Fix hourglass cursor blinking rapidly in Google Chrome

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 27, 2014
Updated • Mar 27, 2014
Google Chrome

For the past two days I have experienced a rather strange phenomenon on my Windows PC. The mouse cursor started to display the hourglass (busy) symbol every second or so; it was blinking all the time.

It took me a while to find out which program was responsible for this. Once I noticed that the cursor was displaying the hourglass every second, I started to close down programs one after the other to find out which was causing the issue.

Turns out, Google Chrome Dev was the culprit which caused this.

I then thought that this may be caused by a webpage in the browser, so I saved them all and closed them down one by one.


This did not resolve the issue. Next up were extensions which I disabled, but that too was not the cause of the blinking cursor.

I then went to chrome://flags and reset all properties here, and also made sure that the browser was up to date.

All of this was not helping, and I was still noticing the blinking hourglass cursor in the browser.

I tried Chrome Stable which is also installed on the system and it worked fine and without any issue.

Back to Chrome Dev I decided to check out the Task Manager by pressing Shift-Esc.

google voice search hotword beta

Here I noticed that the task Extension: Google Voice Search Hotword (Beta) was appearing and disappearing in the task manager in the same rhythm as the cursor was showing the hourglass in Chrome.

I had a good idea now what was causing the issue, and the only thing left to do was to find a way to disable voice search in Chrome.

  • Load chrome://settings/ in the web browser's address bar.
  • Click on the show advanced settings... link at the bottom of the window once the settings have loaded.
  • Scroll down to privacy and locate the Enable "Ok Google" to start a voice search preference here.
  • Uncheck it. The cursor stops blinking right away.


To test that this was indeed the reason, I enabled the feature again and as soon as I did that, the cursor was going all crazy again showing the hourglass rapidly in the Chrome web browser.

So why is this happening? My initial thought was that there was something wrong with the microphone of my Logitech G930 headset, but when I turned the microphone off in Windows, Google Chrome would still display the busy cursor in rapid succession.

Since the extension is listed as beta in the Task Manager, and not available on the manage extensions page in Chrome, it is likely that it has a bug that is causing this.

It is unlikely that all Chrome Dev users are affected by this. A quick search on the Internet revealed no hits describing the issue.

Still, if you are noticing that your cursor is going all crazy when Chrome is open, then you may want to check the Ok Google setting in the preferences of the web browser to see if it resolves the issue.


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  1. Anonymous said on March 5, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    turn off the google chat.. that`s it

  2. Donna Lonni said on October 2, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    3-4 YEARS later… this bug is still present in Chrome.
    Sorry Chrome, we are switching everyone in the office
    back to FireFox.

  3. Avinaba said on September 17, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Try this out.. Go to Google Chrome Settings: Scroll down to Advanced settings, then Disable “Use hardware acceleration when available”.
    Relaunch google chrome. Cursor flickering issue might get solved.
    The reason might be the Hardware Acceleration.
    When I opened the Task Manager of Google Chrome ( More Tools > Task Manager) and tried to open a new tab it was showing a task “GPU procces ” constantly disappearing/reappearing with the same rate.
    So by the above step I just disabled GPU process. It works:-)

  4. Jim Sickel said on March 16, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    I’m running Win 7 Pro and have a flashing hourglass beside my cursor also. It happened once before, about a year ago, and I learned how to remove it, but now I’ve forgotten what I did. In Windows Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL) Start Task Manager/Processes a process called BTWLANDP.exe *32 is flashing. It appears for about three seconds then disappears. When it appears, and I select it, the End Process tab grays out so I can’t end it. If I discover what I did, I’ll report back.”

    Reporting back: Here is how I got rid of the flashing hourglass that was driving me crazy. This may work if you can find a flashing process in the Task Manager as I described above. In my case I did a Window-key R to run an internal program, and typed REGEDIT and OK. Now be aware that this can get you into serious trouble if you do the wrong thing in your registry, but in my case it solved my issue. In the opened registry I highlighted the top item, Computer, then did CTRL-F to open the Search window, and then entered BTWLANDP.exe which was the flashing process in the Task Manager. The finder found one file with that name (let finder run to completion which may take a minute or two). Of course in the long list of things, listed by code, it only gave the code identity, but in the window to the right I saw BTWLANDP.exe. I highlighted it, held my breath, and depressed DEL. A warning alert opened, and I pressed OK. Then I closed regedit. The flashing cursor was still there. Then I restarted computer and bingo, no flashing hourglass. That is what I did last year and also today. Maybe I won’t have that problem again. The flashing hourglass started after I ran Norton Utilities to “clean up” and defrag (compress) the registry which made my computer start and run faster, but I think it must have caused the Toshiba Blue Tooth program to malfunction. Of course, I think, once I start the blue tooth program it will reestablish the correct file in the registry. At least that is what happened last year.

