Explorer (Desktop) Stops Refreshing

All we need is an easy explanation of the problem, so here it is.

After using Windows 7 for a while (say, a few hours), Explorer always stops refreshing my desktop, and I have to close it and re-open it. E.g.: When I delete a file, it doesn’t seem to go away even though it does; I have to press F5 to refresh the desktop.

Is there a fix for this?

How to solve :

I know you bored from this bug, So we are here to help you! Take a deep breath and look at the explanation of your problem. We have many solutions to this problem, But we recommend you to use the first method because it is tested & true method that will 100% work for you.

Method 1

If you are having this problem specifically on Windows 7 (and by extension, Vista), then one of the most likely reasons is that the Windows Management Instrumentation service is not running. I have experienced this issue on 7 and after some testing, determined that Explorer does not automatically update on file-operations if the service is not running, and that starting it will resolve the issue.

  1. Open the Services MMC snap-in (services.msc)
  2. Make sure that Windows Management Instrumentation is running (start it if it is not)
  3. Make sure it is also set to Automatic start-up

(Don’t mix it up with Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extensions which has no impact on this problem.)

Sadly, this does not fix the same problem of Explorer not refreshing on Windows XP. That is a mystery I am still investigating…

Method 2

I’ve solved this problem deleting iconcache.db file.

  1. Open your task manager and kill the explorer process
  2. Then choose File->New Task (Run), type cmd and press Enter.

In Command Prompt, use the following commands:

CD /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local
DEL IconCache.db /a

And then use Task Manager to open application explorer.exe

I you feel lazy / not comfortable with this I’ve written a simple application that takes care of the problem for my friends.

You can download it here

If you don’t trust it here‘s its source code too.

Method 3

I found that the problem corrects itself if I close all instances of Windows Explorer. Upon reopening Explorer, everything refreshes correctly.

Method 4

This problem dates back to Vista, according to Microsoft.com webpages. And over the years, MS just responds the same way: try safe mode, SFC, etc, to identify a non-Microsoft culprit. Well, I used XP Pro for many years, only upgrading in July 2012, to Win7. And this problem never ever occurred on XP Pro. It’s very clearly a Microsoft Windows problem. And if it’s triggered by a variety of other software, then it’s still a Windows problem, since the purpose of Windows to provide a system where other software and hardware can operate.

I tried many of the proposed solutions from various forum threads — some going for 40+ pages. Nothing has worked. I’ve not edited my registry because that doesn’t appear successful from what I’ve read, and it would probably require a restart to implement, and then my problem might disappear for a while.

Anyway, I have xplorer2 pro, which cost me $30 for a lifetime of version upgrades. I used it on XP Pro (after I suffered explorer & drwatson crashes in XP 🙁 — but the good news is that xplorer2 pro is a superb product w/ an unbelievably detailed manual. In my own use, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it can do, but it serves me well, and I presume it will solve this problem. (My only gripe w/ xplorer2 is the lack of an undo. It does have a menu command to go to the last drop target, for drag-n-drop errors, but an undo would be better, esp since the recycle bin misses things sometimes ..and the old norton protected bin is no longer an option — though I used it as long as I could, disabling/deleting everything else in the utilities suite.)

Sorry, I do digress. Anyhow, I’ve no vested interest, but I do encourage people to try xplorer2 — the free version or the Pro version. A no-registry portable edition is available too. And for the other end, if you look, you’ll find a instructions for editing the registry so xplorer2 replaces explorer in nearly every instance where explorer would otherwise appear (save as dialogs & the like excepted).

Method 5

There are several reasons for this behavior.

One case is that of a badly-written (de)installation program which creates or deletes icons but doesn’t refresh the desktop. As the desktop doesn’t always auto-refresh, nicely-written installers do the F5 for you.

A second case is that of an installed product that interferes with the desktop refresh, for example TeraCopy in this thread. You might try to remember which product you have called for the first time just before this happened.

A third and more remote possibility is a bug in the video driver. Ensure that you have the latest version from the manufacturer’s website.


If the problem is Explorer rather than only the desktop, this is a problem that is reported in Windows since XP and until today. Many remedies have been suggested, which worked for some people. Here are some of them:

  1. Ensure that the antivirus isn’t the cause
  2. Regedit to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Update, UpdateMode entry, and change the value of the last digit from 1 to either 2 or 7.
  3. Regedit to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Control Panel\Desktop, right-click, New Binary Value, rename to ExplorerRefreshOnRename, double-click and change the value to “0001”, press OK.
  4. At the end of this thread, a registry update is suggested (create first a system restore point).
  5. Another suggestion from the same thread is to regedit to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{BDEADE7F-C265-11D0-BCED-00A0C90AB50F}\Instance and set DontRefresh to 0.

Method 6

I love all the posts suggesting DontRefresh in the Registry. Don Quixote would be proud!

Forgot where I found this but it does work for Explorer refresh and Desktop Icons issues:

@ ECHO off
Echo Run this if your Taskbar Icons look like blank rectangles
or your Explorer folders / Desktop does not auto-refresh.
Echo Tested for Win XP, Win7 and Server 2003/2010
Echo *****  Use at your own risk. *****
Echo Hit the  key to continue
Echo or the  and  keys to stop
REM  stop windows explorer desktop
taskkill /im explorer.exe /f"
REM  Change to your profile's application data folder
REM change the permissions of the icon cache so we can see it
attrib -h IconCache.db
REM delete the corrupt icon cache
del IconCache.db
REM restart explorer which will rebuild the icon cache correctly
Echo If this did not work you may have bigger problems like a bad hard drive, corrupt registry or a virus.
Echo All Done!
Echo You may need to manually close this window now
call explorer.exe

Note: Use and implement method 1 because this method fully tested our system.
Thank you 🙂

All methods was sourced from stackoverflow.com or stackexchange.com, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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