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RavenMind

Odd Desktop Icon Overlays

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So I've recently been having a strange issue with my Desktop icons. Normally the only overlays they have are the little arrow icons at the bottom left indicating a shortcut. For the past week or so, I've been getting little magnifying glass icons overlaying them for a time. (Once or twice it was another icon, I think it was a green checkmark, but can't recall.) Often it's only for a few minutes, then they go away. Sometimes I can Refresh from the context menu & they'll go away, other times not. This is an issue that's been mentioned on the Microsoft support pages, but of course, they are of no help at all, and often try to tell people to turn off the Magnifier accessibility option, (which this is totally unrelated to). This started happening around the time I removed my Comcast version of Norton, and to compensate, re-enabled Windows Defender AV & firewall, and installed Spybot S&D. Naturally I assumed it had something to do with one of those. I disabled Spybot, then uninstalled it, and the behavior continued. Windows Defender only seems to log real-time scans when it's found something to remove, or a system scan is initiated. So I just figured it was that, and since it's a minor annoyance I just decided to live with it. However, now I had the Windows Mail application icon overlaying the desktop icons. This is making me think something besides a scan is going on. Tonight, when I noticed the Mail icons, I also happened to have my cell phone sitting next to me & saw that I had an email notification, (which is linked to the same accounts as my MS Mail). The MS Mail app on Windows was closed at the time. I'm wondering if this might have something to do with the notification center? It was suggested by someone on the MS site to try SysInternal's Process Explorer (though it was really Autoruns) & check under Icon Overlays for anything that looks out of place. I've done this, but haven't seen anything strange. But then, by the time I noticed the icons, opened Autoruns, and scanned through them, whatever was causing the behavior may well have terminated its process.

Has anyone encountered this before or have suggestions?

I'm running:

  • Win10 Home
  • v1709
  • Build 16.299.125

Some screenshots to illustrate the issue, (click to enlarge):

large.5a3782dfc0a2d_NextWeirdIconOverlay.jpg.f87d8c7781b384ecbfabb73f28fb99da.jpglarge.Weird-Icon-Overlays.jpg.e7aace65cb8548924eb72f5224e0be4b.jpg

Coincidentally, I've noticed that the Recycle Bin & the "hidden" desktop.ini don't get the overlay. Not sure if this happens with other actual programs on the Desktop as all the others are shortcuts. Plus the normal shortcut arrow overlay is replaced by the other, not superimposed. Plus recently, a lot of my Desktop icons have been losing their icon file association (see the "Minion" icon to the top left). Changing the icon then changing back doesn't do any good. Only deleting the shortcut & creating a new one gets the icon to appear correctly. Unknown if that has anything to do with this issue.

 

Edited by RavenMind

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One thread suggests this is somehow caused by having multiple file syncing programs running at once, like OneDrive and DropBox. I see you have FreeFileSync, are you also using OneDrive or DropBox?

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On 12/18/2017 at 5:15 AM, Visceral Moonlight said:

You can check to make sure the registry key mentioned here hasn't been modified. Other than that, I'm not sure what to make of it.

Hmm. Nope I don't have a Shell Icons subkey. It looks like that's a custom created one for the tweak on that page. I did find a ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers subkey, including subs for OneDrive, Groove, Enhanced Storage Shell, and Overlay(excluded, pending, protected). OneDrive is the only one getting me a little suspicious, as per Vorians comment..

On 12/18/2017 at 11:49 AM, Vorians said:

One thread suggests this is somehow caused by having multiple file syncing programs running at once, like OneDrive and DropBox. I see you have FreeFileSync, are you also using OneDrive or DropBox?

No, FreeFileSync (portable) is the only syncing program I have installed. This particular computer I don't even have my ICloud backup software on. I don't let FreeFileSync run any background processes, its resources should only be loading when I open the program. I've never seen any processes from it running without the program open. I manually sync with it. It does keep a few database files to track location changes though, so maybe it is running something in the background I just haven't seen.

OneDrive, however has me suspicious. I've disabled it as completely as I could, using a combination of Methods 2,3, & 5 from this guide. I wonder if it still has a process or service running that's scanning for files, but due to the reg edits the icon overlays are coming up strange (though I think they shouldn't be there at all..) Incidentally, I also noticed this behavior on another of my computers, on which I've also disabled OneDrive. Do you think it's worth it to restore the registry values & enable OneDrive again, then see if the behavior still occurs?

On 12/18/2017 at 5:30 AM, Schtearn said:

...the WinAero Tweaker is a good way to go as well as shortcut repair.

Thanks Schtearn! For some reason I thought I read that WinAero Tweaker was dead and wouldn't work on Win10. I used it, or one of its tools, on Vista in years past & enjoyed it. I'll check out those shortcut programs & see if any of them can resolve the behavior. Strangely, the shortcuts are still pointing to the correct location, and will launch the app. Even the "change icon" option pulls up the .exe & displays the available icons correctly. It just won't show them if selected, or if another icon (even from somewhere else) is selected, then switched back to the original. Weird.

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Well I completely remove OneDrive from my computers, you might try that in case a bit of it is still sneaking around and is the cause? The thread I found specifically identifies having multiple syncing programs in use at once, so if it's the same issue for you then reactivating OneDrive won't help.

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Okay, thanks! Do you happen to know a guide or something to help get OneDrive completely removed? Uninstall doesn't do it, and the last time I tried to dig out & delete all the associated registry entries I wound up having to do a system restore.

Did it again last night, this time with a grey x. Refreshing the desktop reverted it back. Weird. Oh well, it's not causing any problems I can determine, just a minor annoyance.

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It's still there? Have you gone through your process list with a fine toothed comb? Post it here if you like, or consider multiple desktops. This is an excellent article.

Try Dexpot- it's built in vb6 but might work.

 

Edited by Schtearn

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10 hours ago, RavenMind said:

Okay, thanks! Do you happen to know a guide or something to help get OneDrive completely removed? Uninstall doesn't do it, and the last time I tried to dig out & delete all the associated registry entries I wound up having to do a system restore.

Did it again last night, this time with a grey x. Refreshing the desktop reverted it back. Weird. Oh well, it's not causing any problems I can determine, just a minor annoyance.

 

Follow the guide on this web site. Scroll down to the section titled " Complete Remove and Uninstall OneDrive " (the first sentence contains a typo, "impossible" should be "possible") - that's the method I use.

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@ Schtearn  Eh, more like a thick toothed comb. I looked for anything non-Microsoft and looked them up to see what they were. Nothing unexpected. I didn't research all the MS processes & running services though. May be worth another look. Thanks for the links, I'll take a gander later tonight. :)

Vorians, thank you very much for the link! Even if it doesn't make a difference with this particular issue, I'd love to get OneDrive completely gone.

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