Mystery black boxes flash on screen

Posted on 2011-10-21
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Two computers that I service now have the same problem:

2 small black boxes will flash across the screen about once a minute.

Here are the specifics.
-The boxes are about 1/2" square on a 17" monitor.  
-The timing of when they occur is slightly variable but average about once per minute.
-The location of the boxes is the same on both computers and is the exact same spot each time they appear: top box is in the upper 1/3rd of the screen about 1/3rd from left to right; bottom box is in the lower 1/3rd of the screen about 1/3rd from right to left.
-Both computers are running windows 7 professional
-The computers are otherwise different, one is windows 7 64 bit, the other 32 bit; both are different brands, processors, different display adapters
-The bottom box appears a split second before the top box and they both disappear at the same time, a fraction of a second later (it's almost a flash on and off)

Question by:ken_b
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    What kind of graphics chips? (Nvidia GeForce xxxx / ATI?)  
    What drivers are in use? (Doesnt sound like you are using RTM Win7 drivers)
    My guess is that both gfx chips are either the same or very close, and using the same drivers
    LVL 30

    Accepted Solution

    Put the computer in clean boot mode and check.

    Clean boot process

    Start-type - msconfig- click on startup tab- click disable all...then click services tab- put a check on hide all microsoft services ...and then click disable ok and then restart the computer in normal mode.

    If everything works fine in clean boot then enable five startup items and services at a time to find the faulty software.


    Author Comment

    One is a Geforce graphics card and the other is on-board.

    I will try the clean boot process on Monday am.

    Thanks till then.

    Author Closing Comment

    So, I got back to the office this morning and performed the clean boot process, and the problem went away.  I then re-enabled each of the services until the problem reappeared.

    Turns out, both of these computers had installed the same American Airlines Deal Finder which rely on a "skinkers" retrival software, and it was an update to that software that was causing the black boxes.  Problem solved.  

    Thank you all.

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