Desktop icons flashing/flickering on Windows 10

Windows 10 users reported on Microsoft Community as “Desktop icons flashing/flickering”. As user reported that icons on desktop and task bar automatically flashing or flickering on every 4 – 5 minutes. It is annoying, frustrates the Windows users. You are unable to click on desktop icons when they are flashing/flickering. Refer this guide about Windows 10 customization.

RECOMMENDED: Fix this issue in 3 simple steps. Takes only 2 minutes.
1) Download repair utility.
2) Install program and click Scan button.
3) Click Fix Errors button when scan is completed.
4) Restart your computer.

How to fix desktop icons flashing/flickering issue on Windows 10.

We have researched after desktop icons flashing issue posted on Microsoft community. We tried replicating the issue on known good computer. Finally we found possible resolutions to fix desktop icons flashing/flickering issue.

Probably below points may be causing desktop icons flashing/flickering issue

  1. Dual monitors: When you have connected multiple monitors for the same CPU or tower PC, due to compatibility or faulty display resolution Desktop icons flashing/flickering.
  2. Faulty Graphics Card: Automatic Windows update or user manually installed faulty graphics driver. Incompatible graphics drivers also can cause the issue.
  3. PC connected to Remote Desktop: For example you have two computer one is in home another at office, you might use any remote desktop tools such as WebEx, Teamviewer, Logmein, and they are not disconnected from the network. Make sure you disconnect them once your work is done.
  4. Faulty User account and Explorer.exe: Faulty system files, User account, Explorer.exe can also cause desktop icons flashing/flickering issues.
  5. Anti-Virus: Anti-Virus play very crucial role on every computer. If anti-virus configured incorrectly or faulty anti-virus can cause the issue.

Quick Note: Before making any changes in your computer, I suggest you to create a System Restore point  so that you can restore back your computer to previous working stat if something goes wrong. Perform below troubleshooting steps one by one. After every steps check if the issues is fixed.

Step 1: Terminate the Explorer.exe process, remove IconCache.db, and restart Explorer.exe

What is Explorer.exe?

Explorer.exe is a Windows shell manager. It includes taskbar, desktop, and other user interface features. This process should always be running in the background to access taskbar, desktop icons and other features. The explorer.exe file is located in the folder C:\Windows.

What is IconCache.db?

IconCache.db file an icons cache files. IconCache.db file keeps a copy of all icons. When you click on any applications icon from desktop, Windows will directly look for that icon on IconCache.db files instead of looking on application folder.

If the IconCashe.db is corrupted. Icons on desktop look blurry, blank icons, icons looks corrupted, Thumbnail icons does not looks properly.

Rebuilt IconCache.db.

By rebuilding IconCache.db can repair desktop icons. To do that follow below steps.

  1. Open Windows Explorer. Go to %userprofile%\AppData\Local
  2. Make sure Show Hidden Files is enabled. Change Properties for IconCache.db so that it’s not Hidden. Close Windows Explorer.
  3. Go to C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local folder and delete the hidden IconCache.db file. Reboot.
  4. Reboot the computer. This steps will allow Windows to rebuild or repair desktop icons.
  5. After the reboot icons should stop flashing/flickering. If not follow next step.

desktop icons flashing/flickering

Step 2: Uninstall online remote desktop tools.

Make sure you have no active online remote desktop software working on your computer. If this is the case you can just install them for now.

To do that. Press Windows + R key together > type appwiz.cpl. Find and uninstall below applications.

  1. WebEx.
  2. Teamviewer.
  3. Logmein

Step 3: Create New User Account:

Corrupted user account can also create desktop icons flashing/flickering issues. Follow this link to create new user account.

Step 4: Uninstall anti-virus software

Follow below links to disable, uninstall or reinstall antivirus software from your computer

List of manual antivirus uninstallers:

Click the link associated with the antivirus software currently installed on your system and follow the prompts or instructions on the website.

Once uninstallation is complete, you will need to restart your computer.

Hope you are able to fix desktop icons flashing/flickering issues on your computer. If not you may need to refresh or reset your computer.

Refer below links for more information:

  1. Refresh Windows 10 without erasing data.
  2. Clean Reset Windows 10.

Arun Prabhakar

Arun Prabhakar immensely interested in following Windows and other technology developments. Being passionate Windows blogger, he loves to help others on fixing their computer issues.