No matter which version of Windows you’re using, there will come a time when the GUI freezes up. It’s easy to fix this by restarting explorer.exe.
Here’s an example of Windows 7 acting unstable. Only a portion of my desktop background is showing, and shortcut icons are blank.
Right-click the Taskbar then click Start Task Manager.
Windows Task Manager launches. Click the Processes tab, right-click on explorer.exe and click End Process.
You’ll get a message asking if you really want to end explorer.exe – click End Process.
The desktop will clear of everything except Windows Task Manager.
From the Windows Task Manager menu click File >> New Task.
The Create New Task dialog box comes up. In the Open field type: explorer.exe and click OK.
Your desktop comes back working correctly with all of your icons.