I'm currently using Photoshop to stitch together many images at once, so I often open 6+ images at once. As it takes a little while for Photoshop to open all these images, I would like to use another application (web browsing, typing in a document, etc.) while Photoshop is loading. However, every time Photoshop opens a new image, the computer switches back to the Photoshop window, making it very difficult to use some other application. Is there a way to disable this switching, either in the OS or Photoshop? I'm currently running Win7 64-bit and Photoshop CS5 Extended 64-bit.
Photoshop isn't really an applicaiton you can leave alone and go off and do other things. Probably because of its heritage, not to mention the complex way it manages windows, it jumps to the foreground sometimes.
Plus, there's another thing you should be aware of if trying to multitask while running Photoshop: It detects modifier keys. While I realize just opening files probably wouldn't result in any kind of problem, it can be a real problem if you're running a script or action in Photoshop while trying to do stuff with the keyboard in another application. It WILL see the shift key or control key or alt key presses and may do different operations.
You may be able to see Photoshop give you less interference while doing other things by switching the default to [ ] Open New Documents as Tabs, I'm not sure - you'd have to experiment. But honestly, if the results in Photoshop matter to you, you really do need to leave your computer alone while it's working on stuff.
Some other "thinking outside the box" ideas: If you're finding you're having to wait a long time on file operations (implying you're working on big files), you may want to consider upgrading your computer hardware so that you don't actually have to wait as long. I'm thinking along the lines of moving up to SSD storage (or even an array of them, as I have). Lots more RAM helps tons with big stitching operations as well.
Having the additional computer resources to support Photoshop doing things much faster may mean you'd not have the urge to go off and do other things, since your Photoshop results would be available much more quickly.