Windows 10 desktop icons suddenly have black squares over them

Discussion in 'Windows 10 Help and Support' started by Amnesiac, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. Amnesiac

    Amnesiac Active Member

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    I just bought a new PC on Thursday and it came with Windows 10 Home preinstalled. Having used versions
    2.0 (yes I am ancient ;)), carefully avoiding Vista, ME and 8.x, and on via XP to 7, I felt it couldn't get much
    better now and had decided I would resist upgrading as long as at all possible.

    I had also been convinced by friends that Windows 10 wasn't so bad, really, and anyway would soon be 'the
    only way to fly' if I wanted to continue using Microsoft OS's, so I finally relented the other day to the tune of
    $420.

    For a day and half things went better than expected, and I felt like a convert. Then I started noticing
    peculiarities like e.g. laboriously configuring a piece of software to my preferences in one session, rebooting,
    and finding that it had reverted to it's pristine state; the configuring hadn't 'taken'.

    How very odd for such a fine OS I thought, but plodded on nevertheless trying to ignore this curious behavior.

    As time wore on I noticed other oddities that I had not expected from an OS with such a long pedigree. I
    haven't kept a log of these lapses as I tried my best to keep ignoring them and hoping for the best.

    Today I was greeted with a desktop with black rectangles on top of most, though not all, icons:

    [​IMG]

    The Chrome bookmark bar was, curiously, not affected:

    [​IMG]

    I could ignore this foolishness no longer and started Googling for 'my Windows 10 desktop icons suddenly
    have black squares over them', and got 467 000 results, some even boldly claiming to have solved the issue.

    (Solved) - LITTLE BLACK SQUARES « How-To Geek Forums being but one.

    Well, not one of the 5 to 10 'solutions' I tried helped. Not a one. Still I thought I'd post here anyway before
    turning from convert to revert.

    And of course there is always Ubuntu and other Unix/Linux flavors, stable and reliable according to the proponents, but it is harder - though not undoable - to change a 29-year habit at age 59.

    Pardon me for being so long-winded, but; there it is - please don't Tl;dr me because this means a lot to me
    and any answers may be of use to some of the other 467 000 unfortunates.

    What are some of your thoughts on the above?

    Thank you.
     
  2. ussnorway

    ussnorway Windows Forum Team
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    you tranferred old software onto a new computer and ended up with corrupt icons... the thing that worries is you say the system does not allow you to make changes that stay around after a reset so;
    • what type of account have you got?
    (Microsoft id, local-admin, local-guest)

    • what type of graptics card and what drivers are installed?
    • have you got an antivirrus system running and if so then what is the name of it?
    • do the icons work i.e, they are just black icons that open as they should?
    • if you right click an icon and pick a new icon to display does that work and how long does it take before the icons go black again?
     
  3. Amnesiac

    Amnesiac Active Member

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    Thank you so much. You certainly have a...way with words. "you tranferred old software onto a new computer and ended up with corrupt icons... "

    No, I did not. Where do I say that? It is a brand new machine, all the software was preinstalled. Except the VLC player. Your thorough analysis of the OP got right to the point.

    Here goes:
    • what type of account have you got?
    (Microsoft id, local-admin, local-guest)

    Admin
    • what type of graptics card and what drivers are installed?
    The graptics is by Nvidia, integrated w/ the motherboard.
    • have you got an antivirrus system running and if so then what is the name of it?
    McAfee Live Safe. 'You sure you haven't been drinking?
    • do the icons work i.e, they are just black icons that open as they should?
    They work fine
    • if you right click an icon and pick a new icon to display does that work and how long does it take before the icons go black again?
    They start out life black now as opposed to a day ago.

    But thanks.
    :D
     
  4. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
    Microsoft Community Contributor

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    Hi

    For what it's worth, and it isn't much, I found after the Anniversary update that using Google Chrome caused many problems for me.
    Uninstalling Chrome made them go away, reinstalling Chrome made them come back.

    I have no idea why but you said that you had issues with Chrome as did I.

