Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Sometimes some programs leave a remnant of a menu-item or a button behind on my screen.

It usually shows on top of everything, which makes this pretty annoying.

Closing the program does not remove the menu-item.

Here is an example (the "New Session..." menu-item is from a closed Putty-session): enter image description here

What is the easiest way to refresh my screen to remove such a remnant?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Ohh yes, we love these remnant GUI elements or artifacts - I've seen them on every OS/GUI I've ever worked with.

Starting a screensaver is a very quick way to clear these as you can trigger it with a keystroke [1]. Another quick trick is changing screen resolutions - which you can quickly do on a laptop with the built-in mirror screen function button.

Eventually you learn the best practice is to clear these elements when they come up - by not allowing them to stick around in the first place or re-triggering the very same element as soon as it sticks.


[1] Create a screensaver hot-key

share|improve this answer
I like the mirror screen solution! – Rasmus Faber Apr 13 '11 at 19:08
Changing screen resolution works for me, but a screensaver doesn't help on W7. Thanks! – Stas Nov 16 '11 at 7:48
For Windows 7 you can kill 'dwm.exe' in task manager. You can do this without harm, and the artifacts will be gone – Forza Feb 19 '14 at 18:43

Even though this is an old question, it's still a relevant issue today on my Windows 7 machine.
There are two workarounds which work for me; hopefully they'll help someone else with the same issue.

Restart the DWM service

You should be able to clear artifacts by restarting the Desktop Window Manager. You can make this easy to do with a simple desktop shortcut, which you can also assign a hotkey to:

  1. Create a new shortcut on the desktop with the following command-line:
    C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c "net stop UxSms & sc start UxSms"

  2. Edit the properties of the new shortcut and assign a hotkey; I use ctrl-alt-shift-d

  3. Also in the shortcut's properties select Advanced and ensure Run as administrator is checked

This should look similar to: enter image description here

Change the Windows Performance setting

  1. Open the Windows performance options dialog by either of:

    1. Type Adjust performance into the Start menu search, and select Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows

    2. Control Panel | Performance Information and Tools | Adjust visual effects

  2. Turn off the checkbox for Fade out menu items after clicking:
    enter image description here

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .