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Why are there tiny symbols appearing on my desktop?

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Hello all -

When I boot up and begin my usual heavy daily research use of Firefox (Ver. 53.0), my HP laptop desktop (Windows 7) will start getting littered with two different kinds of symbols, both very tiny: compass point stars and vertical bars. I have attached to screen-grab jpgs for you to see what they look like.

I PROMISE you that I have done due diligence with any combination of reasonable key-wording I can think of to find a common story on this issue posted by some other user or by a computing specialist but...nothing.

The pace of accumulation of these tiny symbols is crazy-making within an hour I will have at least two, then more. They cannot be moved by use of my pointer, they cannot be deleted except by powering down the laptop and rebooting. With lots of open pages and client work out on the desktop, this gets old!

Does ANYONE out there is Magical Mozilla Land recognize (a) what these little guys are and (b) what causes them to appear. A cure will surely follow! ;)

Deborah/Minnesota USA

Hello all - When I boot up and begin my usual heavy daily research use of Firefox (Ver. 53.0), my HP laptop desktop (Windows 7) will start getting littered with two different kinds of symbols, both very tiny: compass point stars and vertical bars. I have attached to screen-grab jpgs for you to see what they look like. I PROMISE you that I have done due diligence with any combination of reasonable key-wording I can think of to find a common story on this issue posted by some other user or by a computing specialist but...nothing. The pace of accumulation of these tiny symbols is crazy-making within an hour I will have at least two, then more. They cannot be moved by use of my pointer, they cannot be deleted except by powering down the laptop and rebooting. With lots of open pages and client work out on the desktop, this gets old! Does ANYONE out there is Magical Mozilla Land recognize (a) what these little guys are and (b) what causes them to appear. A cure will surely follow! ;) Deborah/Minnesota USA
Attached screenshots

Chosen solution

I suspect an incompatibility with your graphics card/chipset driver software. Otherwise, anything Firefox writes to the screen should stay in the Firefox window and not bleed through to the desktop.

Could you test in Firefox's Safe Mode? In Safe Mode, Firefox temporarily deactivates extensions, hardware acceleration, and some other advanced features to help you assess whether these are causing the problem.

If Firefox is not running: Hold down the Shift key when starting Firefox.

If Firefox is running: You can restart Firefox in Safe Mode using either:

  • "3-bar" menu button > "?" button > Restart with Add-ons Disabled
  • Help menu > Restart with Add-ons Disabled

and OK the restart.

Both scenarios: A small dialog should appear. Click "Start in Safe Mode" (not Refresh).

Any improvement? (More info: Troubleshoot Firefox issues using Safe Mode)

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Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Shockwave Flash 25.0 r0

Application

  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; rv:53.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/53.0

More Information

jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
6434 solutions 52693 answers

Chosen Solution

I suspect an incompatibility with your graphics card/chipset driver software. Otherwise, anything Firefox writes to the screen should stay in the Firefox window and not bleed through to the desktop.

Could you test in Firefox's Safe Mode? In Safe Mode, Firefox temporarily deactivates extensions, hardware acceleration, and some other advanced features to help you assess whether these are causing the problem.

If Firefox is not running: Hold down the Shift key when starting Firefox.

If Firefox is running: You can restart Firefox in Safe Mode using either:

  • "3-bar" menu button > "?" button > Restart with Add-ons Disabled
  • Help menu > Restart with Add-ons Disabled

and OK the restart.

Both scenarios: A small dialog should appear. Click "Start in Safe Mode" (not Refresh).

Any improvement? (More info: Troubleshoot Firefox issues using Safe Mode)

I suspect an incompatibility with your graphics card/chipset driver software. Otherwise, anything Firefox writes to the screen should stay in the Firefox window and not bleed through to the desktop. Could you test in Firefox's Safe Mode? In Safe Mode, Firefox temporarily deactivates extensions, hardware acceleration, and some other advanced features to help you assess whether these are causing the problem. ''If Firefox is not running:'' Hold down the Shift key when starting Firefox. ''If Firefox is running:'' You can restart Firefox in Safe Mode using either: * "3-bar" menu button > "?" button > Restart with Add-ons Disabled * Help menu > Restart with Add-ons Disabled and OK the restart. ''Both scenarios:'' A small dialog should appear. Click "Start in Safe Mode" (''not'' Refresh). Any improvement? (More info: [[Troubleshoot Firefox issues using Safe Mode]])
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Question owner

Bless your heart! I'm off to test your suggestions and will be back shortly. :)

Bless your heart! I'm off to test your suggestions and will be back shortly. :)
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cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
15462 solutions 140015 answers

Note that you can possibly use the Windows Task Manager to close and restart the explorer.exe process to rebuild the desktop.

Note that you can possibly use the Windows Task Manager to close and restart the explorer.exe process to rebuild the desktop.
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Question owner

Getting back to you, jscher2000, as promised. I powered down the laptop at 9pm CST yesterday evening and rebooted in non-refresh SAFE mode as recommended. I then let the system run in SAFE mode while I worked for a few hours, let the system sleep through the night without rebooting and woke to find the desktop populated with the expected application and document icons and nothing more. Excellent!

