command?

Regards,
Frank
 
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aph
Registered user
 
Posts: 50
Joined: 18.03.2014
Posted: 23.03.2014 16:40:47
 
 
Sure no problem. I stil have to make the comand though because I got interrupted with an unrelated glitch when I tried to take a screenshot of the AWM AltTab window bugs in my last post. My screen capture keys were such that they overlapped with high contrast mode in Windows, and it switched me over when I tried. Win8 is really annoying about custom theme settings so I have am going back through the ones it destroyed in high contrast and restoring them fr om backups.

I cang give you the manual version, which most of the work involves finding and making visible the file that handles that part, It's strange to what extent it's hidden. Anyway the file, or files since there are actually 2 versions for 32/64 bit, the names are aimemb.dll and aimemb64.dll. I only performed these steps on the 64-bit version since that's what I run, but I think I saw the other one in memory too so if you disable both you may have a different result. I would suggest just disabling the 64-bit if you're on that, since I don't know the effect disabling both will have and thta's part of the testing I was/am going to do before I post the 1-step method.

Also I have an option set that may affect results, which is hacking the following checked in Options > General: "Run the library from the installation folder". The reason I do that is for security, but it also makes sure there is only 1 copy of each of those files instead of two, with the other in a temporary folder. So here's what I'd do from a general installation:

1. Launch config, check "Run the library from the installation folder", click OK
2. Right click and "Exit" AWM becuase hitting "Stop" keeps the files in memory and one of them keeps a handle open to this file so the changes either won't take place or will be postponed until the file is reloaded, not sure which yet but doesn't really matter
3. Open an administrative comand prompt, the method varies depending which version you're on but mostly you should be able to press Start, type cmd, and hold Ctrl+Shift while pressing Enter. If it doesn't say "Administrator" in the title bar or if you get errors when running "attrib" later then it didn't go through
4. Switch over to the AWM folder, usually you can type: cd "C:\Program Files (x86)\Actual Window Manager"
5. We need to make the files visible so we can then set their permissions. No changes to the contents of the files are being made, just to the Windows permissions. To do that type: "attr -s -h -r aimemb64.dll" If you feel like testing you can do both with "attr -s -h -r aimemb*.dll"
6. Now that they're visible type "start ." and that will open a regular Windows folder view, wh ere you will see the file(s). Right click aimemb64.dll (or one by one if setting both) and choose Properties
7. Click the (usually, depending on if any other utilities added tabs to the menu) 3rd tab, labeled "Security"
8. Press Edit, then Administrators, then click the first box under "Deny" for "Full Permissions", then OK and OK on the boxes
9. Restart AWM and get your old AltTab back... that's it!

The only feature I had enabled that stopped working with the hotkey for the Expose view to switch tasks, and that makes sense because it's just another layout for AWM's AltTab. But if I had to guess I'd say the AWM taskbar and virtual desktops may be disabled and whichever other features are somehow related to task switching. I use the native Windows second taskbar and prefer it since other tools like 7+ Taskbar Tweaker don't work on AWM's version.

By the way to enable just close AWM, go back into Properties, you won't be able to see the box there to uncheck it yet, so first hit Advanced, then next to Owner hit Change, type Administrators and then "Check names" and hit OK, then uncheck all the denied permissions and hit OK and OK again. Start it back up and you get the old version.

What I'm describing here is a really simple and a little bit crude (but better than deleting or renaming files for example), and the hardest part was finding if it was even possible and if so how. The files are not only hidden in the file system (flagged as "critical operating system files", the way windows describes the "s" flag for the "attrib" command), but also as threads in a process.

Fortunately we all play in the same sandbox and just like they can take over AltTab without asking we can pull those permissions away. :-) I will see if I can find a more targeted approach especially if you notice anything else being disabled, but it's unlikely to be too soon because I would do it in a way that  will require either DLL hooking which I probably won't do or putting a zero-byte command in the place of the call. Since people aren't comfortable downloading a modified file I'd put the intsructions of the edit  (and actually it can be done on the command line using the DEBUG tool back from MS-DOS days).

Anyway let me know, hope it works for you as well as it did for me. Here's my good old Alt+Tab back so I can see what I'm doing (also why the DPI is set so high) on the HTPC: [ Screenshot ]

Let me know when AWM can give me something like that with large thumbnails, nice transparency in the background, and fast response and I'll say sorry and go sit in a corner. :-) I'm still hoping they allow turning off the one in use when there is no need for it at all instead of just taking over parts o the OS without asking or giving ways to disable, and looking forward to when this "hack" won't be needed,

 
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Frank Gerrits
Registered user
 
Posts: 15
Joined: 05.11.2009
Posted: 24.03.2014 18:42:37
 
 
Hi aph,

Thanks very much!

Regards,
Frank
 
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