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Sometimes, even with troubleshooting knowledge, a problem pops up in Windows that you just don’t how how to diagnose. Recently, many users have reported an instantaneous pop-up flashing on their screen. Because it happens so fast, it’s basically impossible to see what’s causing it.
But we’ve determined the cause. A friend of mine used a screen recorder to capture the brief pop-up. It looks like this:
If you can’t tell from the screenshot, this is a Command Prompt window running for a process called OfficeBackgroundTaskHandler. Microsoft has confirmed that this is a bug and has fixed it in the latest releases of Windows. It seems that mainly Windows Insiders were affected.
But if you’re seeing this pop-up too, here’s what you can do to stop it.
First, make sure Windows is updated. Type update into the Start Menu and click Check for updates. Make sure Windows doesn’t find anything new to install here.
Next, update your copy of Office. Open any Office app, like Word or Excel, and open the File menu. Under the Account tab, click the Update Options box and choose Update Now to make sure you’re updated.
If neither of these fix the issue for you, you can disable the process from running by hand. Type Task Scheduler into the Start Menu to open the utility (it lets you schedule processes to run by themselves). Expand Task Scheduler Library, then drill down to Microsoft > Office.
Here, you’ll see two processes: OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerLogon and OfficeBackgroundTaskHandlerRegistration. You can right-click on these and Disable them, but this will prevent Office data from updating in the background.
A better suggestion is to right-click each of them, select Properties, and then click the Change User or Group button on the resulting window. Type system into the box, click OK two times, and the task will run with System properties instead of under your account. Thus, you won’t see the annoying pop-up.
Did you see this pop-up at any time? Did updating Windows and Office fix the problem for you? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: Billion Photos via Shutterstock