How to keep any Windows program "always on top"

by Ross McKillop on April 9, 2008

Windows

Using the very aptly named (and free) AlwaysOnTop application, you can set any Windows program to remain “on top” of all the others.

The installation is straight forward – unzip the contents of the .zip file to a temporary folder, and run setup.exe. Once you’re done, run the AlwaysOnTop program from your Start menu. It will appear as an icon in your System Tray.

Note: you may have noticed on the AlwaysOnTop home page that this program works on Windows 95/NT. I can confirm it works perfectly well in XP. Not so sure about Vista (please comment if you try it out on Vista).

Right-click the AlwaysOnTop icon in your System Tray and pick one or more running programs to always remain in the foreground. In the example screenshot below, I opted to have a Windows Command box remain on top of all my other programs.

alwaysontop in action

AlwaysOnTop uses a fairly minimal amount of system resources, so if you work better when certain programs are always in the foreground, this app is for you.

alwaysontop in the task manager
click to enlarge

  • jared

    I find a program called Xneat to be much more useful, not only can you set each window to be on top, you can also turn on transparency for it, send it to the system tray, and more.

    http://www.xneat.com/windows-manager/

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  • Lakario

    Seems to work on Vista (I ran it in Windows XP compatibility, but I’m not sure if that was necessary).

    It’s a little sporadic in its functionality, but it appears to work fairly well.

  • http://jzxproject.com blueck

    This app works great in Vista too. Thanks for the tip.

  • Kevin

    Doesn’t work on Vista x64, at least not for me.

  • yazid

    i have tried software always on top to vista x64 . it is very well. i can use tv MSI usb and i can set tv screen always on top . thank u very much

  • -

    xneat expira depois de 30 dias .. vlw por postar

  • Telmo

    Muchas gracias, es justo lo que necesitaba.

  • Jao

    Hmmm – tried Xneat – not only does it call their site to activate, but when started, throws up a Malicious Script warning in NAV (Windows Script Host Shell Object).
    May be harmless but on balance we can do without these behind the scenes and gave it a miss. Xneat has no physical address on the site – except:

    “xNeat is a software development company located at 29° 52′ N 31° 20′

  • Ray

    Works great on Vista Ultimate 32-bit, and without using any compatibility settings. If you want a free and slim app that gets your specified apps to stay on top, then this works perfectly and without any bloating. Transparency would be cool, but not necessary and can be managed thru other ways. This keeps it simple for a simple task. Great app, thanks for the recommendation. 5 stars from me!

  • Mark

    It work’s for vista home premium 64-bit

  • billy

    great post. i am very thankful

    Ubuntu Linux has this great feature (and more, for free) out of the box, but i still use windows for a couple very specific things and this feature was greatly missed.

  • Wolfie2k9

    @ everyone -

    It works rather nicely under Windows 7 as well without any compatability issues. Pretty amazing little program.

    @ Jao -

    Those coordintates either put it in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – or a suburb of Cairo, Egypt.

  • Bob

    Works on 64-bit Windows 7 Professional.

  • http://mikism.lt/ MikisM

    Works with Windows Server 2008 R2 x64. Thanks!

  • chris

    Can someone remind me what the shortcut is to keep a window always on top when the script is running? is it ctrl + M?

  • chris

    sorry….i found it…the shortcut is ctrl + space

  • sronti

    THX

  • rock

    If u have an nvidia card, nview options has an option to keep a selected window “always on top”