Windows 7 Aero Busy Cursor Fix


Some of the animated busy cursors which come with Windows 7 RTM have glitches where a frame is missing/repeated.

If you are using the default DPI and look closely (and/or have OCD) you should see the busy cursor animation jump and stutter around 12 o'clock with the default busy cursor and around 4 o'clock with the "large" busy cursor.

(The "extra large" cursor seems to be fine, as do all sizes of the "Working in Background" cursors and all of the high DPI cursors.)

You can see a description & animated examples of the glitch at Long Zheng's iStartedSomething, based on the original Windows 7 Taskforce report by user Soulburner.

This zip you can download below contains fixed versions of the two glitchy Windows 7 cursors.

How the glitches were fixed:

The fixes were made by transplanting the missing frames from the Vista cursors over the repeated frames in the Windows 7 cursors. This was done by hand in a hex editor to ensure the smallest possible change and zero chance of upsetting anything (since the only thing which was changed is the colour of some pixel values).

The fixed files are not just copies of the Vista cursors. While the Vista .ani files work on Windows 7 they are missing the high-DPI image data, unlike the fixed versions in the zip.

(In Windows 7, but not Vista, each cursor file contains two sets of images which are presumably high and low DPI versions. The old low-DPI image data is exactly as it was in Vista, except for the two incorrect frames, and the new high-DPI image data is glitch-free. So copying over the two (one per file) incorrect frames using the Vista data gets us a perfect result: Glitch-free low-DPI and high-DPI. Another difference is that the Vista .ani files animate at a different speed. The .ani files in this zip are consistent with the speed of the other Windows 7 cursors.)

How to install:

  • First, ask yourself if you care about the little glitches enough to bother with all of this. :-)

  • Copy the two .ani files to somewhere. (Normally C:\Windows\Cursors so they're with all the other cursors.)

    Note:You'll run into hassle if you try to rename/delete the original cursors and copy the fixed ones in their place. The original cursors are protected files owned by the special TrustedInstaller account and cannot easily be deleted or overwritten. Save yourself some trouble and copy the fixed cursors with their new, unique names.

  • Go to Control Panel -> Hardware -> Mouse -> Pointers and select the Busy cursor.

  • If you are using the Windows Aero pointer scheme, click Browse and choose the win7_fixed_aero_busy.ani file that you copied from this zip.

  • On the other hand, if you are using the Windows Aero (large) scheme, click Browse and choose the win7_fixed_aero_busy_l.ani file.

  • (If you are using the Windows Aero (extra large) scheme then you don't need this fix.)

  • Click OK




v1.00 (17/Aug/2009)

  • Initial release.

  • Fixed files based on Windows 7 Pro RTM x64 and Vista Ultimate SP2 x86.