Desktop Keeps Refreshing in Windows 10: How to Fix it

Learn how to solve refreshing issues with our comprehensive guide

by Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about technology ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. He's a PC enthusiast and he... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • If your Windows 10 desktop or Taskbar keeps refreshing, it might be due to corrupt or broken system files.
  • One way to fix this issue is to run an SFC scan or use a dedicated tool to repair your system files.
  • Another solution to apply is to disable Windows error Repeating service.
Windows 10 11 keeps refreshing
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Windows 10 is a great operating system, but it is not free from issues such as the desktop keeps refreshing problem. This can be caused by various factors, from third-party apps to driver problems.

This can be a big problem, so today, we’ll show you how to fix it.

Why does my desktop keep refreshing itself?

Although several factors can cause this error, the primary reasons are the following:

  • Corrupted files – Users have reported that a faulty file on Windows 10 is the cause of the desktop or taskbar constantly refreshing. In this case, you will need to do either an SFC or DISM scan to resolve this issue.
  • Outdated OS – Some older versions of Windows are ridden with bugs that could impede proper functioning.
  • Display driver issues – If desktop icons are flashing on Windows 10, your display driver may be the culprit.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only UI issue, and sometimes even your Taskbar icons can start flashing or flickering. However, there’s a way to fix this problem, and today we’ll show you how.

How do I stop Windows 10 from refreshing?

In this article

Before making changes to your PC to fix this issue, you should do some preliminary checks, as the cause of the problem might not be far-fetched. Below are some things you need to check and tweak:

  • Turn on Wi-Fi and shut down your PC.
  • Remove any external storage and devices like printers and others.
  • If your PC still uses IDT audio driver, remove it.

If this does not solve the Windows 10 desktop keeps refreshing issue, you can now explore the tested fixes below.

1. Copy all icons to a folder

Sometimes, if your desktop screen refreshes every 5 seconds, it is due to problems with the icon cache. Many users have found a solution to solve this issue for good on their PC. You can simply copy them to a folder as shown in the guide below.

1. Press the Ctrl + Shift + N shortcut on the desktop to create a new folder.

2. Select and copy all icons on the desktop and paste them into the new folder.

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3. Now, right-click on each icon on the desktop, except the folder, and select the Delete option.

delete desktop keeps refreshing

4. Right-click on any space on the desktop and select Refresh.

refresh desktop keeps refreshing

5. Finally, copy the icons from the folder and paste them on the desktop.

2. Uninstall and reinstall Adobe Reader

  1. Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings app and select the Apps option.
  2. Click on the Adobe Reader app, select Uninstall and follow the instructions to complete the process.
    adobe desktop keeps refreshing
  3. Go to the official website to download the app, click the download file and follow the simple instructions to complete the installation.

Many users reported that the Windows desktop keeps refreshing issue was caused by the PDFShell64.dll file that is part of the Adobe Reader package. To fix this problem, you need to uninstall and reinstall the app.

Another workaround is to move all the PDF files on your desktop to a subfolder somewhere else.

3. Perform an SFC or DISM scan

  1. Press the Windows key + X and choose Command Prompt (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin).
    Windows 10 keeps refreshing command prompt
  2. Type the command below and press Enter to run it. sfc /scannowsfc scan
  3. Wait for the scan to complete and check if the problem persists.
  4. If the SFC scan does not solve the issue, launch Command Prompt as admin again, type the command below, and hit Enter to run it: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealthdism

One of the prominent causes of the desktop keeps refreshing issue is corrupt system files. You can fix this by running the two built-in system file repair tools.

Alternatively, you can repair these files with dedicated software in Fortect. This tool restores the corrupt system files and replaces the broken ones. Also, it does not take much time and does not require you to enter any code.

You only need a few mouse clicks to restore your PC to top shape.

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4. Run Chkdsk

  1. Press the Windows key + S, type cmd, and click Run as administrator under Command Prompt.
    cmd desktop keeps crashing
  2. Type the command below and hit Enter: Chkdsk/fchkdsk
  3. The command might ask you to type Y; make sure you do so and wait for the check to complete.

Another known reason your Windows 10 desktop refreshes after a few seconds is a corrupt memory partition. Running the command above has effectively fixed this issue for many users.

