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Here's a screenshot: screenshot tooltips stuck

It happens a lot, not always. This screenshot was taken after less than an hour of browsing web, searching for something desperately, a lot of mouse movement, plus working on something else, don't remember what software. If I'd press start, for example, the whole top area would get cleaned.

It doesn't happen only near the taskbar, for example, if a tooltip from a software would start showing up while I'd use alt-tab to switch to another application, then it will still show up and stay there on the screen until I'd move my mouse over it.

Usually, I reboot my laptop only when I'll update my Windows, in other cases I'll just put it to sleep or hibernate. I often switch between 1 and 2 monitors setup. Sometimes I play video games in fullscreen.

This problem has been there since I installed my copy of Windows, a few years ago, I believe. Googled then, didn't find anything, googled now, still nothing. It's not an urgent matter but it got me too curious already.

some specs: Windows 7 x64 Pro - up to date; Acer Extensa 5630g laptop, ATI Mobility HD 3650 (original driver that came with the CD, for my laptop; Please don't tell me to update since the new drivers can get really really buggy), Intel core2duo T5800


  • Added bounty.

  • Please offer an explanation as of why is this happening, and a solution if it exists. I'm not looking only for a way to hide the problem.

  • Just a reminder: chunks of tooltips get stuck on margins (as seen in the screenshot), also, a whole tooltip may get stuck in the center of the screen if I switch fast between applications.


  • Three days remaining until I have to award the bounty and as I don't see any trustworthy answer, at least guide me to where else I could ask this. My Windows copy is a MSDNAA licensed one, I got the key for being a student in a Romanian faculty that is registered in the program. I'm not sure I have any other official support from Microsoft except their representative in my faculty whom I can't reach in the next few months to, maybe, a year from now on, and I'm not sure he'll be able to help me whatsoever.
share|improve this question
If you are hesitant to update the graphics card drivers, how can we be sure the drivers are not the problem? – iglvzx Dec 29 '11 at 4:31
Because the driver that came with my laptop should work, was tested etc. on my system specifically. I tried updating the drivers 2 times when they released 2 new versions, from the AMD website, both times I ended up reinstalling my windows. The only drivers that work are: 1) that comes with windows, 2) the one found on the acer support website (same as on my old CD) – sdadffdfd Dec 29 '11 at 4:51
Did your laptop come with the same version of Windows that you have now? – iglvzx Dec 29 '11 at 4:53
It came with a linux distro, forgot which. I'm running a MSDNAA Windows now, I guess it's no different than a standard licensed one except that I don't have support. – sdadffdfd Dec 29 '11 at 4:57
@vzait: That would probably explain the difference then. That page is the US Acer site. I know you have heard this and don't want to do it, but updating the video driver would really help to prove if this in an issue with your driver or not. – WinOutreach4 Jan 9 '12 at 22:25
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is a result of changes to GDI in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and how applications use GDI to draw on window device contexts. The applications can change how they draw and Microsoft can make changes to improve things.

To just redraw the screen without any artifacts press the WindowsKey+D twice.

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I know you didn't want to hear this... but sadly, this appears to be a bad driver issue (if you're lucky)... or a failing video-card (if you're not so lucky). With Windows 7, Microsoft has gone to great lengths to implement a lot more DirectX into their GUI which means it uses the native graphics drivers' methods to render a great deal more on the screen. If the driver doesn't properly implement transparency and alpha-channels correctly, you'll see screen-artifacts remaining behind when you close/minimize an application.

This can be caused when Windows tells the driver to draw the nice transparent area (that you have pointed out)... and the rendering function errors... due to hardware or software problems. Windows silently eats the error, but instead of rendering a nice transparent area... it leaves whatever random graphic buffer data there... which usually resembles whatever was there previously.

Disabling the "Aero" features in Windows 7 may make the problem less noticeable... but you would lose all the shiney-graphics windows 7 adds.

share|improve this answer
I'm a little confused. I'm using the classic look mostly. When enabling "Aero", the problem goes away. Ok, let's call those chunks of tooltips that get stuck on the taskbar an artifact. How about the tooltips that get stuck in the center of the screen? I can get a stuck tooltip even when watching a movie in vlc. Shouldn't the buffer be refreshed at this point? And what nice transparent area I have pointed out? – sdadffdfd Jan 6 '12 at 2:09
Still could be both a bad driver and/or failing video card. In short... when a render instruction fails... windows will silently eat the error and just move on to the next step in rendering. Ideally yes, the screen should get refreshed... but if there are errors re-drawing the screen... you're going to have artifacts like you describe. – TheCompWiz Jan 6 '12 at 14:52

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