Fix: Games minimizing to Desktop

An unexpected behavior of Windows 10 was reported by users where the games being played in full-screen get minimized to the desktop. This happens randomly and the time span for repeating is about 45 minutes. This strange scenario can happen to any game which you are playing.

Dota 2
Dota 2

This situation can be linked with process interruption of the game by other third-party programs or Windows itself. Windows has a push notification architecture where notifications are forcefully pushed to the screen. Same goes for the command prompt terminology. Many people report seeing a flashing command prompt on their screen directly after their game is minimized to Desktop.

What causes games to be minimized to Desktop in Windows?

Since this scenario is related to different third-party programs and services interrupting the game process, the causes can vary computer to computer since each one of them has a unique and distinct set of software and hardware. Some of the most common reasons why you might experience this error are:

  • Cortana service might be interrupting your game. Cortana is always listening for voice commands and may interrupt when it thinks it has been triggered.
  • Microsoft Office is performing background registration tasks. Whenever a task runs for confirming the registration, the game gets interrupted and minimized to Desktop.
  • Malware might have infected your computer causing random interrupts by conflicting with the running game.
  • Some third-party program might be interrupting your game. This happens in several cases and can be fixed by disabling the program.

Before we start with the workarounds, make sure that you have the latest version of Windows installed on your computer. Furthermore, your game should also be updated to the latest patch. Don’t forget to log in as an administrator before proceeding.

Solution 1: Disabling Cortana

Like mentioned in the causes, Cortana (if enabled) continuously monitors your voice for activating itself (when you say ‘hey Cortana’). This feature has gained a lot of backlash from the community in the past as well since it tends to interfere and break other products because of its operations. Same is the case in this scenario; the Cortana service conflicts with your game activity and forces it to minimize. We can try disabling Cortana and see how it works out for us.

  1. Press Windows + S, type “cortana” in the dialogue box and open the first result which returns.
  2. Once in Cortana settings, make sure that you uncheck all the options related to activating of Cortana.
Disabling Cortana on Windows 10
Disabling Cortana
  1. After changes, save them and exit. Restart your computer and launch the game again. Check if the bad behavior is resolved.

Solution 2: Disabling OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerRegistration

The service ‘OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerRegistration’ is a background service which periodically checks your Office registration by accessing your license and Windows servers. This application was initially discovered to cause problems in the majority of the cases when it appeared on the task scheduler. We can disable this service this service and check if this makes any difference. You can always enable the task back if this doesn’t work for you.

  1. Press Windows + R, type “task.schdmsc” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
  2. Expand the Task Scheduler Library and navigate to:
Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Office
Microsoft Office scheduled tasks
Microsoft Office scheduled tasks
  1. Now search for the following entries from right side of the page:
OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerLogon

OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerRegistration

Right-click on each one of them and select Disable

Disabling Office scheduled tasks
Disabling Office scheduled tasks
  1. Save changes and exit. Now restart your computer and launch your game. Check if the same scenario persists.

Solution 3: Removing Malware

Malware (like other third-party software) also interrupt your computer from time to time. It is their disruptive nature and they are usually scheduled on your computer. There were several reports by different users who stated that because of malware, their game would minimize itself randomly cause frustration.

Scanning through MalwareBytes
Scanning through MalwareBytes

There are several antivirus software through which you can get rid of virus or malware on your computer. It is recommended that you also get your computer scanned by third-party software in addition to the default Windows Defender. You can also check our article on how to remove malware using MalwareBytes.

Solution 4: Changing registry value

There is another module named ‘ForegroundLockTimeout’ which automatically gets you back to your Desktop even if you are using your computer at that moment. This registry value is known to cause lots of issues and can be easily changed using an elevated command prompt.

  1. Press Windows + S, type “command prompt” in the dialogue box, right-click on the application and select Run as administrator.
  2. Once in elevated command prompt, execute the following query:
REG QUERY "HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop" /v ForegroundLockTimeout
Checking registry value of 'ForegroundLockTimeout'
Checking registry value of ‘ForegroundLockTimeout’

Now check the value of the registry key. If the value is not ‘0x30d40’, you can proceed with the next step. Otherwise, you can proceed with the next solution. In this case, the value is correct and we do not need to change anything.

  1. Type the following command and press Enter.
REG ADD "HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop" /v ForegroundLockTimeout /t REG_DWORD /d 0x00030d40 /f
Adding registry value
Adding registry value
  1. Restart your computer after making changes and check if the game minimizing is fixed.

Solution 5: Diagnosing using Process Explorer

Process Explorer is a free tool from Sysinternals which allows you to check the occurrence of every process on your computer. The good thing is that it has the time when the process was run and the duration it ran for. This can help us troubleshoot which process is conflicting with your game process and minimizing it.

  1. Download and install Process Explorer from Microsoft’s official site.
  2. Now run the program and continue playing your game. Now whenever your game minimizes, open the process controller quickly and check which process is turned on or has started its operations.
Process Explorer
Process Explorer

Through this method, you will easily be able to diagnose which third-party program or service is interrupting your game continuously. After diagnosing, you can easily uninstall the application (Press Windows + R and type ‘appwiz.cpl’) or disable the service.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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Fix: Games minimizing to Desktop

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