I've searched this thoroughly and haven't found any solutions. There are no duplicates that I've found thus far.

I'm running Windows 7, and just today (not following any Windows updates, driver updates or any major changes), I cannot click on anything. Clicking anywhere simply takes the current window out of focus. The only thing that I can click on is the start menu and any start menu items.

What I've tried so far (with no success):

  • Yes, I've rebooted
  • I tried a different mouse
  • I have the same problem in Safe Mode
  • I have the same problem after a system restore
  • Killing explorer.exe fixes the problem for about 30 seconds, then back again
  • Event Viewer shows nothing I can see related to the problem
  • I have them same problem when I take remote control of the machine through LogMeIn (therefore not a hardware problem)
  • Ran SFC and CHKDSK, both with no errors reported

Any idea what could possibly cause this?

  • 4
    Someone took a screenshot of your desktop, removed all the icons and set the screenshot as your wallpaper? – EBGreen Aug 8 '13 at 18:58
  • Can you expand on "Clicking anywhere simply takes the current window out of focus"? So if you have a window open, and it has focus, and you click a button inside said Window, does the Window still lose focus? Have you run an SFC yet? CHKDSK? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Aug 8 '13 at 19:00
  • @EBGreen hilarious, but no, being a sysadmin I know to look for pranks first :) – Moses Aug 8 '13 at 19:01
  • @techie007 For the first question, yes, that explains the behavior. I can click anywhere - inside a window, outside it, and it still just goes out of focus as soon as I click. I can't bring it back into focus unless I Alt + Tab back to it. I have run both SFC and CHKDSK, both came back with no errors. – Moses Aug 8 '13 at 19:03
  • did you try "System Restore" to earlier points? – Dilshod Aug 8 '13 at 19:19

I seem to have resolved the issue by doing the following:

  1. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL
  2. Click Cancel.

After reading extensively on this problem on multiple forums, it appears that this issue is typically a bug in display adapter drivers which causes errors in screen redraws. Pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL and then exiting forces the display to redraw, which temporarily fixes the issue before the bug strikes again.

Updating graphics card drivers should fix this issue, but there's always the possibility that the manufacturer hasn't resolved the issue yet, they aren't aware of it, or there are compatibility problems between hardware or software.


According to this forum, try:

  • Updating your video card drivers
  • Changing your USB drivers from USB3 to USB2

We've seen this twice in the past week on fresh Windows 7 64bit installs.

Once on a laptop with Nvidia chipset/gfx, the other on an older desktop with Intel G45 express graphics.

The problem started once the windows updates had finished. Before that everything was normal. I suspect a recent windows update has broken something.

Icons on the desktop interacted normally. Open documents explorer window and you can't interact with it at all. Close/Minimise select anything on it... Nada.

Can still interact with desktop icons.

Start bar will not interact.

ctrl-alt-del esc

and it's all working again.

The laptop was finally fixed by updating the Nvidia drivers. We're still working on the desktop.

protected by Community May 25 '15 at 9:53

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