Good day, As the title mentioned, my desktop screen going crazy since yesterday night.

Below is how my laptop behave:
1. The desktop screen and taskbar keep refreshing for no reason.
2. Icons in the desktop screen are not visible but wallpaper is visible.
3. Start button in the taskbar hard to be triggered( High chances to pop up error message or remains silence after a long loading time ).
4. File explorer hard to be opened.
5. In the task manager screen, I can see explorer.exe keep restarting.
6. In the safe mode, the desktop screen and taskbar also keep refreshing, Start button in the taskbar and File explorer also hard to be triggered.
7. Command prompt is okay to be used and react fast.
8. I still able to start Chrome by using command line.

Below is what I have done after I research:
1. This problem can be solved by uninstalling iCloud, but my laptop don't have iCloud.
2. Uninstalling Norton also can fix the problem, but my laptop have only 360 Total Security
3. Uninstalling IDT Audio Driver also can do the trick, but my laptop using others driver.
4. System recovery done, but the problem is still there. ( last backup is 22 Sep 2017 )
5. Tried restarting laptop for few time, but problem still there. ( I know this method is useless but at least I tried ;) )

[UPDATE 27 SEP 2017]
What I have tried:
1. sfc /scannow. No error found.
2. DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth. Restore done, but nothing changed.
3. Uninstalled 360 Total Security. Same result.

What I have found:
1. The refreshing problem stopped if the explorer.exe stopped via task manager, but the desktop interface and taskbar disappeared. ( I can still use task manager by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ESC and use command prompt. )
2. My Windows Version is 1703. OS Build is 15063.608.

[UPDATE 28 SEP 2017] Blue Screened.
As suggested by @Peter in the comment below, I trying to find the pdf file in my laptop to verify if it is like what Peter suggested. In the first try, the File Explorer stop responding and force stopped by system when I scroll slowly to find the pdf file. In the second try, the legendary blue screen popped out.

So as conclusion, if you reading this post and facing same problem like me, please follow what Peter suggested and uninstall Adobe Reader. Peace.


I was having the same problem. In my case I traced it to PDFShell64.dll (C:\Program Files(x86)\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat\ActiveX\PDFShell64.dll) Basically the dll was crashing and then explorer would reload and the dll would crash again... hence the loop.

I believe PDFShell64.dll is used to display pdf thumbnails on the desktop. IE when you use the display pdf thumbnails in explorer option in Adobe Reader DC.

Don't know why this problem suddenly occurred - been using it for months. Rolled back windows and still a problem & AR didn't seem to have been updated either. Basically, tried deselecting the display thumbnail option in AR but still crashed so then I uninstalled Adobe Reader DC and now it is all good again (but no PDF thumbnails on the desktop:()

I had to do all this via Safe Mode Command line interface as even safe mode with low res drivers suffered the screen refresh problem.

Hope this helps

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  • Thanks for replying. Looks like my laptop blue screened... Maybe this is because I trying to find the pdf file in File Explorer. Thanks anyway. :) – Villager A Sep 28 '17 at 14:15

You could use command “sfc /scannow” and “DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth” to repair system files to check. Also delete 360 Total Security temporarily.

Or you could perform an In-Place Upgrade to repair.

Then Considering the trouble persists in Safe Mode, it's much less likely to be a driver and more likely to be a BIOS. Making sure you have the latest BIOS version installed. You could download it from the official website of the manufacturer

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  • Thanks for fast reply. I'm currently trying the sfc /scannow. Looks like it will be taking a long time to know the result. Will update progress later. – Villager A Sep 26 '17 at 11:45
  • Done scanning with sfc /scannow. Looks like no error found. Now trying DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth. – Villager A Sep 26 '17 at 17:46
  • Done RestoreHealth. The restoration done but nothing changed. Maybe I should consider installing latest BIOS. – Villager A Sep 27 '17 at 3:55
  • The command always need some time. Could you delete and recreate explorer.exe to check? – daidai Sep 27 '17 at 12:26
  • Blue screen... I am dead. I suspect this is because I trying to find pdf file with File Explorer. Actually I tried twice because system force closed the File Explorer in the first try. In the second try, pop, the legendary blue screen. Error code is unmountable boot volume. Looks like the only way is reboot Windows 10... – Villager A Sep 28 '17 at 14:13

I have had the same problem. It looks like that the Problem comes from the PDFShell64.dll which comes with Adobe Acrobat. I have uninstall Acrobat and reinstall, this has fixed the problem, now works fine. Adobe was instaled a long time ago.

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Too many icons on your desktop OR File Association disturbed by a new app.

  1. make a new folder on your desktop, start moving all icons/folder from your desktop to this new folder one by one and keep noticing that on a certain move, the flickering/refresh will stop - that is the troublesome file. Either move that file somewhere else, re-associate it with another program as default opening program or delete it or make a copy of it and delete the original.
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Quick fix, I moved the pdfs from my desktop and placed them into a subfolder, that worked.

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In the most cases, problem is icon and thumbnail cache related. Use this script to solve constant desktop and taskbar refreshing:

REM Rebuild icon and thumbnail cache in Windows 10
taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local
attrib -h IconCache.db
del /f IconCache.db
cd /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer 
attrib -h thumbcache_*.db 
attrib -h iconcache_*.db
del /f thumbcache_*.db 
del /f iconcache_*.db
start explorer

Run the script and then reboot the computer. Cheers !

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