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Context menu remains on top of windows

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Friday, November 20 2009, 21:35
In Windows XP and Vista, a selected item from a context menu will occasionally remain on-screen, lingering on top of other applications and obstructing your view.
Perpetual context menu on Vista
On two separate Vista machines I can consistently reproduce the problem by crashing Google Chrome, but other than that, it's difficult to say why this tends to happen.

Temporarily fixing the phenomenon on Vista

  1. Open Windows' Services window from the Control Panel's Administrative Tools, or by entering services.msc into the Run dialog.
  2. Locate "Desktop Window Manager Session Manager" and click Restart. Your screen will flicker twice and the overlay should disappear.
If you want to run the above via the command line instead, simply enter these two commands into a command prompt with administrator privileges:
net stop uxsms
net start uxsms

Preventing the problem in the future

By altering Windows' performance settings, you can disable the root cause of the problem: fading-out of context menus. This takes a little away from the visual experience of Vista, but if you are consistently being bothered by the perpetual "hovering context menu", here's a solution.
  1. Open the Windows' System window, and select "Advanced system settings" from the panel on the left.
  2. Under the Advanced tab, click Settings... in the Performance frame.
  3. In the list of Visual Effects, locate "Fade out menu items after clicking" and uncheck it.
Disabling context menu fade-out on Vista
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