On multiple systems that I work on whether it be at work, home or on my personal laptop Windows 7 has plagued me with this same bug.  The Desktop or Windows Explorer will stop automatically refreshing itself when changes are made to its contents or files. Examples would include creating a folders/files, copy and pasting, or even the download of files from the internet. Now I thought just like any normal user ok, I will just manually refresh the window/desktop as a temporary fix for this issue however I have found that as the issue progresses the system has now PERMANENTLY stopped auto refreshing and it really annoys the shit out of me. After hours of scouring the internet you will find various Microsoft help forum solutions which are little to no help either blaming third party software or a corrupt system file.

*I didnt know that there was such a thing as a Support “Engineer”; either way the title and response made me chuckle. [source]

While it is easy to just format the whole system and start fresh; it is a little overboard don’t you think? Well I have recently found myself annoyed to the point of contemplating the reformat but luckily I have found the solution there are several to try as the bug maybe different depending on the system. Apparently this “bug” which Microsoft has failed to fix has also manifested itself in other versions of windows including Windows 7, Windows 8 and the latest Windows 8.1. (kind of sloppy on Microsoft’s part don you think?) Without further ado here are the solutions:


Open up Windows Explorer and navigate to Organize > Folder and search options.

Once in Folder Options switch to the “Search” tab then click on “Restore Defaults” and then “Apply”. You should now be able to test if your Windows Explorer/Desktop now auto refreshes.

note: bug may resurface if it does just redo the above steps to recreate the fix. 



Open Registry Editor and navigate to the following registry key:


Here right-click and search for dontrefresh. If you find it, and if it has a value set to 1, change its value to 0. If you do not see it, create it and give it a value 0.

note: if this does not work or value has already been set to zero I have also provided alternative solutions as well you may try. (see below)



  1. Use ShellExView from Nirsoft and disable third-party shell extensions which may be obstructing the smooth functioning of Windows Explorer. This may be a trial-and-error method
  2. Restore the default Explorer Settings. To do so, open Folder Options and under the General tab, press Restore Defaults. Click Apply and Exit.
  3. Some have found that deleting the thumbnail cache and/or rebuilding the icon cache has helped them resolve the issue



Microsoft has released some hot fixes to resolve such issues, apparently this issue goes way back even to Windows XP, you can download the appropriate fixes below.

WINDOWS VISTA/2008 – [KB960954]

WINDOWS XP – [KB823291]

*funny how Microsoft released hot fixes for operating systems way after the products end of life lol.