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Recently, my hand slipped on my mouse/keyboard and I accidentally increased the icon size. After resetting it and fixing them, I noticed these incredibly annoying small gray outlines around only certain desktop icons.

I have one third party program called 'Desktop Restore' that I use to save and restore icon layouts, but I have no reason to believe that it should have anything to do with it.

My question is: Is this something in Windows 7? If so, what is it there for and how can I turn it off?

Killing explorer.exe and restarting it doesn't fix the problem, not even rebooting...

The gray squares of death...

  • the web says that happens if the icon is scaled Up or down. pbergonzi said to do this --> Right-click Desktop->View->Change Large icons to Medium icons or Small icons. – Psycogeek Nov 11 '11 at 7:08
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    Ah! I just had to refresh that setting! Thanks a ton! – cemulate Nov 11 '11 at 7:09
  • but ??? how come killing the explorer or rebooting didnt fix it? could it be the icon cache needed a refresh? – Psycogeek Nov 11 '11 at 7:25
  • 11.11.2011 !!!! – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Nov 11 '11 at 7:30
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    It's not a bug, it's a feature! – m0skit0 Nov 11 '11 at 7:50
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The MS technet says that happens if the icon is scaled up or down.

Similar issues were fixed by refreshing the desktop by right-clicking on the desktop and choosing "show desktop" or "refresh"

If you have Windows 7, Pbergonzi from Cnet suggests:

Right-click Desktop → View → Change Large icons to Medium icons or Small icons.

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Just Right-click Desktop->View->Change Large icons to Medium icons or Small icons then refresh the desktop and you are done.

  • How does this answer the OP's question " I noticed these incredibly annoying small gray outlines around only certain desktop icons... Is this something in Windows 7? If so, what is it there for and how can I turn it off?" He already stated that he fixed the icon size after increasing them. – MaQleod Oct 6 '12 at 3:43
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Click desktop, then Ctrl + Mouse Wheel.

This is how most people (accidentally) get the box in the first place.

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