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Everything on screen jumps/shakes up/down, taskbar flickers in and out when logging back on a locked account

Posted on 2009-12-22
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Last Modified: 2013-11-05
Ok Experts -

This has got me stumped. About a week ago this started happening, and I thought originally it was only me. But turns out, it is happenining to all our systems, on 2 different networks! I really have no idea what caused it..  I'm wondering if it could possibly be from MS patches and software upgrades we've been pushing out.. to registry edits?

What happens is, whenever I lock a machine (not logging out), and then return to it, it will display the desktop. However, the taskbar will be gone and it will flicker (appears and disappears) and this basically causes the things (icons, windows, etc) on the desktop to attempt to adjust up and down (as if it's adjusting to you changing the screen height because the task bar appears and disappears). It will take a good 3-5 full seconds before it seems to finally finish loading the taskbar. And then everything's ok again. But again, EVERYTIME you come back from a locked account it will do the same thing again.

It's not a big deal at the moment, just an inconvenience.. but we've started to get some calls from users about this .. so I'd like to get this resolved as soon as possible.
The systems we have are standard Windows XP SP3 on Dell Optiplex 755's. They really don't have anything too special installed on them.. Office 2007, Adobe Reader, Flash, Java, McAfee
Weird thing is, it doesn't seem to do this when you do a fresh login.. only when you're logging back in from a locked machine.
And this doesn't seem to happen any of our 2003 Servers yet.

Any clues as to what is causing this??
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Question by:ThinkPaper
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by:DrDamnit
DrDamnit earned 400 total points
ID: 26108349
Not seen that before, but here are the things I would look at... diagnostically:

1. Disable power management. Power management can cause weird things to happen with the display. This is documented both on Windows and Linux machines.

2. Remove all the fancy display stuff. This is found under the display properties, and is usually called "adjust for performance".

3.  Disable screen saver.


Do those one at a time so we only have one variable in the equation at a time. Let me know if there is a change in behavior with any of these suggestions.
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by:Lieven Embrechts
ID: 26108592
i would also do a quick malware scan with mbam.
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by:optoma
optoma earned 400 total points
ID: 26108672
Check if the graphics chipset has been updated recently. If it has, roll back to previous driver or if not updated get the latest driver
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by:Ady Foot
Ady Foot earned 400 total points
ID: 26108772
I'm inclines to agree with optoma - this smells of a graphics related issue and, as it's affecting all your Dell workstations but not your servers, it must be software based. Updated graphics drivers may be the problem or, you're right, an update that has been tolled out recently.

To completely nail this down you're going to have to do some work with rolling back patches on a test workstation until you no longer get the problem.

Good luck!

Regards,

Ady
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by:nobus
nobus earned 400 total points
ID: 26111057
a quick fix would be a system restore to a prior dte -  that would show where it comes from (more or less)
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by:ThinkPaper
ID: 26132760
not a virus/malware issue.. scan turns up nothing... and no recent driver update either that I know of. I've checked for the driver/graphics update and nothing new has been out since early last year.
I guess I'm SOL right now as I've got bigger things to worry about. Seems like a patch rollback may be the only option. =(

I'm figuring though, if it was a MS patch then other folks would have the same problem. But since this seems to be a problem local only to my networks... I'm struggling to come up with any other ideas.
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by:optoma
ID: 26133172
Try a roll back and see if it works.
If all is ok, check and see if an update is being pulled down from MS
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by:nobus
ID: 26136311
why not do the system retore, as i suggested ?   quick way out !
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by:artoaperjan
artoaperjan earned 400 total points
ID: 26165206
Hi
I had similar issue, it wasn't on Dell but on HP
and the problem was with graphic cards some update that we never found was causing some confilicts with graphic card driver.

check your praphic things
i would suggest get a separate graphic card install it on one test pc that you know is having the problem and use that graphic card see if you have a problem.

i can seay your problem %100 is not a virus or mailware.

regards.
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by:ThinkPaper
ID: 26201388
Thanks for the input.. still marinating on it. Didn't want you guys to think I abandoned it.. just have some other stuff on my plate I gotta clear about before I tackle this, since it's not necessarily "high priority" atm.. so give me a few weeks. >_<!
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ThinkPaper earned 0 total points
ID: 26296980
Ok it looks like it wasn't a patch/driver or virus issue. It was an issue with our banner display software. The software is somehow causing this flickering. After I uninstalled the banner software, the screen stopped flickering. i'm thinking the screen is flickering because it is attempting to adjust to the new resolution when the banner software is put in place, on both the top and bottom of the screen. (the banner software takes up space on your screen -- think of it as a constant ticker on your desktop that you can't hide).
I appreciate the comments! Thanks
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by:Lieven Embrechts
ID: 26297745
If the screen started flickering after installing banner software, that would get me stumped too.
Highly unexpected indeed.
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by:ThinkPaper
ID: 26308703
Strange thing is.. we've had this banner software for a pretty long time (many many months) and so I didn't think it would have been the cause. I'm guessing that there was possibly an update or configuration change to the software (either automatically or deployed w/out me knowing) which caused it..
Thing is, it didn't just happen on all machines at once. Seemed like it happened slowly and then started trickling down, which makes me wonder if it was possibly a configuration change through Group Policy or something similar (deployment job?).
I guess it just goes to show you.. a little situational awareness goes a long way... U__U
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by:optoma
ID: 26335306
No prob. Thanks for the feedback!
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