5. Perform a clean boot

  1. Press the Windows key + R, type msconfig, and click the OK button.
  2. Click the Services tab at the top, check the box for Hide all Microsoft services, and click the Disable button.
    services desktop keeps crashing
  3. Click the Startup tab at the top and select Open Task Manager.
    open task manager
  4. Right-click each of the services there and select Disable.
  5. Return to the System configuration window and click the Apply button, following OK.
    ok apply desktop keeps crashing
  6. Finally, restart your PC.

The desktop keeps refreshing issue has been traced to third-party apps, especially those that sync frequently. Performing a clean boot allows you to start your PC without these apps and processes.

6. Restart your PC in Safe Mode

  1. Press the Windows key to launch the Start Menu.
  2. Press and hold the Shift key, click the Power option, and select Restart.
    power restart
  3. Once your PC restarts on the Choose Option page, select the Troubleshoot option.
  4. Choose Advanced options.
    advanced option desktop keeps crashing
  5. Select the Startup Settings option.
    startup settings desktop keeps crashing
  6. Finally, click the Restart button.
    restart button

The Safe Mode allows you to narrow down the cause of an issue, allowing your PC to work only with limited files and drivers. This has proved effective in solving the Windows 10 desktop keeps refreshing point.

7. Disable the Windows Error Reporting feature

  1. Press the Windows key + R, enter services.msc, and click OK.
  2. When the Services window opens, locate Windows Errors Reporting Service and double-click it.
  3. Set the Startup type to Disabled and click on Apply and OK to save changes.

If Windows 10 desktop keeps refreshing, that might be due to the Windows Error Reporting feature. This is a core Windows feature, but few users claim that it can cause specific issues to appear.

After disabling the Windows Error Reporting feature, the problem should be resolved entirely.

8. Stop iCloud Photos and disable OneDrive

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Right-click iCloud Photos in the Processes tab and select End Task. Now, check if your desktop is still refreshing.
    restart icloud desktop app
  3. If the issue persists, right-click the Microsoft OneDrive icon in the Taskbar and select Settings.
    settings onedrive
  4. Now, go to the Settings tab and uncheck Start OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows.
  5. Click OK to save changes.
    start desktop keeps crashing

If Windows 10 keeps refreshing, it might be due to apps that need continuous sync, like OneDrive, iCloud Photos, and sometimes Skype. So, it is recommended to disable and even remove this app if the problem persists.

9. Rollback your graphics drivers

  1. Press the Windows key + X and select Device Manager.
    device manager desktop keeps crashing
  2. Click the arrow next to the Display adapters option to expand it and double-click the driver.
    display adapters
  3. Click the Driver tab at the top and select the Roll Back Driver button.
    rollback driver
  4. If the option is blurred out, you have not updated your driver in recent times. Click the Update Driver option instead.
    update driver
  5. Select the Search automatically for drivers option and wait for the scan to complete.
    search auto desktop keeps crashing

If your Windows 10 desktop started refreshing after you updated your drivers, you would need to roll back to the previous version to solve the issue. Also, updating your driver should fix this issue if you have not updated your driver recently.

Preferably, you can update your graphics driver using a reliable tool in Outbyte Driver Updater. This tool saves you the stress of searching for drivers on your manufacturer’s website or with the built-in driver updater.

It does the job for you and installs the original drivers automatically. And with some users reporting that the audio and Bluetooth drivers can cause this issue, it will be stressful to update them all manually.

Get Outbyte Driver Updater

10. Restart Windows Explorer

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. When Task Manager opens, select Windows Explorer on the list and click the Restart button.

If Windows 10 desktop keeps refreshing, it might be due to problems with Windows Explorer. You can temporarily fix this problem by restarting Windows Explorer.

After performing the steps above, Task Manager will restart, and the problem will be temporarily solved. Unfortunately, the issue will reappear once you restart your PC.

On the other hand, by using this workaround, you’ll be able to temporarily fix the problem and use your PC to find a permanent solution.

Problems with Windows 10 and refreshing can seriously affect your PC, but we hope you managed to solve them by using one of our solutions.

If you face other issues like Device Manager keeps refreshing, you can check our detailed guide to fix it effectively.

If you have any other suggestions or questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below, and we’ll be sure to check them out.

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