I've installed Skyrim, and I'm playing in windowed mode. I want to be able to alt-tab to interact with IM windows or my browser while I'm auto-running to some distant location, but the game pauses when the window loses focus. Is there some .ini option to prevent this?

  • You can try Shift-Tab to use Steam's in-game browser instead. Not sure if this pauses the game though.
    – NMS
    Nov 16, 2011 at 4:24
  • 2
    @Mart: It does. Nov 16, 2011 at 4:26
  • 1
    Somebody else must be equally bothered by this. The game provides an auto-move button, but still expects you to sit there with your hands on the keyboard and mouse. Why the hell?
    – user229044
    Nov 16, 2011 at 14:35
  • Use a VM or something like a VM? Or make some kind of a hack using the Windows API to block unfocus events?
    – jli
    Nov 20, 2011 at 20:24
  • There may be a mod, but I haven't seen one to do what you seek yet. Will check skyrimnexus.com. If there is one, they should havee it.
    – bkzland
    Jan 3, 2012 at 18:14

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is possible to prevent Skyrim from pausing when its window loses focus.

Open Skyrim.ini (in Documents\My Games\Skyrim) and add bAlwaysActive=1 under the [General] section.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/skyrim/comments/1tqcbo/howto_alt_tab_without_pausing_the_game/

Now, you can alt-tab and the game will continue to render in the background. I recomend running in (borderless) windowed mode so you can see what is happening. I find this very useful for letting my housemates play on the TV while I do work on my other two monitors.


Generally not, but you can still watch video while Skyrim is running in the "background" - run Skyrim in windowed mode (Simple Borderless Window is a good way to achieve fullscreen-style functionality with all the benefits of windowed mode) and have your video player running in always-on-top mode (In MPC-HC, for example, right click inside the player and click on View - On top - Always), you can resize it to cover nearly all of the screen, but you must click on Skyrim to give it back focus. The game will continue to run while you will be enjoying a movie.

In theory, the same trick can be applied to other applications capable of always-on-top mode, but you will need to click on Skyrim after every bit of input to the other program, and few tasks require as little input as watching a video.

  • Took a while to find this answer - thank you you're a life saver! Jan 2, 2022 at 10:59

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