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Windows 7 Desktop Icons Flicker / Toggle / Blink

Posted on 2010-11-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hello,

I have a fairly fresh install of Windows7 64-bit Enterprise on a new Dell Latitude E6510.

About 2 out of three times upon login to the desktop, the live icons will toggle between the normal document type image, and the live icon document content image.  For example, Word, Visio, PDF files on the desktop will display their respecitve application logos, then revert to the live icon image, where the content of each document is represented in the icon.  This "toggling" occurs about every two seconds or so.

I can work normally when this happens, but I have to be fast when trying to select something on the Start menu, between the blinks...  Including Shut Down, Logoff, and Restart functions - an open Start menu gets closed when the icons toggle.

It seems that a restart does not always clear the issue, but I've found that logging off then back on almost always does.

Anyone see this behaviour before?  
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Question by:dbrigner
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Suliman Abu Kharroub earned 250 total points
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An unknown process on task manager?

virus scan ?
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by:johnb6767
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Does your traskbar ever disappear when this happens?
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by:dbrigner
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No, virus scanning has not turned up anything.

Unknown about processes, as I'm not sure what should be normal.  There are no unknowns in Task Manager's Program list, though.
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by:dbrigner
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No, the taskbar never disappears when the icons shift state.
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by:johnb6767
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Does it happen just once on logon, or literraly every few seconds? Sounds like there is an excessive refresh on explorer.exe.... Thats why I was wondering if the Taskbar was present, during this time, as if it was not, would have meant explorer.exe was crashing/autorecovering.....
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by:dbrigner
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I logon, get to the desktop, and - if it occurs - will happen every few seconds, not just once.  It happens almost every time I reboot.  As mentioned, logging off and back on resolves the problem, but a shutdown/restart does not.  Icons on the desktop are the only ones affected - those in folders and elsewhre are not.

You are right, though. It's as if something is trying to refresh, but the taskbar is unaffected.  

Is there a way to turn off the Live Icon feature or a .dll or other system file that controls that functionality?  If so, I could try unregistering, overwriting, etc.
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by:johnb6767
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Have you checked the event logs for any SYSTEM entries with the source NTFS/DISK? That or RAM Tests?

Im sorry, I just dont know.....

Either that, or something is starting with Windows.... On a fresh boot, services will start, and will probably stay started during a logoff/logon, which might explain why it only happens on fresh boots....

Check the logs also for any Service Control Manager entries.....
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by:Suliman Abu Kharroub
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check the mconfig (startup), may you can find something wrong there
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by:dbrigner
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Unfortunately, it's the other way around - rebooting doesn't correct the issue; logging off and back on does...  I know this is counter-intuitive to everything desktop support types espouse, but rebooting doesn't fix it, so it must have something to do with my user profile, wouldn't you think?  But it happens in both docked and undocked states, so it must be something global to any user account on the machine.

I will check the event logs and msconfig entries next time it occurs.

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by:johnb6767
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I would look at Autoruns.

http://live.sysinternals.com/autoruns.exe

Save it as a .arn file, and attach here.....

Im starting to think that it is a startup item, that hangs on initial startup, as a logoff/logon corrects it (most services arent killed then)....
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by:dbrigner
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Thanks for the advice, everyone.  As it turns out though, the culprit seems to have been Office Communicator2007.

Sulimanw came closest to the solution with his recoommendation to use Task Manager to look for rogue processes. When the problem occurred, I saw the OfficeCommunicator process running, and the resourses it used would change every few seconds.  Logging off and back on (the only way I could ever stop the icons from blinking) and then looking at running processes revealed that the Communicator process wasn't even in the active list, so I uninstalled it, and have been enjoying a desktop free from blinking icons ever since.

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Glad youre fixed.....
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