Well, well. This is most interesting, and I have been able to duplicate both the loss of focus and the retention of focus. Here's what I've found. But first I must supply a definition.

What Windows calls a 'restored' screen is a full-size program window on the screen. Up in the upper-right corner of a 'restored' window, the middle icon will be a depiction of cascaded boxes, meaning that you can reduce the image area, although you crop what you see, enabling a smaller, adjustable-size window that displays only a part of the full screen, but at the same magnification as a full, 'restored' screen. The other choice, the minus sign, is to 'minimize' the window so it's still open and running, but only visually present in the tray down below. Click on that to bring it onto the screen again. What I don't know is the proper term for the cropped, adjustable image mode, so I'll call it 'cropped.'

Invariably, I will have a program running full-time, usually my mail client. I use Windows Live Mail and leave a 'cropped' version on my Desktop at all times so I can see the source of new messages. The problem I originally complained about at the start of this thread, that icons on the Desktop were not staying highlighted, happens only when I have my mail (or another program) open and 'cropped' (reduced in size) on the Desktop. Sure enough, with the mail client running, the Desktop does not command the 'focus.' Rather, when I click an icon, open another program and then close it, my keyboard reverts to the open mail program, not to the Desktop.

So the Desktop 'focus' evidently takes back seat to whatever program is on the screen and running. If I minimize my mail program to the tray, the highlight stays put as another icon is opened and closed. I am quite sure that this was not the case when I ran Vista, I kept mail open then as well and never lost the highlight.