Windows 7 – Fix the explorer not auto-refreshing bug

One of the most irritating bug still present in Windows 7 is explorer not auto-refreshing when creating a new folder or copying/moving/renaming a file. The apparent cause to this problem is when you map network drives in My Computer. Turns out the fix is quite simple (or at least it worked for me):

1) Open My Computer and click Organize > Folder and Search Options

2) Under the View tab, uncheck the Hide protected operating system files (recommended) option.

3) On your desktop, you should now see 1 or more Desktop.ini files. Delete all of them (no, it won’t break your system, they are auto-generated).

4) Reboot your computer. Problem solved!

Note: I still get the bug when copying or moving files from a network drive but anything done locally on the computer seems to work again.
You might want to re-check that setting in Folder and Search Options once you’re done.

  • sup

    Works initially but problem reappears after reboot despite all desktop.ini files being deleted.

  • bte

    This solved the problem for me. Thanks a lot for the fix.

  • http://www.fishnet.co.nz Ted Howard

    Has been 2 days, and is still working fine.
    Thank you.
    That bug had been causing me real strife.

    Have started applying it to client sites – seems to be working for them too.

  • diliana

    Didn’t work for me. No Desktop.ini files appeared on desktop.

  • Jimmy Beam

    worked like a charm

  • jeremiah

    anywebsite i think on the regeulur desktop i hit refresh to many times now not only the desktop flashes but all the websites flashes as well how can i fix this problem

  • habibalex

    didn’t work for me. this is so annoying.

  • chrisuae

    This seems to be caused by Windows trying to access a drive resource that it can’t find. Windows Explorer is actually working ok, but it’s very slow to refresh while it tries to find the disconnected resource. Your window will update without hitting refresh, but it will take a very long time.

    Deleting the Desktop.ini file will only solve the problem if it is referencing one of these disconnected resources.

    If you have anything that adds a drive letter (eg: CD clone software) or any disconnected network drives, try disabling them. That worked for me.

    • Stefan

      Thank you. Daemon tools was referencing an ISO when the program was closed… unmounted ISO and desktop refresh is now fine. RDP was broken too which is now fixed.

    • Markus Fischer

      Excellent hint – thanks! I was trying a number of solutions, including editing the registry etc. After reading your post, I checked for missing / unavailable resources. Turned out I had an unreadable CD-ROM in my CD drive. Once I ejected it, Windows Explorer refreshed just fine.

    • Tom Miller

      No it’s not! It is trying to appear FAST when in fact it is just not reading the drive at all. It is a lie and causes no end of problems.

    • whyjoe

      chisuae solved the problem for me, too. In my case, it was a network share added to My Computer that was the problem. The share isn’t always available; when it’s disconnected, Explorer fails to refresh until after a long delay, just like he said. Removing the share from My Computer fixed it right off! The solution in this particular case: just map a drive. When the network resources is unavailable, Windows seems to mark the drive as such and stops trying to refresh it until it’s back.

      • robinottawa

        You had me until “fixed it right off!”. The next part seems counterintuitive to what you said first. Do you want all non-connected network shares removed or not? I’ll try removing mine…..

        • whyjoe

          Its the difference between directly adding the network share to My Computer (via the “Add a Network Location” tool), or mapping a drive to the share (via the “Map a Network Drive” tool.) The former method is the one with the bug, where Explorer just keeps polling the resource, even when unavailable. On the other hand, if you Map a Drive to the share instead, Windows will notice when the share becomes unavailable and mark the drive as “disconnected.” After that, it won’t keep polling the drive every time Explorer refreshes. The tradeoff is the Windows won’t automatically detect when the share becomes available again. It’ll say “disconnected” until you successfully to open it again.

    • Toren

      Thanks. Useful tip :) Helped for me!

  • philgp

    Didn’t work at all.

  • falhart

    I believe this article will lead you to the right solution. Basically disabling SMB2 on the server solves this issue. The article references the second link.
    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itprogeneral/thread/947489ae-dc86-45f0-ad5e-463a62e1d59f
    http://laslow.net/2011/01/31/server-2008-r2-and-windows-7-client-smb2-share-refresh-issue/

  • Quatro04

    Worked for me. I found two desktop.ini and I delete the older one. After that, the response time of creating a folder, renaming or deleting a file is back to normal. Thanks!

    • Quatro04

      Hmmm… weird but the solution only works for a few minutes but reverted back to the delay…

    • robinottawa

      Me too. Two ini’s and after deleting one, all is well. And I will keep an eye on my desktop if it happens again, to see if I have 2 ini’s again.

  • Brian

    It started happening as soon as I linked a folder in an external HDD to a music library. Problem solved after unlinking it. Hope this helps.

  • b444lllzz@zzz.com

    I hate it, why suddenly this issue started to appear

  • http://www.echteinfach.tv/ Echt Einfach TV

    Try this registry change, it might solve your problem:

    1. Open Registry Editor by typing into Start > regedit.exe (or open directly in C:Windowsregedit.exe)
    2. Hit Ctrl+F for the search dialog, type “DontRefresh”, hit Enter
    3. After waiting a couple of seconds, the search finds one result: “DontRefresh | REG_DWORD | 0x00000001 (1)”
    4. Double click on DontRefresh and change 1 to 0.
    5. Done! This should solve your problem.

    You maybe have to reboot your PC afterwards.

    Really hope this helps! Let us know :)

    • Bill Werner

      Not specific enough…have dozens of references to “DontRefresh” in my registry….most seem browser related.

  • j3ss4ndr4

    First of all, there *isn’t* a “My Computer” in Windows 7 … secondly, I do not have a desktop.ini on my desktop… so no go. The ini file has nothing to do with it, what fixes it is the reboot. I’ve already found that to be a “fix,” but unfortunately something keeps occurring to make it happen again randomly. Probably what other people are saying about a network resource actually–I have a laptop on my network that I hibernate occasionally; even though it looks fine and dandy under Network, it must be this that is causing the problem.

  • j3ss4ndr4

    Did more searching, found another thread that has something that helped:

    1. Close all open folders
    2. Use Task Manager to end all of the explorer.exe processes that are left open due to an ooooold Microsoft bug
    3. Start a new process: File > New Task (Run…) > type explorer.exe

    This worked on my pc WITHOUT requiring a reboot. No idea how long it’ll last, but at least I didn’t have to reboot! (This is, incidentally, the only reason the “fix” on this page worked—the reboot process killed all of those bugged out explorer.exe processes!)