Fix Blinking Tooltips in XP

those darn blinking tooltips!

© 2009 by KV5R.

Overview

Do you have trouble entering text in text fields due to interference from annoying, blinking, flashing tooltips? I finally got sick of having to click 8 times to get the cursor in a field (particularly Google search fields) so I decided to fix it. I searched the ’net for hours, found lots of people have this problem, but no answers, except for some registry mods that don’t work. Even M$ can’t fix it!

Then I accidently discovered that I could change the mouse pointers and some of them don’t cause flashing tooltips, while others do. Hmmmmm… Must a problem with certain cursors…

This applies to Win XP, using the large or extra large system cursors, when hovering over a text input field. May apply to other systems as well.

I located a free icon/cursor editor and started opening the various i-beam cursors located in \windows\cursors folder, and discovered that if the vertical column of the i-beam is 2 pixels wide, and the hotspot is within the column, the tooltips will blink! Easy to fix.

A Better I-Beam

Ok, I'll make it even easier! Download and install my greatly improved i-beam cursor, then just do steps 7-12 below. Else, if want to fix your own i-beam, start at step 1.

if tooltips_blink then

download beam_km.cur

save to \windows\cursors folder. (326 bytes)

else

  1. Download Greenfish Icon Edit Pro.
  2. It doesn't install—just make a folder, unzip to it, and run the exe file.
  3. Open the beam_m.cur or beam_l.cur file in \windows\cursors folder.
  4. Select the Set Hotspot tool.
  5. Move the hotspot one pixel right of the beam.
  6. Save the file with a new name (like, beam-me.cur).
  7. Go to Control Panel, Mouse, Pointers.
  8. Select the pointer scheme you like.
  9. Select the "Text Select" i-beam cursor.
  10. Click Browse and select the new i-beam file.
  11. Click Apply.
  12. Test it in the Google search field, or in the Search field in the toolbar of IE7, or wherever you were having flashing tooltip problems. The tooltip should now be below the i-beam, not to the right of it like it was before, thus will no longer cycle itself.

I made it even better by designing the perfect i-beam (thick on the ends, thin in the middle), and then I added a white pixel at the very bottom to make the tooltips move lower. Then I added some white dots so it can be seen on a black background.

If this doesn’t work for you, here are some other ideas:

  • Go to Control Panel, Display, Appearance, Advanced; under Item: pick Tooltip and set the font size down to 6 points. This will stop the blinking—and make all tooltips too small to read.
  • Try editing affected icons and putting a white pixel in the extreme lower-right corner.
  • Try different icon schemes.

If none of the above works, you have an entirely different cause, probably a bug in the affected application.

About Greenfish Icon Edit Pro

Great freeware deserves free promotion! The Greenfish Icon Edit Pro is a great little application from Hungary. Create, open, and edit any type of icon, cursor, even animated and libs. Also will extract icons from exe and dll files. Multilingual. No install, no registry writes—perfect for portable apps (USB stick). I recommend it!

—kv5r

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