Windows 7 file and folder refresh problem

UPDATE: Some Windows 7 users have reported to me that Option 1 & 2 didn’t work for them. I did a little more research and those users who had problems with 1 &2, found Option 3 worked for them.

Some think the Windows 7 file and folder refresh problem might be linked to either a malicious file or some third-party application. Firstly, this isn’t anything to do with a malicious file. I actually suspect this is more to do with a Windows 7 coding issue rather than any third-party application.

The file and folder refresh problem occurs on the Windows 7 Desktop and Explorer and is a mighty frustrating problem. You might notice icons or files/folders not automatically refreshing which has forced some people to hit F5 (refresh). The file and folder refresh problem doesn’t happen when Windows is rebooted every day. It only appears to be happening with us, when it is left in hiberation/standby mode for more than one day.

Here in the IDTP office we have found some simple work arounds:

Option 1

  • Close all Explorer windows you have open
  • Start the Task Manager (Click CTRL+ALT+DEL) or;
  • Click Start, TYPE ‘Task Manager’ in the search box
  • Click File > New Task (Run)
  • Type Explorer and then press ENTER
  • Close Task Manager

Option 2

  • Click Start, and TYPE ‘regedit’ in the search box
  • Click on Edit then Find
  • Search for “Dontrefresh”
  • Right click on “Dontrefresh” and click ‘Modify’
  • Change the Hexadecimal value from ’1′ to ’0′

Option 3

  • Launch TASK MANAGER – CTRL+SHIFT+ESC
  • In PROCESSES TAB right click and end EXPLORER.EXE process
  • From FILE menu of TASK MANAGER select New Task (Run…)
  • Type CMD.EXE and click OK
  • In the COMMAND PROMPT WINDOW copy and insert the following commands:

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

  • Open TASK MANAGER and select New Task (Run…)
  • Type EXPLORER.EXE and click ok

Microsoft doesn’t appear to have fixed this file and folder refresh issue which can also be found in Windows XP and Windows Vista. Maybe Windows 8 might come with the refresh issue fixed. :) For now, this problem is just that, an irritating problem, rather than anything malicious.

Safe surfing folks!
Julian

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48 Responses to Windows 7 file and folder refresh problem

  1. Dmitry says:

    Thanks a lot! I though this bug cannot be fixed! I even tried to find a solution at Microsoft web-site but useless. Once again, thanks, it works!

  2. Jeff says:

    Hey Julian thanks for your post. Any advice if the string: dontrefresh does not appear anywhere in the registry, Windows 7 64-bit?

    • Julian says:

      #Jeff# The “DontRefresh” string should appear in the Windows 7 64-bit registry. No doubt you have cut and paste “DontRefresh”. Can you registry search again >Edit >Find and check all the boxes. Let me know how you get on.

  3. Dragon20000 says:

    Option 2

    is not found >>> Dontrefresh
    What I Should do ???

  4. Pplucky says:

    I could automate option 3 by running a bat file with the following:

    taskkill /fi “imagename eq explorer.exe” /f
    CD /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local
    DEL IconCache.db /a
    START explorer.exe

    Hope it helps you as it did help me…

    • Julian says:

      #Pplucky# Thanks for the batch file script! For my non-techie visitors – Open notepad and save it as “.bat” at the end of your filename – so let’s call the file “Win7refresh.bat” (save to desktop) > add text “@echo off” and then copy and past the above commands.

      • lipe says:

        Hi, thanks a lot for the post, the strange thing is that in 3 years i never had this problem but i had the Q0V6 virus and i had to re-install windows 7 last week, so the refreshing problem came along =/, creating this bat file worked for me, until now at least, but should i leave the file on desktop or put it somewhere else? thank you!

        • Julian says:

          #lipe# You could place the .bat file in a TrueCrypt volume, if you are concerned a virus might look to compromise Windows refresh through the .bat file. Don’t forget to use a password manager and long/strong passkey for your volume. :)

  5. Giri says:

    Thanks a lot. The options 3 worked for me.

  6. Nick says:

    Hi,

    I tried every possible way to type “DontRefresh”, it never shows in the registry. Any advice?

