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I am using Windows Server 2012. I know it's a windows server and visual appearance isn't that important but I use the desktop a lot and some windows effects such as the drop shadow makes locating items on my desktop so much easier.

Lately the desktop icons broke. The drop shadow doesn't work properly. When I selected an icon and then deselect it the drop shadow disappears. Sometimes the shadow is deformed and I see some weird black spots around the text making it even harder to read.

Also, the rectangle selection lost it's effects too on my desktop. I just see the plain old dotted rectangle like in windows 98.

enter image description here

Has anyone run into similar problems?

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I'm on Win7, not Server, but it should work pretty much the same. Open the Control Panel and search for "performance". You'll likely see a choice like this:

Searching the Control Panel for performance items

Click to Adjust the appearance and performance and after the UAC popup, you should get something like this:

Show translucent selection rectangle checkbox

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I tried it, but it doesn't work. I still get the dotted rectangle. Maybe my video drivers are bugged – Alecu Jan 22 '13 at 19:35
What happens if you select "Check processor speed" from the previous screen? You should get a "Windows Experience Index" for your machine and if you click the link, you can "Re-run the assessment". – Nicole Hamilton Jan 22 '13 at 19:39
Nothing happened. Maybe some file corrupted. I got this behavior after removing a windows role, Active Directory – Alecu Jan 22 '13 at 19:51

Turns out it's a bug in windows server. It was present in windows server 2008 r2 and it's still present in 2012. When you add Remote Desktop Services role in the server it bugs the desktop.

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