Since upgrading to Office 2010, I’ve occasionally found that the main Outlook window stays on top of the window stack. This means that if you click on a URL or reply to an email, those windows actually open behind the Outlook window so you can end up thinking that nothing has happened in response to your actions.
When this first happened to me, I did some research and found a thread that suggested fixing some registry keys. I checked the values on my installation and found suitably “wrong” values but wasn’t entirely happy about changing them because the thread didn’t really explain how those values could be wrong and what the different values meant. Since the specific registry keys were related to Outlook add-ins that I had just installed, the social connector options, I just uninstalled them and the correct behaviour was restored.
However, Outlook has just reverted to bad form, staying on top. A quick Bing and I found the thread again so I thought I’d blog about it this time so that I’ve got the corrective action and the original thread.
Registry keys for Outlook add-ins are located in HKey_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Office\Outlook\Addins. Each add-in has a DWORD called LoadBehavior. According to this thread, if the value is set to 3 instead of 2, this will cause Outlook’s main window to be at the top of the Z stack when the window is open, preventing any other window opening in front of it.
The corrective action is to change those values back to 2 and restart Outlook. What I am struggling to find is an explanation of what these values mean. This article, for example, actually suggests that 3 is the correct value and that setting it to 2 actually disables the add-in! In which case, all I’ve ended up doing is disabling two add-ins in my copy of Outlook and, for some really bizarre reason, one of them seems to be causing the Outlook window to stay on top!?!?! Doesn’t sound like an entirely satisfactory solution to me!!!