    • Julian says:

      #Nick# The “DontRefresh” DWORD registry entry doesn’t always appear – I don’t know why either :(. The exact number of registry keys and their specific handles will also vary with each Windows 7 installation which makes individual diagnosis even more challenging. Have you tried OPTION 3?

  7. Steve says:

    Options 1-3 failed to fix. Company IT staff stumped too. Maybe a fix in Windows 8!? Or maybe not… Maybe I’ll just get a Mac.

    • Julian says:

      #Steve# I’ve retested options 1-3 and it does appear the file and folder refresh issue reappears after a period of time – in particular if you have your PC system in hibernation mode. Option 3 does work for a time though. I’m running Windows 7 on a Mac with Parallels and I’ve not seen this issue which baffles me. I’m hopeful this irritating Windows bug will be fixed for good in Windows 8 too!

  8. Steve says:

    Julian,

    I think I may have a different problem altogether. It seems to be isolated to the refresh on deletions only. Thanks for the reply.

  9. Eugene Y says:

    Using Win 7 64bit

    Got to %userprofile%\AppData\Local
    and delete IconCachedb.dat file.

    Then restarted explorer.exe.

    Thanks Julian!

  10. e1218006 says:

    Setting DontRefresh to 0 does solve the refresh icon issue for me, but it had an undesirable side-effect on my Win7x64 PC. Browsing folders in Windows Explorer was noticeably slower, to the point that I was ready to do a complete re-install of Windows… good thing I remembered I changed DontRefresh a couple of months ago. After changing back to 1, the folder browsing performance was back to normal.

    I can live with having to constantly hit F5 to refresh (we have to live with so many Windows bugs anyway), but I couldn’t deal with the performance degradation that this change caused.

    • Julian says:

      #e1218006# I hadn’t noticed a performance degradation with Win7 x64bit, but thanks for pointing this out for the benefit of our Win7 x64bit readers. :)

  11. Nico says:

    Hi,
    We have the same problem here and suspect either an update on Windows or on our File Server (EMC NAS in SMB mode, not a Windows Box).
    Do you guys also have a file server not on a real Windows Server ?
    Try to root cause the issue.
    If it is a Windows update, it may be one of the June update following the Posts seen all around, without solution yet ;-)

  12. Hal says:

    Option 2 worked perfectly for me. Thanks for the tip, as it’s going to save me so much time.

    One thing to note is that when I first got into regedit, it had a subfolder selected from the last time I was in there. Dontrefresh didn’t show up in search results until I went to the top of the hierarchy, selected “My Computer”, then executed the search. I’m not sure if that’s the reason some of the others haven’t been able to find it.

  13. coleman says:

    2 & 3 combo worked… Thx.

  14. Xander says:

    None worked for me.

    While trying the options and deleting files i deleted s file that i needed.

    After I restored it from the recycling bin, it diapered from there. went into the folder deleted another file and auto update worked. Reboot and its still working.

    So for anyone that the above don’t work try this.

    1. Delete a File
    2. Close Explorer
    3. Go into Recycling Bin though you desktop
    4. Restore the file then go into any folder and delete or move any file and auto update should work. That’s how my explorer got fixed.

    Its been ok now for 1week.

  15. Joseph Young says:

    The bug exist in Windows Server Data Center 2012. It showed up after 2-3 days of having the operating system installed. I have Outlook 2010 x64 also installed and some other applications. It certainly started to occur around the time I started to install Outlook 2010 x64 and the rest of my productivity applications. I wish this were not the case, but I think it was either update related or is specific to Outlook 2010 x64 which is buggy as all hell possibly.

    • Julian says:

      #Joseph Young# Thanks for sharing with our visitors that the Windows refresh problem is also applicable to Windows Server Data Center 2012. :)

  16. Suhas says:

    Thanks I tried 3 and work
    3 option and batch file is good…….
    side by side delete all desktop.in files also on desktop

    change setting in network = open network and sharing center
    click = change advanced sharing setting
    under Home or Work = select turn off network discovery

    its also work…

  17. Michael says:

    I’ve tried all 3 and none work for me! I have Windows 7 32-bit on a Dell Dimension – yes, old I know, but I’ve been running this set-up unchanged since Windows 7 was released and, until last week, have NEVER had this problem. I re-install regularly from an image taken a year ago and I KNOW it works without error! So, what on earth could have changed? Why after 3 plus years has it only just appeared? It can’t be a Microsoft update… I even tried installing with my broadband OFF just in case it was downloading updated installation files… still the same! I am BAFFLED!
    Mike

