How to Fix That Random Pop-Up in Windows

Ben Stegner 12-07-2017

Sometimes, even with troubleshooting knowledge Windows Troubleshooting for Dummies Windows takes a lot of crap for problems outside of its control. Learn about the biggest issues people incorrectly pin on Windows and how to actually troubleshoot them. Read More , 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:

How to Fix That Random Pop-Up in Windows Office Handler Error

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 This Is Why You Should Join the Office Insider Program Now Office 2016 is Microsoft's flagship office suite. Office 365 subscribers can join the Office Insider Program, where they get to try new features before anyone else. We'll show you the benefits and how to enroll. Read More 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 7 Nerdy Things You Can Automate with the Windows Task Scheduler The Windows Task Scheduler can automate almost anything. If you can make it happen in a command line or a Windows script, you can schedule it with the Task Scheduler. Let us demonstrate. Read More ). 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

Related topics: Troubleshooting, Windows 10.

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  1. Charles Kinney
    July 12, 2017 at 10:59 am

    I had the same issue a month or so ago. I finally caught the popup with bare hands. I found that I had updated MS Office and it started. After finding out what was causing it, i again updated Office and the popup stopped. Ideally, you shouldn't have random or hit/miss popups like this. I do note programs when starting and even during runs they may popup but that shouldn't be a problem.