Windows Taskbar Icons Randomly and Periodically Blink

Jul 2, 2018
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Does anyone here have any clue why Win10 taskbar icons randomly and periodically blink/refresh? It is driving me bat !@*^ crazy!!! I have searched and searched to no avail. It has been reported time and again on Microsoft’s page and sadly the generic responses by their mods couldn’t be more pathetic. It’s as if when you ask a question over there they throw up a bunch of canned responses and don’t even really consider the issue. For no apparent reason at all the Windows 10 taskbar icons just blink/refresh randomly and periodically. Do Microsoft not see this GUI eyesore? Are other users so oblivious that they don’t see it either? If you do a Google search you will find that this has been being asked about for many years. How long does it take to fix an issue with Windows? How many years? What does it take to get Microsoft’s attention? I have also seen this same or similar question asked here and it gets marked as solved. IT IS NOT SOLVED!
 

Colif

Titan
Moderator
I wish I knew, it started after the version upgrade to 1803 so about 2 months now? I get it myself and have wondered what cause is but not to point of actually working it out

What are specs of the PC? what parts have you got? what GPU?

I wonder if its tied into the new timeline feature, thinking its related to desktop. See if turning it off changes anything - https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/101852-enable-disable-timeline-windows-10-a.html

its obviously a system service doing it but not clear what it is. I might look in event viewer next time it happens and see if it shows anything in there.

So sfc/scannow and DISM don't help, I am not surprised as they don't ever help with desktop issues. All the steps that don't work - https://superuser.com/questions/1322253/why-do-win10-taskbar-icons-sometimes-flash-for-a-second/1335912

There used to be a start menu troubleshooter was Microsoft seem to have killed that

more wondering - https://superuser.com/questions/1322253/why-do-win10-taskbar-icons-sometimes-flash-for-a-second/1335912

Some suggest a fresh install, I would prefer to just live with flickering taskbar. Microsoft started it, they need to fix their update.

seems its an explorer bug
 
Jul 2, 2018
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This has been happening since long before 1803. I am on a 8700k with EVGA GTX 1080 Ti 1 TB SSD and 64 GB RAM.
 

Colif

Titan
Moderator
Got latest Nvidia drivers? I have a GTX 980, just getting info as I don't know if its a driver thing or windows.

I don't know if a repair install would fix this as I don't know what cause is.https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/16397-repair-install-windows-10-place-upgrade.html

I am not really helping here, more saying.. Yes, I have it too and don't know what cause is

Could try a clean boot and see if it still happens - read instructions and make sure NOT to stop all Microsoft services or Win 10 won't start right - https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/929135/how-to-perform-a-clean-boot-in-windows

if that stops it, its possibly caused by a start up program, slowly re add them to startup and see if you can id cause.

I have asked for more help since I too want to know what is causing it.
 
Jul 2, 2018
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I appreciate you engaging, but none of these things fix the issue. I am on a brand new clean install of Win10 with all the latest drivers and as many other users have stated, the issue remains regardless of what they might try. Microsoft apparently thinks GUI eyesores like this are ok... Steve Jobs would have lost his mind on his engineers and fired people over less. Clean up your act Microsoft!!!
 
Jul 4, 2018
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I too have the exact same problem. Started happening about 2 weeks ago. I have been trying to know the cause but to no avail. It happens randomly especially when browsing (Firefox), but I also got it with Chrome. I also noticed it happens on idle and when it happens, I hear one of my mechanical HDDs seeks for a millisecond right before it happens.
The frequency of the blink is about once in 5-10 mins. I timed it for 3 consecutive times, and it happened exactly every 15 minutes, but that doesn't mean that's a fixed frequency. I saw it happening every ~5-10 minutes too.

What blinks for me is the taskbar icons along with the desktop icons, sometimes only the taskbar icons.

Here's what I tried:

Disabled timeline completely. (as suggested by Colif)
Disabled Windows 10 Mail app. (I suspected it as it tries to get new emails by doing a refresh every now and then)
Disabled all the non-Microsoft services/startup items.

And guess what, nothing helped.

I am on Windows 10 64 Spring Creators Update (version 1803). I have 1080 Ti with the latest 398.36 driver. (It also was happening on 398.11). i7 8700K and 32GB of RAM.

@jonahwalton and @Colif I really would like to know what programs you guys have installed. A Programs and Features screenshot of your installed applications can help a lot to compare what programs we have in common.

Here's mine:
https://i.imgur.com/32FNkd9.png

P.S. I have tried disabling all my startup programs (ASUS bloatware etc...) from both the Task Manager Startup tab and from msconfig services tab (hiding Microsoft services), and it didn't fix the problem.
The issue started about 2 weeks ago, what's worth noting is that I haven't installed anything since a month (as you can see in the programs screenshot). The only things that were updated are nVidia drivers and Firefox, but I really doubt they have anything to do with it.