    • Julian says:

      #Michael# It is a known bug with Windows 7 (affects both 32 & 64 bit versions) – hence this post. I’ve not been able to confirm a code bug fix from Microsoft nor have I been able to confirm whether it has been fixed in Windows 8. :(

  18. ZK says:

    In the folder window (left side), right click on “Documents” icon under “Libraries”. Then select “General Items” in the pull down menu under “Optimize this library for”.

    Same can be repeated for other libraries e.g. “Music”, “Videos”,…

  19. Thomas Hamstrup says:

    Hi
    Allthough I have the Explorer problem, that is not the worst problem, because it can be solved with a refresh(F5).

    I have a program that copy files/folders from one location to another.
    Before the copy, the program checks if the destination folder contains any files. If so, the user can choose to delete the all content in the destination folder. If the user decides to delete the content,the following happens:

    1) all files in the destination root are deleted.
    2) all files in destination folders are deleted.
    3) all destination folders are left empty and inaccessible.

    If you halt the program at this point and open WindowsExplorer, you will see the empty folders. As soon as the program ends, the folders disappear in WindowsExplorer.

    This situation would present a big problem, if the copy that follows the delete contains one or more of the folder names that were just deleted. The copy would simply fail!

    I have noticed the WindowsExplorer refresh problem since Windows 7, but only recently (now on Windows 8) I wrote the above program, which in my opinion shows that the problem is more than a WindowsExplorer problem.

    Regards
    Thomas

  20. Tip says:

    Thank you very much Julian. I tried all 3 options and option seemed to work. I will keep monitoring it.
    This problem just happened to me a week ago and it’s really disturbing!

  21. Tip says:

    Hi Julian,

    I would like to ask you one more question. After installing this Windows 7, my pc take time such a long time to switch off. I used to have XP and i didn’t have this problem at all. Many times i have to press the button to turn it off.

    Can you give me some advice?

    Thank you so much in advance.

    Tip

  22. Q says:

    Thanks, a lot. Option 1 & 3 fixed the problem for me.

  23. Rajeev says:

    Hi Julian sir,
    I would like to ask you one question. After start my laptop (installed Window 7), Last folder or file always selected. When i select another folder or file, cursor on worked.

    Can you give me some advice?

    Thanks
    Rajeev

  24. Pavlo says:

    Thank U mr. Evans! Problem resolved on my notebook!
    Your post it’s that, what I exactly need!

  25. Max Pang says:

    Option 3 worked for me! thanks!!

    Searched whole day for a solution and tried many others that didnt work…

    Thanks so much!!

  26. jogama says:

    I had SugarSync installed. I uninstalled it and it fixed it. SugarSync was the culprit.

  27. sam spade says:

    When I delete a picture (*.jpeg) the icon remains in the file folder. If I were to click on this icon, I’m told ‘file doesn’t exist’ because in actuality it is in the recycle bin. If I ‘F5’ refresh the page, the icon disappears. This is a new problem for me, in the past the icon has disappeared when I deleted the file. I’m running windows 7, 64 bit. I’ve tried options 1, 2 and 3 with no success. Thanks for any input.

    • Julian says:

      #sam spade# I’m experiencing the same problem with Windows 7 but not Windows 8. I’ve spent some time running various tests and speaking with Microsoft technicians and it appears it is a known bug. I’ve no idea when Microsoft plan to fix this. Frustrating, as you will have to reboot your computer everytime the file and folder problem reappears. :(

  28. Bret says:

    None of the options have worked for me. My situation is a bit strange.
    I can delete from any folder and they will update immediately excluding the Documents\Scanned Documents folder. The really strange this is that it is limited to files. If I delete a folder, it will update immediately. And, of all strangeness, sometimes, not always, 1 file will delete if dragged to the trash can. If I right click, it won’t refresh. Once a file has been dragged to the trash can then the folder will not refesh. All other folders except for the Scanned Documents folder work correctly. This one folder really acts strange.

  29. navidali says:

    thanks really !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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