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. – Kale Muscarella Oct 10 '13 at 19:20
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    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
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    2016. Windows 10, and it's still happening! – FoxInFlame Jun 6 '16 at 14:39
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    It doesn't seem to be directly related to system uptime or session age. I recently had a 100+ day session on my Windows 7 (no logouts, standbys, hibernations etc.) and this bug never appeared. I rebooted my system today, and started encountering the problem after just a few hours. – Daniel Saner Dec 7 '16 at 22:13

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
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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
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    Also, you can do a simple right-click (without holding ⇧Shift) on the pop-up of one of the taskbar buttons to accomplish the same effect. It is just as temporary and the problem will reoccur soon like with the other tricks, but at least it’s a way to momentarily fix it without having to use the keyboard (for those times when you are tucked in or tired or whatever and using only the mouse). – Synetech Feb 25 '14 at 4:41
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    For those like me who can never remember the Shift-Right click workaround (and keep coming back to this question), middle click also fixes it. – Paul Du Bois Apr 9 '14 at 19:13
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    Windows 10 has now been released. And guess what... It still happens!! C'mon Microsoft, fix it already! – Alexander Johansen Aug 9 '15 at 23:51

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). :-(

  • Wow, hacks are becoming accessible. Nice! But that also shows that people had the pressure to get comfortable with this bug over a long time. Too long time. It's like when this bug finally gets fixed, people are going to be missing it. – ygoe Sep 4 '18 at 18:32

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

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.

  • Actually worked O.o – Svish Aug 20 '13 at 21:56
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    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 '14 at 4:37
  • @Synetech Oh, I was just about to disable those taskbar previews and see if that helps, but it sounds like it wouldn't. – ygoe Sep 4 '18 at 18:35

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
  • Never used Live apps, still I have this for some time now on Windows 10 (can't remember how long, maybe already on Windows 7). – ygoe Sep 4 '18 at 18:37

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