 

R0GG

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Dec 27, 2012
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I get that behavior but punctually and consistently with windows 7 taskbar when loading specific apps like utorrent, ultramon or Hard Disk Sentinel, never gave it much thought but would definitely appreciate knowing what part of those apps routine causes it.
 
Jul 4, 2018
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Yeah, I have been always getting it when loading certain apps like Sentinel, Disk management, Photoshop, saving an image from a browser etc (been like that since forever, and I never gave it any concern because I believe it's normal)... but what's annoying is when you start getting it on idle/regular browsing without any reason.

Edit: I now rolled back to nVidia 397.93 to see if that fixes it, since when I was on 397.93 I believe I didn't have the issue. Will report back. Anyway, I understand that the OP is having this issue since long before the 397.93 driver, but I am trying my best to know the cause and I think it won't hurt to try all the possible reasons. :D

Edit 2: Nope, still the same with 397.93. :/
 
Jul 4, 2018
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Thanks a lot for the list. Nothing seems suspicious, and what we have in common are programs I have installed long time ago. I just thought maybe it could be the Windows 10 "Optimize Drives" (defrag) tool that is triggering it? because almost every time it happens I hear one of my hard disks seeks for a millisecond. I am not at home now but I will try to disable the Scheduled optimization and see how it goes.
 

Colif

Titan
Moderator
I guess i can run defraggler on 1 hdd, its only got 5% fragmentation from last time i updated steam games. SSD looks after itself, is only defragged once a month automatically (windows defrags the system restore files), and other partition never gets changed.
 
Jul 4, 2018
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I found the cause!!!

It's the stupid Feedback hub. To fix the issue, go to Privacy settings and then to Diagnostics & feedback, from there, change:

1- Feedback frequency from Automatic (Recommended) to Never.

2- Diagnostic data from Full to Basic.

3- Improve Inking & typing recognition, Tailored Experience and Diagnostic data viewer all to Off.

Also, while you are at it, delete the diagnostic data by clicking on Delete from the same settings page. (don't think it's necessary though).

4- And this is the most important thing to do: from Start Menu, search for Feedback hub and then right click on it and click Uninstall. (don't worry, you can install it again from the Store should you ever want it again, but why would you? :p

EDIT: Just uninstalling the Feedback hub app from the Start Menu (without doing steps 1-3) does the trick but I would just still do all the steps to be sure.

Want to know how I found out? OK here's the story:

From Search Everything app (https://www.voidtools.com/downloads/) I viewed all Partition C:\ files and sorted by Date Modified and waited for the blink to happen, once it happened I quickly took a screenshot and at the exact moment, the last modified file was located at %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.WindowsFeedbackHub_8wekyb3d8bbwe\TempState\DiagtrackClientBackgroundTaskOnTimer
There you can find that a new folder is created once every ~10-20 minutes (and that's the very exact frequency of the blink). Then I was sure it was the cause. So I went and did the steps above and the issue is gone for good now. :)

Why it started few weeks ago for me? because I went and updated all the Store apps manually ~2-3 weeks ago and the Feedback hub got updated, I never updated the Store apps and I always turn off automatic updating of them right after I install a fresh Windows 10. I believe it's the updated version of the Feedback hub that does this icon flickering. @jonahwalton and @Colif I am so eager to know if the steps above (especially step 4) will fix it for you guys as well.
 

R0GG

Honorable
Dec 27, 2012
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Nice catch with search everything one of my all times favorite software, after each win10 update which by the way I try to manage to get them applied once ever three months tops, I go through all privacy and app settings in details again and finish up with checking spybot anti beacon immunization status.
 

Colif

Titan
Moderator
Makes me question why MS diagnostics needs to know what web sites you visit. Thanks for that, you should make a tutorial about fix. I would rearrange steps so they run in the order of the page and add the paragraph between 3 & 4 in as its own step

so
1. Diagnostic data from Full to Basic.
2. Improve Inking & typing recognition, Tailored Experience and Diagnostic data viewer all to Off.
3. Delete diagnostic data, click on Delete (This stage may not be essential)
4. Feedback frequency from Automatic (Recommended) to Never.

easier to follow then :)

Nevermind, I made one already - http://www.tomshardware.com/faq/id-3740855/fix-windows-taskbar-icons-randomly-periodically-blink.html
 
Jul 4, 2018
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Glad you found this helpful.

Thanks a lot for making a tutorial and arranging the steps! :) One thing worth noting is that it's not necessarily this is happening only on 1803, I believe it can happen on previous Windows 10 versions if your Feedback Hub app is updated.
 

Adiker

Commendable
Jul 25, 2016
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I just wanted to thank you, I wondered if something is wrong with my system and it turned to be that stupid thing... Thanks again ! Microsoft should really do something about this.
 

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