Windows 8 desktop / Explorer keeps refreshing

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Thread Starter
Jan 20, 2013
Hello All,

1st post on a message board of any sort, so bear with me. I've searched this site (and others) and have found similar problems, but none that have helped me solve mine.

My Windows desktop, icons, and explorer windows keep refreshing / reloading every 10-30 seconds. Open programs / windows survive this (with the exception of Control Panel, which closes with every refresh), but I have to click back into the previously-active window to make it active again (e.g. I've had to click on this window 6 or 7 times while writing this because the cursor disappears every time explorer resets).

As background, I had this happen several months ago, just after building this system and installing Windows 8. At the time, I used the "refresh your PC" option, which fixed it, but now I'd really like to not have to reinstall of of my software.

The problem started today, after I shut down my system to move it to a new desk. I unplugged everything attached to it, moved the system, then plugged everything back in as it had been previously. After starting the system, I noticed the refreshing because the majority of my icons mysteriously moved to my secondary display. Despite un-checking "Auto arrange icons," they kept doing this with every refresh, then stopped moving, though the desktop still refreshes as I mentioned above.

What I've tried so far:

Complete malware scan using PC Tools AV, freshly updated
System restore to a point before I moved the system
Updated display driver using clean install
Checking Device Manager for driver ? or ! icons
Going through Device manager, driver-by-driver, making sure all were up to date
Allowing windows update to install updates
Several reboots


Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 8 Pro, 64 bit
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-3220 CPU @ 3.30GHz, Intel64 Family 6 Model 58 Stepping 9
Processor Count: 4
RAM: 8175 Mb
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GS, 128 Mb
Hard Drives: C: Total - 953516 MB, Free - 832469 MB; P: Total - 238471 MB, Free - 182793 MB;
Motherboard: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd., P67X-UD3-B3
Antivirus: PC Tools Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus, Updated and Enabled
Jan 30, 2013
I have the exact same problem with Windows 8.

Windows Update service wasn't running, so I ran the windows troubleshooter and it fixed the problem and windows update works fine now.

I now have my desktop refreshing itself every 30 seconds. Icons and wallpaper disappear briefly but PC is working fine otherwise. This only happens with the desktop. Games work fine.

Did a full scan of the hard drive as well and it turned up nothing.

Windows 8 Enterprise 32Bit
2 GB ram
Geforce 9800 GTX+ OC


Trusted Advisor
Spam Fighter
Jan 14, 2010

1. Welcome to Tech Support Guy

2. I am sorry you have waited for a reply
This has been caused by the fact that we look for topics without replies - eg. unanswered
As you yourself posted again and then Mic-elle posted it looked to all as though you had received a reply
We do not have the time, except when we happen to have some spare time - to search topics - to see who has responded and if it was with advice

3. Once again I am sorry - before I waste my time - have you please now fixed it - if not I have some advice for you
Jan 30, 2013
I haven't fixed mine. Desktop still disappears every 30secs except for any active windows.


Retired Moderator Retired Malware Specialist
Dec 14, 2002

if you still have this problem, the first thing that I would try is disable your antivirus to see if it is interfering & causing it. I have noticed this behaviour with some antiviruses that contain a hips component ( like PCTools) which prevents the display driver working properly, especially with driver updates

sometimes you have to uninstall the AV completely, then run the update, then reinstall the AV after everything is settled & working
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