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A couple of months ago I discovered that I have broken pixel on my laptop screen:

Screenshot

The weirdness of it is that it isn't a broken pixel at all, because as you can see I'm able to screenshot it.

The first time it appeared, I just rebooted my laptop a couple of times and it was gone, but this time it won't leave me even after 10 reboots and "screen fixer" for stuck pixels.

I can hover the mouse over it, and I can record it on video, but when I open exclusive fullscreen applications like games (CS:GO in my exact case), it doesn't show up.

I did a virus scan and I don't have any pirated software installed. No new software/updates were installed recently.

Important note: it appeared in the same place as the previous time, but when I change the resolution of the screen it does move a bit.

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    That is not a pixel. It is the eye of Sauron and it is watching you. – Frank Mar 20 '20 at 20:51
  • In rephrase to @Frank, this will be a very good time to check your computer for spyware that might be essentially... watching on you – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Mar 23 '20 at 13:50
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That's not even a fake broken pixel. It's a 1×1px window – it even has the same Windows 10-style shadow that windows usually have.

It might be a window that is supposed to remain hidden (programs often use invisible windows because that's required for receiving e.g. global keyboard shortcuts or other system events), yet sometimes – due to bugs in the software – such windows end up being listed in Alt+Tab or even shown on-screen anyway.

Various "Task Manager replacement" tools (such as Process Explorer) have a function (crosshair button) where you can just point at a window and the corresponding process will be highlighted. This will narrow it down to a specific program.

The regular Windows 10 Task Manager also has a "Startup" tab where all the startup programs can be disabled. Try disabling them all; if the pixel disappears, re-enable one, or half of them¹, repeating until you find the one that's showing the window. (Although there is a small chance that it's launched by a service and not by a startup program.)

¹ (Systems tend to accumulate so much cruft in the "Startup" list that I suspect you should just keep the remaining half permanently disabled anyway...)

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    It happened to me last time and Steam was causing it. Closing Steam will make the pixel disappear – Jeremy Mar 21 '20 at 5:11
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    Yeah, Steam in particular has an odd way of drawing its pop-up menus that tends to cause window-related issues... – user1686 Mar 21 '20 at 10:23
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    This occasionally happens to me, and then Process Explorer determines the cause to be Visual Studio. – Jonathan Mar 22 '20 at 8:16
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Go into safe mode, and start running everything that you usually run. An application is causing this issue, so when you start an application and you see the pixel again, you know that that application is causing the issue.

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    What do you mean by the last sentence? Do you mean "This is the application."? Or something else? – Peter Mortensen Mar 21 '20 at 3:58
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    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft You seem to have misinterpreted the comment, PeterMortensen obviously just wanted to clarify the meaning of the sentence, to improve the question. I also find the sentence "This is an app/application" confusing. I guess it means the pixel is an application. Or maybe the whole answer could mean "start running everything that you usually run [until the pixel appears]. This is the application [that causes the pixel]." – kapex Mar 21 '20 at 9:28
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    @kapex "This is the application" would be 10 times more confusing .. and, unlike the statement in its current form, wrong. Also interesting is that Peter changed the words then quoted his new words in his bewildered comment. What a strange thing to do. – Asteroids With Wings Mar 21 '20 at 17:26
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    @AsteroidsWithWings To me it looks to me like Peter only made a trivial edit (app -> application) and wanted to clarify the meaning before making larger change. Assuming good faith I see it as a genuine clarification request, not as bewildered or strange. I agree that "the application" alone isn't good and would probably be just as confusing or worse. I was mostly just calling out that unwarranted snarky comment. – kapex Mar 22 '20 at 0:23
  • @kapex I never said the bewilderment wasn't genuine. :) – Asteroids With Wings Mar 22 '20 at 19:28
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You mentioned CS:GO, so I assume you're running Steam.

Steam has some very poor window management methods. I personally deal with it leaving a title-bar-sized chunk of screen real estate allocated as its window even when minimized, even though it never actually paints those pixels, causing strange artifacts in the windows stacked below it.

Open task manager and kill everything associated with Steam and I suspect your black dot will disappear.

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I have had this issue arise on one of two identical 144hz monitors; ironically, it turned out to be the newer one. Of course, a component being older than another doesn't mean it will fail first; but in my mind it was still strange.

As above, I would check for any open applications that might be "squeezed down" to fit the aforementioned 1px/1px box. After closer inspection, I found that it wasn't a fault of the monitor (thankfully, in this current climate); but rather a window whose non-maximised size was squeezed into the aforementioned 1 pixel box.

My reasoning for why it looks that way is that the standard white toolbar across the top of the window is "sandwiching" the application... but since a variety of colours or shades cannot be represented by one pixel, it shows black (and trying to represent it would probably crash Windows).

In short, reboot and you'll be golden. As for why this happens... I'm as lost as you.

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    If you read the OP he specifically stated that rebooting no longer fixes the issue. So how is telling him to reboot going to fix his issue? – yuritsuki Mar 21 '20 at 7:06
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    Because in my experience, it just so happened that a reboot ended up fixing the issue. If it isn't working for them, the first place they should look is the list of apps that open during startup. It is entirely possible that the app in question has been locked in that size, and the place on the screen is the only non-constant. If they do end up finding the app in startup, I'd say that disabling the app and rebooting would fix it. – Anubeia Mar 22 '20 at 5:34
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I had the same issue, and used Process Explorer as was suggested, and it turned out to be a "Steam Web Client Helper" window... wow steam... thanks for the 1x1 pixel window haha. I quit the process and it was fine. Thank you!

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