Stop Microsoft Office flashing at you

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Recent updates to Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows include an annoying little ‘flashing’ bug that’s not severe but definitely annoying. Here’s how to fix the flash – either slowly and carefully or right now!

Every hour, there’s a ‘flash’. A window appears and quickly disappears for no good reason.

This seems to be mostly affecting anyone who chose the beta or preview options: Slow or Fast ring.

What’s causes the flashing?

Back in mid-April, an update to Office changed the Office Background Task Handler works.

It’s supposed to run hourly but hidden from the screen display.

The bug is annoying and distracting but doesn’t harm your computer or documents.

Maybe that’s why it took Microsoft over a month to deploy a fix.

Update to Microsoft Office

In the last few days, Microsoft has rolled out a fix.  If you get version 16.0.8201.2025 or later the problem should be fixed.

Can’t wait?

If you can’t wait, Costas2 on the MS Answers forum has a workaround.

Go to the Task Scheduler and change the user which runs the Office Background Task Handler tasks. Switch to the System account.  That will let the tasks run but not appear on your screen.

There are two tasks to change:


The default is the ‘Users’ group.

To change the user, you need to right-click on each task and choose ‘Properties’.  Click on ‘Change User or Group’ and type ‘System’ into the ‘object name’ box.

Remember to change the user back to the ‘Users’ group once your version of Office has caught up with the fix.  It’s possible the Office update will detect your alteration of the task and change it automatically.

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