The stupid, unmovable ‘white box’ on my desktop

So for the past week or so, I’ve noticed that when I put my machine to sleep and wake it up later there is a ‘white box’ that appears in the upper left hand/top left corner of my my desktop that overlaps about 1/8th of my desktop, covering over the Recycle Bin and a few other folders I have.

And it’s completely immoveable.

It looks like it’s a window or dialog box that simply doesn’t have any borders or controls on it.  It can’t be dragged and dropped.  I can’t be right mouse clicked.  Nothing appears in the task tray below to represent it.  It just sits there. 

So I loaded up Security Task Manager.  Security Task Manager is a tool I’ve used for years to identify errant or weird processes that are loaded into memory.  It actually displays an English language description next to the running process in question which differentiates it from the standard Windows Task Manager.  It’s very useful in identifying issues – especially things that slow down your PC or might otherwise be a security threat.

In this case, I suspected that some process was lingering that was causing this ‘white box’ or window to exist.

image

A key indicator that a process is active in memory is that there is an entry next to the process for the amount of memory that it is actively consuming.  After all, if a process is dormant, it probably isn’t doing something like displaying an annoying ‘white box’ on my screen.

So I’m perusing the running processes and I notice that one of them is “SOLUTO”.  Soluto is a boot-time utility that monitors the execution of services at boot in order to allow the user to ‘cut down on how long it takes to boot the system’.  I found it strange that it was consuming 32MB of memory however when it’d been a long time since I booted up.

So I killed the process.  Lo-and-behold, the ‘white box’ disappeared.  Suddenly it started to make sense.  One of the things Soluto does at boot time is display a borderless window that iterates through all the processes still being loaded as part of the boot process, even though the user has already logged on.  This borderless window doesn’t have a means by which one can close the window without knowing exactly where the “X” is to close it.  I suspect that this window got whitewashed somehow and lingered in the OS after the system got put to sleep and woken up again.

So if you have a ‘white box’ on your screen it’s likely the remnant of a borderless window from another running process on your system.  If you wanna see what processes are still running and want a description of each of them, check out Security Task Manager.

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22 Responses to The stupid, unmovable ‘white box’ on my desktop

  1. Gustav says:

    Thank you for that. I fixed my ‘white box’ too!

    • kurtsh says:

      You’re welcome. Glad that my philosophy of publishing the solutions to quick problems I encounter (when I get the chance) is doing some good!

  2. morningstaronmauiLuann says:

    Thank you! This has been driving me nuts — it was Soluto 🙂

    • kurtsh says:

      I’m glad this helped. I try to document whatever solutions I find because I know some day someone else might encounter the same problem and might benefit from my research. You just validated that effort – so thank you!

  3. adriano says:

    Hey I did everything you said, but there’s no Soluto in the Security Task manager? :/ Any help?

    • kurtsh says:

      I’m sorry – I can’t provide tech support. There’s an app that’s causing the white box. You’ll need to figure out what.

      • Kate says:

        Alright, so how do we figure that out because it doesn’t help me either and I have been on every forum and website. This is super annoying.

      • kurtsh says:

        And I’m sorry but that’s what’s known as “tech support”. See previous message.

  4. Andy D says:

    After reading about a dozen “you have dead pixels on your LCD” (not it), “you have spyware” (not it), “you have bad graphics drivers” (not it), “you have a corrupted icon cache file” (not it), “your wallpaper has a white box on it” (not it), I was thrilled to find your “Soluto solution”. Exiting Soluto removed that annoying white box.

    Thank you!

    Now to see if Soluto knows about this and has a solution in the works…

    Thanks again!

    • kurtsh says:

      I think they’ve fixed it in later revisions. Unfortunately, they’ve also made the product a bit less useful IMHO. Forcing people to go to their web site for configuration analysis is a bit much but I guess that’s their revenue model. Honestly, it was also enough for me to remove their product. While I understand their reasoning (easier to update their service, easier to garner revenue through stuff like promoting Skype & those other pieces of software they are pushing) I don’t like being tied to a vendor’s web site to administer client side components. But that’s just me.

      • Andy D says:

        A couple weeks ago, I uninstalled and reinstalled Soluto and got that same stupid, unmovable white box.

        I ended up uninstalling Soluto for good since the random hard-drive thrashing problem for which I initially installed it seems to have largely gone away (I think it was a runaway Google Chrome process/IE Tab 2 issue/too many open Chrome tabs problem).

        I keep an eye on Soluto’s forum post about this and some comments about it are not very kind. (e.g., pointing out that this has been a known issue for over a year with no fix)

        Anyway, it sure was helpful to learn what was causing the problem. Thanks again, Kurt!

  5. John Applewhite says:

    mine was from dbrmtrayicon.exe

    • kurtsh says:

      Good to know. Given that this appears to be unique to Dell computer owners since dbrmtrayicon.exe is Dell component, I suspect that this probably strikes as many, if not more people than even Soluto, which frankly is something of a geek tool, less a everyday-mom-and-pop tool.

  6. Mark says:

    Thank you so much. This was becoming an annoyance, and so I removed Soluto.

  7. Hey Kurt and all, Roee from Soluto here.

    First, I want to apologize for this embarrassing bug.

    It was an extremely rare bug a year back, when we offered people to turn off the boot timer (aka “PC Readiness Monitor”) as a workaround. A code change that was made around May 2012 caused more people to experience the horrible white rectangle (still way less than 1% of users, but with our user base that’s lots of people). While we researched the problem we recommended to users suffering from it to disable the boot timer, and recently released the solution here: https://support.soluto.com/entries/20366073-white-or-blank-rectangular-box-keeps-showing-after-boot

    We will soon roll-out an upgrade to solve the problem for all existing users.

    One quick note about Soluto’s web interface, to clarify. Since December of 2011 we migrated our service to the web, to allow for supporting and managing multiple PCs remotely, mostly for techie people who help their friends and family members with their PCs, without a need for remote desktop access. For most of our users today, boot is just another feature among many others. Soluto now lets you know via email when your friend has an issue you can help with and allows you to take remote actions with a click of a button, even if the PC you’re helping with is shut down right now (all based on a cloud deployment dealing with tens of millions of data points every day, we’re actually one of the largest Microsoft Azure customers in the world).

    As a startup company trying to move fast and do many things, sometimes we have bugs. Our core service is free for up to 5 machines, and by the way – today we don’t make any money from offering you the applications that we do. We offer those apps (e.g. Skype and Dropbox) because they were the most requested-for by our community.

    So when such a bug happens, the best we can do is apologize and offer something small for the white rectangle victims. If you’re still interested in checking out the new web Soluto (no white rectangles, I promise!), then create an account and drop us a note at support@soluto.com, put “kurtsh” in the subject line, write the email you used to create the account, and we’ll credit you with an extra slot for life (6$ monthly value).

    Again, my apologies. As a team of engineers trying to build a valuable service for techies who love PCs, it’s always disappointing to find out that people stop loving you. But life’s difficult, and I hope that with time we’ll be able to win some of you back 🙂

    Roee Adler
    Soluto

    • kurtsh says:

      Holy crap. Roee Adler (Chief Product Officer, Soluto) just commented on my personal blog. I’ll let his post speak for itself with regard to the ‘white box’ problem.

  8. jordan says:

    Unfortunately my computer doesn’t show anything like soluto on it as I just reinstalled windows a couple days ago and have this small white box, about the size of 2.5 icons. Which led me here. But looks like I need to continue searching.

  9. ybron says:

    i had one that was a little smaller than your picture. but it was being caused by razer synapse. i just ended the exe on my task manager and the box immediately vanished!

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