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"Desktop suddenly appears" means that a window has crashed. My belief is that this is a browser issue.

I'm using a four-year old Dell computer with Windows Vista. Lately, almost every time, while I'm typing an email with, my typing disappears and my monitor takes me back to my desktop and I have to start all over again. I'm hope you're not as puzzled as I am.

In this excerpt from Answercast #70, I look at a case where someone is typing and suddenly they see their desktop. The browser has probably crashed.

Disappearing browser

Well, I am kind of. So the issue is, I mean... I understand what you are saying "the typing disappears," but there are so many different ways that "typing" can disappear.

Now, you said that, "It takes you back to your desktop." What I infer from that is - it's not just your typing that is disappearing. It's that your browser (the window in which you are doing this typing) is closing.

Your browser is "closing" unexpectedly and apparently without any error message. Error messages would be present in many cases. If there were, I'm assuming you would have told me. So, basically what's happening here is, as you are typing along, your browser's disappearing.

Troubleshoot the browser

The thing that I would recommend you do immediately is disable add-ons in your browser.

You haven't indicated what browser you're using, but I have different approaches:

  • For Internet Explorer, I've got an article on that;

  • In Chrome, it's fairly simple.

  • In Firefox, it's fairly simple (there are menu items for it).

I would disable add-ons in your browser to make sure that they aren't interfering with the browser trying to do the work. In many cases, that actually can be the cause of a problem like this.

Reinstall or switch browsers

If you're using a browser like Firefox or Chrome, I would suggest reinstalling the browser. In fact, I would actually go so far as to suggest uninstalling the browser and then reinstalling it - because this does sound like a browser-specific problem.

Finally, if none of that actually resolves the issue, I would try another browser, in other words, if you're using Internet Explorer, download and run Chrome. See if you experience the same issue in Chrome.

If you do, then it's some kind of system issue and to be honest, I'd be somewhat baffled at that point. I'm not exactly sure where I'd take you next.

My belief is that this is a browser issue. It's not just "typing" disappearing, it's your browser disappearing - and that's something that would be addressed by turning off add-ons, fixing the browser, or switching to a different browser completely.

Article C6035 - November 15, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

November 16, 2012 9:18 AM

If you are using Firefox reinstalling isn't a good idea. Most Fx issues are profile problems which usually isn't removed during an uninstall. has a nice troubleshooting article.

Peter B
November 16, 2012 1:28 PM

My mother-in-law had a different problem when typing e-mails. The majority of the content of her e-mails disappeared when she was typing them (leaving an almost blank e-mail). It transpired that she was accidentally catching / pressing the CTRL key, and having 'typed' the letter a (CTRL+a = select all), then a space following that deleted her typing so far. She used to be a touch typist, so didn't notice what went wrong as it all happened too quickly.

So possibly you are accidentally closing the window using a key combination?

One option might be to type your e-mails in another package (Word / notepad / ??) and then copy and paste the text into your e-mail at the end. If you have the same problem with this, then it's likely that this is the problem (and the key sequence to close it is the same!!).

I hope this helps.

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