Thursday 21 August 2008

Internet Explorer 7 menubar flickering problem

image Recently, due to my heavy use of Windows XP (I’m trying to brush up on my programming skills to get ready for 2008-2009 academic school year) I noticed that the menubar in IE 7 kept appearing and disappearing. More importantly this happened every time I opened a new tab, new window and when I refreshed window. The fact of the matter is, the menubar should only open if the ALT key is pressed, and otherwise should remain hidden. I’m pretty sure that most people (who use IE as their primary browser) will not get annoyed by the constant opening and closing of their menubar whenever they open a new tab and so on. However, I on the other hand get seriously annoyed when such ‘bugs’ exist, just like the blinking cursor problem in Firefox.

I also noticed this behaviour in other Microsoft applications such as Windows Media Player 11, when the menu would automatically pop-up when I switched to the media player window, without me having to press the ALT key. Clearly, there was some part of the operating system or the application somehow automatically pressing the ALT key.

After furiously searching the interwebs, with my faithful squire Sancho Google, I finally stumbled across a rather long, yet helpful article (IE 7 release notes) that explained why this happens.

As it turns out, when you install Microsoft Office in its entirety it also installs certain tools such as the On-Screen Keyboard and Handwriting Recognition. Now, the On-Screen keyboard somehow automatically presses the Alt key when a new window/tab is opened. Why exactly it does that I do not know, however removing it fixes the problem where the IE 7/Windows Media player menus quickly expand and collapse. So in order to do that follow the below instructions (these were copied and pasted directly from the MSFT IE 7 release notes website).

Fix the Internet Explorer 7 (and other Windows Applications) random menus opening and closing problem:

To work around this problem, disable the On-Screen Keyboard component of the Handwriting Recognition Service:

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click Regional and Language Options.
  3. Click the Languages tab.
  4. Click the Details button.
  5. Under Handwriting Recognition select On-Screen Standard Keyboard.
  6. Click Remove.
  7. Under Handwriting Recognition select On-Screen Symbol Keyboard.
  8. Click Remove.
  9. Click OK twice to save and exit changes.
  10. Restart Internet Explorer 7.

Viola, no more super annoying menubar flickering problem.

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  1. There is no Handwriting Recognition , what can I do ?

  2. What about
    Start-run-regedit-Current_User-Software-Microsoft-InternetExplorer-ToolBar-WebBrowser. RightPane-rightclick-new-DWORD-Named it ITBAR7Position-then rightclick-modify-1.

  3. Hello Deyamag,

    If you're not seeing the Handwriting Recognition tab, then the problem you're experiencing might be different. Does your menubar pop-up everytime you open a new tab? Or are you pressing something on your keyboard for that to happen. Also, what operating system are you using? Things might be different in Vista (or for Office 2007). I on the other hand was using Windows XP with Office 2003 installed.

    Anyway, try searching for On-Screen keyboard, perhaps it doesn't necessarily have to be under handwriting recognition?

    Hope this help! Let me know.

  4. Hello again Deyamag,

    The registry hack you've posted only changes the position of the menubar, and it does not actually stop any flickering problems as far as I know. It could work for you, but I highly doubt it, so don't waste your time with it. There must be something on you're system that somehow presses the Alt key, and that's what we need to target to stop the menubar from opening and closing.

    Hope this help!

  5. Thank you very much... I have been bugged by this problem for a long time. Now it works perfectly. No more menu flickering issue.... :)

  6. I'm glad I could help. The IE menu opening and closing was a pain... an eyesore that I couldn't get rid of until I figured out how to get rid of it once in for all.

  7. Thank you so much for posting this. This fixed my flickering issue! Could not find a fix anywhere until I came across this. Thanks again!