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

My Windows XP desktop icons have become slow to redraw. The desktop enhancement program Fences has become unusable with "hidden" icons being silhouetted, partially displayed fence titles, extremely slow icon movement.

My coworkers all have the exact same model of computer, all use the Intel Q45/43 Integrated Graphics, and all use Fences. I am the only one with this issue.

I believe it is due to the remnants of any of many various programs I've tinkered with to increase my productivity (VirtuaWin, DisplayFusion, SecondShell, and many others) The problem remains after uninstalling all of them, including Fences.

I thought the problem may be video card related, so I installed an NVIDIA GeForce 210 and disabled the integrated video in BIOS. However, the screen refresh issue remains the same.

Any thoughts on what might be causing this?

Computer: Dell Optiplex 780 Intel Core 2 Duo 3.0 GHz 4 GB RAM Integrated Video: Intel Q45/Q43 Add-in Video: NVIDIA GeForce 210 Virtual memory: disabled


Other symptom:

  1. I currently run the basic Windows XP theme (Bliss background), and I can see the blue "Desktop" color around the jagged edges of screen icons.

  2. Desktop icon labels are not transparent. The background color of them is the "Desktop" color.

  3. Even though I have "Show translucent selection rectangle" selected. It is effectively invisible when selecting desktop icons.

Attempts to fix:

  1. Lessen number of icons. I created a folder on the desktop and placed all icons inside. The only icons on my desktop are "Recycle Bin" and "My Desktop Icons". Problem remains.

  2. Used the latest video drivers for both cards. Same issue.

  3. I regularly trim my startup programs and services.

share|improve this question
Do you have the same problem regardless of how many icons you have on your desktop? I've seen simply too-much-crap cause delays, not because of graphics problems but because of directory enumeration problems. – Shinrai Nov 9 '11 at 18:37
Ah well, it was worth a shot. I'm afraid I don't have any other experience with this behavior. – Shinrai Nov 9 '11 at 19:17
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Apparently ActiveDesktop was enabled in some registry setting, even though it wasn't apparent from Control Panel.

In the following key, I changed ForceActiveDesktopOn from 1 to 0 and rebooted:


I now see the fences, translucent selection rectangle, the icon text background is transparent, and the icons don't have the jagged edges.

Thanks to those of you who helped anyways.

share|improve this answer
Yay active desktop. That can be real resource waster. – music2myear Nov 9 '11 at 21:23

Install the latest video card drivers. Check your computer for unnecessary start up programs using a tool such as Soluto. Use Task Manager to find programs that are running at high CPU levels.

Integrated graphics are more susceptible to interference by programs using high levels of CPU. And updated drivers tend to make more efficient use of system resources (tend to, sometimes they don't, but most of the time they do).

share|improve this answer
I found it odd that both video cards (with latest drivers) have the exact same issue. I regularly trim windows startup programs and automatic services. – Steven Nov 9 '11 at 20:39
Good man. What about using Process Explorer (from SysInternals by MS) to check your running processes? Any hot ones? Generally I've found the most common graphics refresh causing issues are drivers. But if you've got the latest and have already eliminated the other possibilities, I'm afraid I don't have anything else to offer. – music2myear Nov 9 '11 at 20:43
Thanks for your ideas... i got it. – Steven Nov 9 '11 at 21:17

You must log in to answer this question.

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