    Since I uninstalled Chrome the last time my computer has worked fine.

    I didn't want to run Reset because I do have a zillion old software programs that I don't want to have to reinstall, and it was an update not a new fresh computer, but for you that might be the right thing to try.

    I'm not talking about restoring to factory settings but letting Windows essentially reinstall itself from scratch through the built in reset process as opposed to Refresh, which will retain you files and settings.

    You always have the option to go back to the factory settings from your recovery partition, if it does't work out.

    A lot of people have reported that doing a fresh install solved the problems they had after updating to Anniversary.

    For that matter you can download and do a complete fresh install from scratch, (something I like to do on a brand new computer anyway) to get rid of all the junk the manufacturer puts on it.

    As long as you have logged in with your Microsoft Account you should be able to just install it and log back in.

    Windows 10

    But you can try uninstalling Chrome and see if that makes a difference.
    As long as you have it synced you can reinstall and get all your setting and shortcuts back easily enough.

    It's just as likely that some other piece of software is causing the problem but it was Chrome for me.

    I'm now using Opera and Edge alternately. I imported my links from Chrome before I removed it, so I didn't have to set everything up again in the new browsers.

    Personally I don't like McAfee anti-virus, it's always been a resource hog for me and had issues of it's own, I use Windows Defender, Malwarebytes, and SuperAntiSpyware, and have never had malware problems.

    Mike
     
    #4 MikeHawthorne, Aug 27, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2016
  5. ussnorway

    ussnorway Windows Forum Team
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    local-admin? that should good but we can check it... open a command promt by pressing [windows key] + [r] "type [cmd] and press [enter]"
    Screenshot (116).

    when the interface comes up type [whoami] and press [enter] ... this will return your username as per login then type [net user USERNAME] and press [enter]
    replace USERNAME with whatever your whoami returned and post the results here as text or a screenshot... see my example below
    Screenshot (112).




    could be a driver issue but its not likey... I would wait before updating the drivers

    goto your metro screen (press the [windows key]) then find one of the program icons that shows as black on your desktop screen... right click it and select "open file location"

    • are you allow to go to the location and is there a normal icon at that location?

    Screenshot (113).
     
  6. Amnesiac

    Amnesiac Active Member

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    Hi Mike, thank you.

    You say: "For what it's worth, and it isn't much, I found after the Anniversary update that using Google Chrome caused many problems for me."
    You're too modest, friend; that's worth a lot as I have read the same thing on several forums during my searches on these issues.

    "I have no idea why but you said that you had issues with Chrome as did I."
    Well, whadda you know...I am perfectly ready to believe that as I have had this issue while running Windows 7 too using Chrome. Let's say a certain feature/function - whatever - in the (then) current version of the browser worked perfectly and to your satisfaction - things work smoothly and you were productive and happy.

    That's when Googles Chrome programmers come up with an idea for the 'improvement' of that feature, installs it automatically as you know and on the sly, while you sleep or are otherwise engaged. Next time you fire the thing up, you find yourself an unwilling, unwitting beta tester for Google - and the 'improvement' turns out to be a degradation and it's on to the Google Chrome forum to find that, sure enough, many other people suddenly have a problem where just the other day there was none.

    Still, one has some time invested in this browser plus it's kinda nifty to have your profile follow you to a new job, a public PC - whatever, so you bite that particular bullet and soldier on. Until the next Google Chrome team's next brainwave and so forth ad nauseam. As for Windows itself "You always have the option to go back to the factory settings from your recovery partition, if it does't work out." /.../ "For that matter you can download and do a complete fresh install from scratch, (something I like to do on a brand new computer anyway) to get rid of all the junk the manufacturer puts on it.

    You speak the truth my faithful Indian companion. You've been around a while, I can tell, and I certainly value your suggestions.

    "Since I uninstalled Chrome the last time my computer has worked fine."