As of 9:45am this morning I have rebooted to standard processing format and will wait through the morning to see what develops. Back to you later, with thanks for your patience...

Getting back to you, jscher2000, as promised. I powered down the laptop at 9pm CST yesterday evening and rebooted in non-refresh SAFE mode as recommended. I then let the system run in SAFE mode while I worked for a few hours, let the system sleep through the night without rebooting and woke to find the desktop populated with the expected application and document icons and '''nothing more'''. Excellent! As of 9:45am this morning I have rebooted to standard processing format and will wait through the morning to see what develops. Back to you later, with thanks for your patience...
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Question owner

Okaaaay....calling jscher2000 & Colleagues! We have an event!

Just a minute ago while pasting and posting in Facebook, the page went wobbily crazy, shrank then expanded then shrank again, and during this event planted three compass point stars across my desktop (please see jpg images posted yesterday evening). I have noted that, when my pointer is hovered over these tiny symbols, the "system working" icon appears as if I am trying to bring in data, but there is no activity at any time, just the running icon.

I would welcome your thoughts on this event. I'm fairly sure that FB is not at the root of the problem but, as smart as I am on computers, I'm pretty dim on many issues of importance so I am entirely open to your advice.

Deborah

Okaaaay....calling jscher2000 & Colleagues! We have an event! Just a minute ago while pasting and posting in Facebook, the page went ''wobbily'' ''crazy'', shrank then expanded then shrank again, and during this event planted three compass point stars across my desktop (please see jpg images posted yesterday evening). I have noted that, when my pointer is hovered over these tiny symbols, the "system working" icon appears as if I am trying to bring in data, but there is no activity at any time, just the running icon. I would welcome your thoughts on this event. I'm fairly sure that FB is not at the root of the problem but, as smart as I am on computers, I'm pretty dim on many issues of importance so I am entirely open to your advice. Deborah

Modified by dmorsekahn

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Update: 7:30pm Thursday eve:

Facebook has not been - and is not now - opened, but just now there is a new compass star symbol on the desktop. Would have liked to point the finger at Facebook as the villain.

Still hoping for feedback as to cause.

jscher2000, you wrote "I suspect an incompatibility with your graphics card/chipset driver software." Could you please direct me in a way/ways to examine that possibility? Many thanks.

Update: 7:30pm Thursday eve: Facebook has not been - and is not now - opened, but just now there is a new compass star symbol on the desktop. Would have liked to point the finger at Facebook as the villain. Still hoping for feedback as to cause. jscher2000, you wrote "I suspect an incompatibility with your graphics card/chipset driver software." Could you please direct me in a way/ways to examine that possibility? Many thanks.
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FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
3085 solutions 41744 answers

https://support.mozilla.org/kb/Clear+Recent+History#w_how-do-i-remove-a-single-website-from-my-history

Remove History For One Site

Open the History Manager <Control><Shift> H. In the search bar, enter the name of the site. Right-click on one of the listings and select Forget About This Site. This should remove all information, including any passwords / settings.

https://support.mozilla.org/kb/Clear+Recent+History#w_how-do-i-remove-a-single-website-from-my-history Remove History For One Site Open the History Manager '''<Control><Shift> H.''' In the search bar, enter the name of the site. Right-click on one of the listings and select '''Forget About This Site.''' This should remove all information, including any passwords / settings.
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Question owner

FredMcD, perhaps your information was intended for a different forum participant? Or, help me understand what you are addressing in your action outline...? Thank you!

FredMcD, perhaps your information was intended for a different forum participant? Or, help me understand what you are addressing in your action outline...? Thank you!
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cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
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15462 solutions 140015 answers

If this is a collapsed Firefox (pop-up) window then you could try to see if Alt+Tab shows this window.

If this is a collapsed Firefox (pop-up) window then you could try to see if Alt+Tab shows this window.
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Question owner

Forgive me, please, I am not understanding any of this information as it might relate to my posted issue.

Not a big emergency, I can live with these little bits appearing on my desktop!

Thank you everyone for your time.

Forgive me, please, I am not understanding any of this information as it might relate to my posted issue. Not a big emergency, I can live with these little bits appearing on my desktop! Thank you everyone for your time.
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cor-el
  • Top 10 Contributor
  • Moderator
15462 solutions 140015 answers

What you see on the desktop might be a window with dimensions that makes it so small that you do not see any content (i.e. this window is almost completely collapsed).

What you see on the desktop might be a window with dimensions that makes it so small that you do not see any content (i.e. this window is almost completely collapsed).
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FredMcD
  • Top 10 Contributor
3085 solutions 41744 answers

dmorsekahn said

FredMcD, perhaps your information was intended for a different forum participant? Or, help me understand what you are addressing in your action outline...? Thank you!

Assuming that something from Facebook is the problem, this may remove the problem.

''dmorsekahn [[#answer-969660|said]]'' <blockquote> FredMcD, perhaps your information was intended for a different forum participant? Or, help me understand what you are addressing in your action outline...? Thank you! </blockquote> Assuming that something from Facebook is the problem, this may remove the problem.
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