If, after a Windows Update or a Driver update, your Desktop and Taskbar keep refreshing with a black screen, then its a typical driver issue that has caused the problem. Some of the users have also reported that third party applications have also caused the problem – but the former is the probable cause. In this post, I will suggest a fix to get rid of Desktop and Taskbar keeps refreshing problem in Windows 10.
Taskbar & Desktop keeps refreshing with a black screen
The funny part of this issue is that it keeps blinking the Taskbar and Desktop every few seconds. It could be in a continuous loop or might happen every 3-4 seconds. You will not be able to see any icons on the Desktop, and the Taskbar will be useless as it keeps refreshing. Even if you right-click on it to open the task manager, it might not work. However, if you use Ctrl + Alt + Del, and then open Task Manager, you should notice high CPU usage for Explorer.exe. So basically its the File Explorer crashing and restarting. You have two ways to solve this Desktop refresh issue:
- Disable Preview of Files on Desktop or remove the files
- Clear Icon and Thumbnail Cache
- Rollback Graphics Driver update
- System Restore
- Uninstall any recently installed software
It is likely that there is a DLL or Program related to UI, and when it crashes, it also crashes the File Explorer along with it.
1] Disable Preview of Files on Desktop or remove the files
One of the users had a problem with PDF files. The Desktop shows a preview of the data in the form of the thumbnail. Data related to the app was crashing Windows Explorer. You can either choose to remove those files from Desktop, or you can disable thumbnail preview of files on the Desktop. You can also choose to hide Desktop icons to check if that’s the exact issue.
2] Clear Icon and Thumbnail Cache
Windows maintains Icon and Thumbnail Cache so it can load the Desktop faster or any folder. We suggest you clear icon and thumbnail cache using the script. Having done that, when you restart File Explorer, it will rebuild the cache.
taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local
attrib -h IconCache.db
del /f IconCache.db
cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
attrib -h thumbcache_*.db
attrib -h iconcache_*.db
del /f thumbcache_*.db
del /f iconcache_*.db
Execute the command in PowerShell, and you should be through.
3] Rollback Graphics Driver update
If its the Graphics Driver that is causing the problem, especially after Windows 10 Update, then it is best to uninstall it. Chances are the driver is going to be a cause of future problems because it doesn’t work correctly.
- Open the Device Manager ( WIN + X, followed by M)
- Expand Display adapters
- Right-click on the adapter, and click on Properties
- Switch to the Driver tab, and then choose Roll Back Driver.
The button will be enabled only when the driver was recently installed. The other way out is to find the previous version of the driver and install it. You will have to go through the OEM website, download and install it.
If you are using an old driver, maybe you need to update your Graphics driver.
4] System Restore
If you have a System Image backup or System Restore point, then I would suggest you try that. It will automatically bring back old settings and drivers, and the issue will be gone most easily.
5] Uninstall any recently installed software
If you have newly installed software that is related to graphics, try uninstalling it. If, after uninstalling, the issue is resolved, then you may need to find an alternative or connect to the developer about the topic. Possible they might have a temporary fix available if reported in large numbers.
- If you have any of these installed on your PC, uninstall them and see – IDT Audio, iCloud / iPhoto, AeroGlass, NVIDIA GeForce Experience.
- Physically clean your keyboard – Maybe a key is stuck.
- Check if this happens in Clean Boot State and if not then try and identify the offender.
I hope something in the post helps you.