    Well, I'm good and ready right this minute, so Opera or Edge or trusty old Mozilla/Firefox it is although I will perhaps give reinstalling Chrome a chance first, as per your suggestion, taking the precautions you so wisely did. Like I said, it is sweet to have your profile follow you and be 'right at home' in a matter of minutes on a different PC. Perhaps there is a way to turn of the automatic updates? That's what I did with Win 7 when everything finally ran smoothly.

    It is after all my computer, my time that is wasted if things go awry after an upgrade, and I am now at 50+ quite determined to be the captain of my destiny, G-d willing and circumstances permitting.

    "Personally I don't like McAfee anti-virus, it's always be a resource hog for me and had issues of it's own, I use Windows Defender, Malwarebytes, and SuperAntiSpyware, and have never had malware problems." I hear you, man, and will happily follow your example. I didn't choose McAfee but it came bundled with the PC and remember, I only got it on Thursday so I hadn't gotten around to it yet.

    Besides, I think Mr McAfee does fine w/o my support wherever he is and whatever banana republic conflict he is currently embroiled in.

    Again thank you for your insightful, competent advice Mike. Man, you are on the ball, capable, know your sh-t - and decent and humble to boot. I thank you Sir.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Amnesiac

    Amnesiac Active Member

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    Thank you ussrnorway and please excuse my snotty, uncouth reply of yesterday which you are 'big enough' to not mention. That speaks volumes as to your personal qualities. I had been up literally for days, with a few hours of semi-sleep between sessions as I had had some two weeks trying, to no avail, to rescue my trusty ASUS barebones machine. I beg your pardon. [​IMG]

    Here, then, is the cmd output:

    [​IMG]

    My given name is Göran (Swedish) hence the goran as I have had some difficulty because of the ö. But Administratör is clear enough I trust ;).

    "I would wait before updating the drivers" Yes, you'd think a brand new PC would not have driver issues right off the bat.

    "goto your metro screen..." That particular ship has sailed, friend. See, I never used the Metro thingy having carefully avoided Windows 8.x and am partial to the old Start Menu so I immediately installed Classic Shell.

    But all in all - what seemed like a major deal yesterday (the black squares) I now, after sleeping like dead last night, realize is a minor thing.

    Thank you though for bearing with me ussnorway, but think no more of it - I'll deal with it and have besides recently gotten advice that will likely remedy this particular SNAFU.

    Seeyabye!
    [​IMG]
     
    ussnorway likes this.
  8. Neemobeer

    Neemobeer Windows Forum Team
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    As far as I can tell it looks like only shortcuts are affected? I see a image file, folder and recycle bin don't have the issue.
     
  9. Neemobeer

    Neemobeer Windows Forum Team
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    The shortcut icon "box with blue arrow" get's loaded from the shell32.dll file. My guess is if you looked at the icons in this file for the shortcut arrow some or all of them will be black boxes. You can verify this as follows
    • Download a copy of resource hacker Resource Hacker
    • Launch resource hacker and select Open.
    • It should start out in C:\Windows\System32
    • Type in or scroll down to shell32.dll and open it
    • Click on the Icon section and look at icons 312 - 321 and see if they are black boxes
     
  10. BIGBEARJEDI

    BIGBEARJEDI Honorable Member
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    Wow! lots of stuff going on here. It would be nice if you could tell us the Make/Model of your computer so we can help you further.

    Next, diggin' the Mike-love-fest thing! We all have great things to say about him, including me. Run for President? Maybe in 2020?

