Windows 7: Screen Does Not Refresh

I had a problem related to the display.  If the computer (more precisely, the hard drive or possibly RAM) was really busy, the screen would not refresh.  For example, when I was writing these words, I had several disk-intensive (file copying) processes underway.  Moo0 System Monitor was reporting only 37% CPU usage, but RAM usage of 10.3GB (leaving 1.64GB free) and 100% usage of one of the two hard drives; and in these conditions I was getting a display that would leave big chunks of unrefreshed space, as shown in this example:

xVideo Card Leaves White Space 2

In that image, the oval highlights an empty white space where nothing at all was filled in.  Also, the dialog below the oval was from an operation that finished an hour earlier, and the alternating white and tan bars at right were likewise from a program that had closed some time previously.  The system was just not getting around to redrawing the screen to clean up these leftovers and represent what was currently happening.

To address this problem, I tinkered with various possibilities.  Some of them may have achieved at least a temporary solution.  One was to click on the Show Desktop button at the far right end of the taskbar, and then click it again to come back to the opened windows.  Another was, as noted above, to run Moo0:  I didn’t notice any immediate effect in this case, but it had proved useful for resolving a sticky Shift key problem:  just calling up Moo0 and then minimizing it again somehow provided a temporary fix for that.

There was another suggested solution.  This one called for going to Start > Run > services.msc > find Windows Management Instrumentation > right-click > Start (if it’s not already running) and also right-click > Properties > Startup Type > Automatic.  This didn’t work for me:  mine was already started and set to Automatic.

There was a somewhat random suggestion for several additional registry edits, in the same thread cited above; but comments following that suggestion raised doubts about their relevance and safety, so I didn’t go there.  There were also some other suggestions there, like closing all open Windows Explorer sessions (or perhaps just killing explorer.exe in Start > Run > taskmgr.exe > Processes tab, and then restarting it, from within that same Task Manager, via File > New Task (Run…)).  But, again, I didn’t try those at this point.

Another thing that may have made a difference, though it wasn’t supposed to have any effect until after I rebooted the system:  a random tip led to a search that prompted me to undertake a registry edit that, in the future, I believed I could achieve by running a Notepad file called ScreenUpdateMode.reg, containing these three lines:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Update] “UpdateMode”=dword:00000000

Or at least those were the lines exported from Regedit after I created that Update registry key and set its value to 0, as shown.  But, as I say, the reports were that that would only work after the reboot, which I hadn’t yet done.

In any case, I did notice a screen cleanup and a renewed responsiveness, shortly after this initial tinkering, and that was a change after some time of screwing around without accomplishing anything.  So my impression at this point was that one of the foregoing actions must have made some difference.  Afterwards, I came across a thread where someone advised going into Start > Run > SystemPropertiesAdvanced.exe > Performance Settings button > Uncheck “Fade out meu items after clicking” and also optionally uncheck Fade or Slide menus (also tooltips) into view.”  I didn’t have a chance to test those at this point, however.

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