3 Best Ways to Make a Window Always-on-Top
Windows do not provide any build-in way for the users in making a window be always-on-top of windows. There are many other arbitrary tools for this, whereas they are generally bulky and distended. Even some of them don’t perform well on the modern 64-bit version of Windows.
A variety of tests were performed on the tools among which the best and the most reliable ones are recommended. The ideal ways to make a window always-on-top depends on whether you wish to use a graphical menu or a keyboard shortcut.
1. With a Keyboard Shortcut: AutoHotkey
AutoHotKey is a great and very useful program. When you press any shortcut key or a key combination using the AutoHotKey program, it supports to make a one-line script which helps to make any window always-on-top.The resulting one-line script is a light-weight and optimizes the resource usage or addition of unnecessary clutter to your system.
It is a great way to start learning AutoHotKey because you want to make your own one since the Always-on-Top script from Digital Inspiration doesn’t seem to be available for downloading any longer. It just takes only a single line of code and so not too hard to learn.
At the outset, download AutoHotKey and then install it. Launch AutoHotKey, right click the green H icon in your system tray and click open. Click File > Edit Script, Paste the below code into the script file and save the settings by clicking Save:
- ^SPACE:: Winslet, Always on top, , A
Click File > Reload Script in AutoHotkey. When AutoHotkey is running in the background, you can press Ctrl + Space and the presently active window will be set to be always-on-top. If you do not want that window to be always-on-top, you can again press Ctrl + Space and the window will no longer be always-on-top.
If you don’t like the combination of Ctrl+Space, you can change the ^SPACE part of the script to set a new keyboard shortcut. For help, you can consult the Hotkeys documentation on AutoHotkey’s website.
2. Using a System Tray Menu: TurboTop
If a graphical tool that doesn’t allow you to use any keyboard shortcuts is required, then TurboTop will help you. This graphical tool is not the most widely used or a popular one to make any window always-on-top, but it turned out to be our favorite one among the tested tools.
Instead of adding new and fancy features, like many other tools does,which reduces its working capability, it’s a small program that runs in your system tray. To view a list of open windows, you can just click it once. Click the name of a window to make that particular window always-on-top. Windows that are already always-on-top will resemble having a checkmark — if you click it again, they no longer be always-on-top.
Since this is a very basic and a minimal tool, it tends to work well even when other, applications that are fancier than this struggle. It’s impressive that a little utility can still work well even after 10 years that hasn’t been updated since 2004 — it’s a testament to check the working of the program and its cleanliness of working.
3. Without Installing Anything Extra: Built-in Application Options
Many applications have built-in options which help to become always-on-top. Usually, these built-in options are found in system utilities, media players and other tools which need to become always-on-top. Programs with plug-ins may also have an always-on-top plugin that can be installed.
For instance, Below you can find the ways to enable the built-in always-on-top:
- VLC : Click on Video > Always on top.
- Process Explorer : Click on Options > Always on Top.
- Firefox: First, Always on Top add-on should be installed. Once you have installed, press Alt and click View > Always on Top. Also by just pressing Ctrl+Alt+T, the current Firefox window can be made to be always-on-top.
- Windows Media Player: Click Organize > Options. Click on the Player tab and enable the “Keep Now Playing on top of other windows” checkbox.
- Pidgin: Click Tools > Plugins in the Buddy List window. Enable the Windows Pidgin Options plugin which is included, click Configure Plugin, and set a “Keep Buddy List window on top” preference.
- iTunes: At the top right corner of the iTunes window, click the menu button and select Preferences. Select the Advanced tab and enable the option – “Keep MiniPlayer on top of all other windows” or the option – “Keep movie window on top of all other windows”. Click the menu button and select the Switch to Mini player button, So that you can easily transfer to the MiniPlayer window.
This may or may not be found in other programs — probably it is better to get a tool which lets you set any application to be always-on-top.
These are not the only tools that we have tested. DeskPins is another tool that can also work — it puts a pin icon in your system tray, and you can place the pin on any window to make it always-on-top simply by a click on the pin icon. This also places a pin image, unfortunately, on the window’s title bar, that looks like something that belongs on Windows XP. It’s distracting and just not ideal.
4t Tray Minimizer is another tool that we have proved that it tries to add an additional “Always on top” button to the title bar of each window. But the button lacks to work reliably. It doesn’t appear in some applications and constantly stays in a particular place on your screen when you move the windows. Generally, the tools that look to be fancier tends to break in this way — that’s the reason why the barebone tools are so ideal.
Another tool, PowerMenu, is a classic tool that we loved once, now it is no longer working properly on 64-bit versions of Windows. When you right-click on the window’s title bar, a menu is supposed to appear, but it won’t appear. This tool hasn’t been updated to support 64-bit versions of Windows — even if it was updated, the addition of extra window’s title bar options to every application becomes a bit intrusive which potentially causes issues or crashes with some other applications.
This option gets added along with other options in many other applications. But, probably you don’t look for an application which is too heavy, bloated, or the one which is full of options and that uses more memory space and as a result, it potentially causes more problems of compatibility — you just want a way to make a window always-on-top, and all the above-mentioned applications will get the work done.
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