    As far as your comments about McAfee; personally I like the guy. Have talked with him on the phone way back in the dark ages. He's no longer outside the US, has been back here for several years now, and is happily re-married, writing books, and does occasional security consulting for the Government. There was a huge special 1 hour documentary last year on him on 60 min. or 20/20. As far as his products go; he sold out for billions as you know about 20 years ago, when NAI bought McAfee outright and is part of a megalithic software dynasty the same way Norton was when Mr. Norton sold Norton the company for billions to software giant Symantec. This all happened decades ago in the 90s and the top management changes more often than you change the oil in your car. McAfee dropped out of the top 5 and then the top 10 AV products with independent testing organizations for many years and have revised and improved their products; but certainly not enough to gain my confidence back. There are several other products, including the ever-present Norton that will give you a much better bang for your buck, to the tune of $80 per year per PC; personally I don't run McAfee and remove it from all home user's PCs as soon as I encounter it, unless it's a business customer who insists on running it. These days, I just tell the Customer to keep it and take it somewhere else as I no longer repair computers running McAfee just like I no longer repair computers running XP, Win2k, or W98 pretty much all for the same reasons which I'm sure you can guess. McAfee the guy, made some mistakes, and dropped maybe too much acid (but it you grew up in the 60s, what choice did you have?). Everyone's allowed a 2nd chance; so let's ignore that diss, ok?

    Once we know what brand computer you got, we can write back and tell us and we may be able to give you some insight. I would suggest backing up all your Personal Data in your library folders, and doing a complete Windows reinstall. Recheck your desktop icons. If it's still bad, you may have suffered an infant-mortality failure. Take back computer to place of purchase and have them repair or replace it. If they refuse, call the Manufacturer and take advantage of the 1-year factory warranty. The computer maker will repair it for you, but you'll have to spend about $60 to ship it to them for that repair (make sure to insure it to $500 purchase value first). They will pay for return shipping to you after they fix it on their dime. Sounds like you could have a lemon!:waah:

    Best,:encouragement:
    <<<BIGBEARJEDI>>>
     
  11. Neemobeer

    Neemobeer Windows Forum Team
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    Webroot is by far one of the best AV solutions. It uses next-gen techniques for detection. Doesn't use signatures at all. Small memory and disk footprint 1MB HDD and 3MB memory. Fast scanning (average scan is about 30-50 seconds) 100% detection rating on testing.
     
  12. BIGBEARJEDI

    BIGBEARJEDI Honorable Member
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    Neemo, not to rain on your parade or anything, but Webroot doesn't even show up in AV Test Results, one of the best worldwide AV independent testing agencies. It's not even in their top 34 products reviewed for Home Users in their April 2016 published test results here:
    AV-TEST – The Independent IT-Security Institute

    I'm not saying that it doesn't work for you; but it's never been good for me. :noway: I still get computers in that run that as their only AV scanner, and they are completely infected with every class of virus out there; general, Trojan, worm, e-mail worm, and Ransomware. Webroot comes free with a number of different PCs I've seen over the last 10-15 years, as I've seen it both installed and the little CD it comes in a box. Also, to my knowledge, there are no Fortune500 companies currently using it their business.:( Being former IT, than concerns me that no major corporate entities have endorsed this product by making it a corporate standard. That doesn't mean that a few F500 companies out there haven't tested it and maybe even some are using it over the last few years, but I haven't heard of it and I still have many friends working in IT. We frequently have discussions on what security software they are using as well as their personal recommendations. It doesn't show up on the radar in the Corporate world at all.:ohno:

    I believe I've seen this product reviewed in some of the consumer mags such as PC World, and PC Magazine, but their testing methods have been compromised over the years by showing favoritism to AV companies who throw lots of cash in their direction. Many of the products they now Rate as #1, such as Kaspersky are definitely not among my favorites, and I get machines in regularly that are so badly infected with malware and viruses, that it would take me years to clean out all the nasties! That's not how a #1 AV product should behave IMO. Indpendent AV testing agencies produce much more reliable test results, and there are a few in the US as well. Last time I looked; Webroot wasn't on any of their top 10 either.

    A small footprint and fast scanning are not my only requirements for AV use and protection. To me that's like driving an Indy Car at 200mph with no brakes--yes it goes fast, but how do you stop it? In this case speed and performance are no good without substantive protection.

    My 2 cents.

    BBJ
     
  13. Neemobeer

    Neemobeer Windows Forum Team
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    That's because it's not a traditional AV anymore. It's classified as next-gen detection. Traditional AV isn't very effective anymore.
     

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