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After running Win 7 for some unknown period of time, the taskbar icon highlight starts to stick (video demo here: http://screencast.com/t/l5LhJ2uM). If I restart or kill explorer.exe and relaunch, it goes away.

Any idea what might be causing this?

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Alright, so clearly Microsoft never got around to fixing this in Windows 7... Anyone know if it's fixed in Win8? I haven't installed it yet. –  Ricket Oct 9 '12 at 4:03
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I have Windows 8.1 and this issue still isn't resolved. It's incredibly annoying. –  Huskehn Oct 10 '13 at 19:20
    
Aha! So it's not just on my machine! Sometimes I wonder if Windows was ever designed to be powered on for more than short periods of time. –  Camilo Martin Nov 17 '13 at 12:01
    
I don’t recall it ever happening before, but now it seems to be happening all the time. It happens every few seconds and/or window operations and the current batch of fixes (rebooting, right-clicking, etc.) are all just temporary and it reappears moments later. In addition to the highlight, the tooltip also gets stuck, and the buttons all behave incorrectly (as though the mouse/keyboard are stuck). Why the hell has Microsoft not fixed this damned annoying problem after all this time‽‽‽ –  Synetech Feb 25 at 4:34
    
For me it behaves like this: If it got stuck and you solve it by shift+right clicking, it quickly gets stuck again. If I restart explorer, it takes some more time again to get it stuck, but still faster than rebooting my whole PC. Looks like some monkeys programmed that. –  PacMani yesterday
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6 Answers

up vote 54 down vote accepted

I found that Shift-Right Clicking on any taskbar item brings up the pre-7 context menu and after it's dismissed, the highlight is not stuck any more.

No idea what's causing this though, but I hope it's a monthly-update-fixable type of bug.

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I love it when someone finds hacky workarounds like this :) –  Urda Jun 15 '11 at 19:52
    
I currently have this problem in Windows 7, as VirtualBox guest. Shift-Right clicking does not help... –  Pisu Jan 19 '12 at 11:10
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It's 2013, Windows 8 was released and Microsoft never fixed this annoying bug. –  Zequez Jan 16 '13 at 4:20
    
This does seem to work and is more effective than this solution, but it is not fool-proof. I tried it, and it went away, but as soon as I clicked a taskbar button to minimize a window, the highlight got stuck again. I closed one task (an Explorer window) and repeated the above to un-stick the highlight, and it has not returned yet. I’ll perform further experiments and observations to see if I can figure out what under conditions this trick does and does not work (which may just lead to an understanding of the cause of the problem). –  Synetech Nov 28 '13 at 22:00
    
Yup, it keeps coming back after a few clicks on the taskbar. :-( –  Synetech Nov 28 '13 at 22:40
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I am glad I am not the only one, but hey low priority sure it wont block or break anything, just one of the main new features of Windows 7: the taskbar aero preview, which can be very useful sometimes for some application that use this feature. :-(

Another workaround is to move one of the taskbar icon (left clic) slightly and then hover another icon to restore the aero preview but it doesnt stick and the bug unfortunately comes back.

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Actually worked O.o –  Svish Aug 20 '13 at 21:56
    
but hey low priority sure it wont block or break anything Not true; it causes Windows to behave as though the keyboard/mouse is stuck and creates a lot of hassle which kills productivity. just one of the main new features of Windows 7: the taskbar aero preview, which can be very useful sometimes for some application that use this feature Also not true; it happens even when not using an Aero theme. –  Synetech Feb 25 at 4:37
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This happened to me until I upgraded my laptop's graphics driver to the real nVidia driver, not the default one Windows used.

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It is known that rebooting fixes it (at least for a little while). Could it be that you simply had to reboot after installing the new drivers? Did it ever happen again after the driver update? –  Synetech Nov 28 '13 at 22:03
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I have been having the same problem but I may have inadvertently fixed it. I believe it is connected to windows live. So if you use hot mail you will be having this problem. I have solved it by making sure I sign into windows live then signing into my mail. If I take a short cut the bar sticks. The other way is when it is stuck remove it and set it to come up on the left or right and side. Then when it is doing that remove it back to the bottom and click auto hide and save and it should stay hidden. I have been following this routine for the last two weeks and it this has been working fine.

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It is not connected to Windows Live. I don't own a machine with Windows Live installed, yet I experience this problem daily on all of my computers running Windows 7. –  Cody Gray Apr 27 '11 at 5:59
    
Agreed; it is unlikely due to Live (it happens even with a fresh install), but rather probably connected to the newer taskbar controls and jump-list functions. –  Synetech Nov 28 '13 at 22:05
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I've heard rumors that installing 7+ Taskbar Tweaker fixes it automatically, without the need to enable any tweaks. I've installed it few months ago and I haven't seen the problem since then, but it wasn't very frequent for me so that's not a proof.

If you don't want to install separate app just for that, then you should take a look at other neat features that 7+TT offers. (For example I love to have button combining disabled).

Screenshot of 7+TT configuration window

(screenshot from developer's site linked above)

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I can proove that it sadly does not fix this bug >:/ –  PacMani yesterday
    
I've been using 7+TT for more than a year now. It doesn't fix this issue completely like @PacMani said, but I believe it makes it occur less often. –  gronostaj yesterday
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It seems that few people on the Internet have any knowledge of accessibility because any search for this issue brings only up the ⇧ Shift+right-click trick. For numerous reasons, it is not always possible to use the keyboard and mouse at the same time. Here is how you can accomplish it with just the mouse and just the keyboard:

  • With only the mouse, right-click one of the taskbar buttons, left-click a button, wait for the Aero Preview window to pop up over the button, right-click it to open the context-menu, then click somewhere else to dismiss the menu.

  • With just the keyboard, hold the ⊞ Win key and press a number corresponding to one of the taskbar buttons—e.g., ⊞ Win+1 to access the first button. (Alternately, you can press ⊞ Win+T to focus the taskbar, then Tab to the first button.) Now you can press the ▤ Apps/Context key to open the context-menu, then Esc to dismiss it.

Regardless, this is still only a temporary fix and the problem usually returns fairly quickly. In my experience, it only takes a couple of window restores/minimizes to trigger the sticking again (sometimes it happens every few seconds). :-(

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protected by nhinkle Apr 27 '11 at 6:17

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