I have noticed every now and then, Vista's desktop does not refresh or update itself correctly after adding a folder shortcut or downloading a file to the desktop. The screen would go blank, and eventually return or the downloaded file would never appear on the desktop unless I forced a refreshed by right clicking on the desktop and select Refresh.
It seems that the mechanism for refreshing the desktop breaks or stops completely for no reason.
Finally, I came across a hotfix, published on Microsoft support web site, that corrects this problem. Microsoft states the problem occurs when "…a Windows Vista-based computer has been running for an extended period of time".
I installed the patch about three weeks ago and have not experienced any problems with the desktop not refreshing itself. Although I still have the occasional behavior with Vista rearranging icons on the desktop, which can be be fixed by restoring the desktop icon position layout.
The hotfix (KB932406) for resolving the desktop not refreshing properly, can be downloaded from Microsoft web site for both Windows Vista x32 based systems and x64 based systems. The hotfix may require a reboot.
Once the hotfix has been installed, you should no longer see the following symptoms:
- Parts of the screen may go black.
- Parts of the screen may become transparent.
- The toolbar may disappear.
- The toolbar may appear at the top of the screen instead of at the bottom of the screen.
In addition, folder shortcuts or files that you copy or download from the Internet and not appearing on the desktop, should also be corrected.
If you cannot reboot immediately after installing the hotfix, a work around for forcing Vista to update your desktop is to try refreshing the desktop (right click on desktop and click Refresh) or restart Windows Explorer shell process (without needing to reboot Vista).