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I've been playing Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 specifically, and I noticed that every single time a screen appears with "Loading..." in the corner, it momentarily "hangs" my computer, at least that's what is seems like. This also happens when TF2 is "Requesting server information...". I can hit Ctrl + Alt + Delete to get to the Windows 8 actions menu, and after that if I click the back arrow and Alt + Tab to the Desktop, I can interact with the taskbar but I can not use my mouse to interact with the rest of the screen. Using the keyboard works, though. It seems like these games create an overlay of sorts, which - while it's hanging - prevent any and all actions with my mouse outside the taskbar.

I'm using Windows 8 right now, but this happened in Windows 7 as well.

How can I get rid of this overlay or get these games to run hang-free?

My computer specs are:

  • Processor: Intel Pentium Dual E2180 2GHz
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT 2GB
  • Hard Drive: SAMSUNG HM400JI ATA (400GB)
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Not every game supports alt-tabbing. Games that don't support it can trigger this kind of behaviour, or worse: crash entirely.

The easiest way to deal with this, is by running the game in windowed mode. If you want the game to fill your entire screen, there is the popular "Borderless Windowed" mode, aka. "Windowed Fullscreen".

Unfortunately, this isn't supported by every game either. To activate Borderless Windowed mode on games that don't offer an official option for it, you will need to perform some shortcut-magic, aka. launch-option-magic.

In the case of Steam games, you can simply right click on your game in the Steam Library and click on Properties, then on the SET LAUNCH OPTIONS... button. A window will appear, in which you can type in the game's launch arguments.

To activate Borderless Windowed mode in Source based games, the launch options are:

-windowed -noborder

Simply copy paste and click on the OK button.
Make sure there is a space between both arguments, the arguments' order is irrelevant. If you're already using or are planning on using other arguments, simply add them to the lot. As long as every argument is separated by a space, any number of arguments is possible.
Also keep in mind, that these arguments are only valid for Source games. Other games may require completely different arguments, if such arguments exist in the first place.

The main advantage of running the game windowed, is the much better and stabler alt-tabbing support. The main disadvantage is the higher overhead; meaning that your game may run somewhat slower, since your computer won't be able to direct quite as much ressources to the game as it used to. The impact should be negligible on modern computers, however.

  • Thank you. I've used the launch options before for the -novid option, I'll see if adding these to the list will do the trick. – DJDavid98 Dec 9 '13 at 18:13
  • @DJDavid98 In my experience, old Source games (pre-Portal 2 era) used to crash when alt-tabbing, so I used those arguments as a fix. Luckily, you don't need to give up on the -novid argument. As long as every argument is separated from each other by a space, you can add as many as you want or need. – Nolonar Dec 9 '13 at 18:20
  • I figured :) Looks like I was pretty lucky my TF2 didn't crash from that so far then. – DJDavid98 Dec 9 '13 at 22:28

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