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The bug that almost drove me mad, and it's not my bug

No bug in Windows (XP and 2003) has annoyed me more than the one I just learned how to get rid of.

For no discernible reason, while using the Windows Explorer the treeview on the left would just go bananas and display multiple Desktop icons. As seen in the following image. The additional Desktop icons sometimes had other Desktop as children. A recursive bug, nice.

I had been experiencing this bug for many years in both XP and 2003. The most frustrating part of it was that anyone seemed to have seen similar bug on their boxes. I had that problem in every single XP or 2003 boxes I had ever had. Including virtual machines. That led me to believe it must have been caused by some software that I use on all boxes. Nope. Keep reading.

After years of internet searching for people with similar problem, posting to message boards, and almost scheduling an appointment with a shrink, today I found this thread with other poor souls suffering of the same pain.

Without further ado, I present you the culprit.

Yes, my friends. The seemingly innocuous and handy Desktop taskbar toolbar has been that thorn, that little and continuous disturbance that contributed to loss of precious hours of my working and leisure time (when computing all the times it happened in the last 6+ years I've been on Windows XP). Removing that toolbar from my taskbar made the problem go away. I have the same toolbar on my Vista and 2008 taskbars and have yet to see that problem there.

Apparently an abysmal fraction of Windows users care for that toolbar so nobody cared to report the bug. That or everybody else was aware of that bug and skipped the toolbar altogether. In either case, poor me :)

Today I'm glad to cross out that problem from my infinite list of things to figure out some day. I can still get a working Desktop toolbar by adding a new toolbar that points to the Desktop directory in my user profile directory. It does not combine with All users but it's good enough for how I use it.

Posted 09-22-2008 9:27 PM by sergiopereira
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Steve E wrote re: The bug that almost drove me mad, and it's not my bug
on 09-22-2008 11:22 PM

That's rather strange.  I've never once encountered that bug and that's one of the first toolbars I add to my profile when starting from scratch every time.  Then again I also uncheck the title and text boxes for the toolbar, and beyond rarely used the tree view when navigating folders.  Maybe that's why it's been such a rare bug.

You've become the 0.0001% of users that all of us developers hate..."Well if I do this, then this, then enable that, and click this so many times everything just breaks." :)

sergiopereira wrote re: The bug that almost drove me mad, and it's not my bug
on 09-22-2008 11:34 PM


Are you referring to the Desktop Search toolbar or something? I'm just using the regular, simple, plain Desktop toolbar that only pops-up a list of the items/shortcuts placed on your desktop area.

Kyle Baley wrote re: The bug that almost drove me mad, and it's not my bug
on 09-23-2008 6:40 AM

Yeah, that always bugged me on XP as well. I got so used to it over the years that I didn't even notice that it wasn't happening in Server 2008. I knew it was the Desktop toolbar causing it but the annoyance of multiple "desktop"s in Explorer wasn't enough for me to stop doing it. Kind of odd that there was never a patch for it (

Arjan`s World » LINKBLOG for September 23, 2008 wrote Arjan`s World » LINKBLOG for September 23, 2008
on 09-23-2008 10:11 AM

Pingback from  Arjan`s World    » LINKBLOG for September 23, 2008

F3rland wrote re: The bug that almost drove me mad, and it's not my bug
on 09-24-2008 1:56 PM

Wow!!! finally!!

Thank you for the hint dude!!

I'll see if that work in a couple of days.. ;)

That was pis*ing me off since a while. Many times a day!