    I accept no responsibility if you try this and screw up your registry, so be warned!!!

  5. James Cuppy said on January 22, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    I too have the blinking hourglass problem with more than normal CPU usage,( Won’t drop below 21% on a SSD) I have tried all the items listed above, but to no avail. If any one has more solutions please let me know Many Thanks ahead of time

  6. Dane Eric; Gross said on October 19, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Try switching to Firefox (solution already posted above by me!) …


  7. Renee said on April 28, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Hi, I’ve been having this problem with the blinking hour glass icon next to the cursor for several months now but ONLY for a while after I have turned my computer off and re-started it (Windows 7 pro). It blinks about every second.

    I only use Chrome.

    Tried OP’s steps to open task manager but none of those items were blinking or acting like the cursor.

    I’ve tried in the past to do a system restore but in the 2 years I’ve had this computer I’ve never once been able to do that. I always get an error.

    Thanks so much for any help.

  8. Dane Eric; Gross said on June 9, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    SOLVED : I had the same problem. I noticed it was only when I was using Firefox, and then only when using GMail. I went into Firefox > Tools > Add-Ons, and changed the settings on Google Talk Plugin (version 5.38.60) and Google Talk Plugin Video Renderer (same version : 5.38.60) from “Always Activate” to “Ask to Activate”. Tested it by going back to GMail and logging in and voila’! … problem solved. :)

    1. Dane Eric; Gross said on June 9, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      REVISED :

      “SOLVED : Google Talk GMail plugin causes blinking hourglass”

      SOLVED : I had the same problem. I noticed it was only when I was using Firefox,
      and then only when using GMail. I went into Firefox > Tools > Add-Ons, and
      changed the settings on Google Talk Plugin (version 5.38.60) from “Always Activate” to
      “Never Activate”. Tested it by going back to GMail and logging in and voila’! … problem solved. :)

      One more thing : When setting up Google Talk by clicking on the security
      warning at the top of your GMail page after logging in to GMail, when
      it asks if you want to enable Google Talk for making phone calls within
      your GMail account, you must click “Block” instead of “Allow for Now” or
      “Always Allow” … Google Talk use has been DISCONTINUED except for use within
      GMail … this allows for better TRACKING of the Sheeple in Google’s herd.

      If you want to see what the app looked like, download it here : (latest version : Google Talk 1.0.105).

      If you still want to use Google Talk only for text chats, download and use Pidgin IM
      from and use it as described in THIS POST :!topic/hangouts/ljXdiYSiB_c
      … then you can set up SECURE, PRIVATE ENCRYPTION using the Pidgin OTR
      (Off-The-Record) messaging plugin for Pidgin … this also works with Skype (using Skype4Pidgin) :

      and you won’t have to deal with blinking hourglass icons from Google Talk

      Also recommended : download and install Whistle Phone from

      and support their company, Vail Systems, in their competition against the Google (and Microsoft / Skype) anti-privacy monster! : low phone rates everywhere, excellent sound quality (finally upgraded!) and 3-way conference calling included!

  9. James Lee said on March 30, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I have the same issue in Chrome (not Dev) but I checked and it is not from the voice search extension. My cursor blinks every minute or so. I pressed Shift+ESC to bring up the task manager and I see a task appear and disappear at the same time my cursor blinks. The task appears/disappears so fast that I can’t read it fast enough. Any ideas on how I can see the task or how I can fix this? It’s driving me crazy.

  10. Curt Franks said on March 30, 2014 at 3:32 am

    I’m on Chrome Beta and for me, in the Settings, under Privacy, the check box followed by “Enable OK Google to start a voice search” disappeared completely. I like using voice search but now anytime I open a new tab or start the home page, I get a hollow microphone and have to click on it to use Google voice search. This just started today.

  11. Charles Robinson said on March 27, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    “check out the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl-Esc.”
    Dumb home user here…running W7 Home Premium on a desktop PC. When I press Ctrl-Esc I get the same display I get when I press the Windows key. How do I get that same Task Mgr. screen that you show in this article – showing the various things running under Chrome (tabs, plug-ins, etc.)?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 27, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Charles it is Shift-Esc, sorry for that.

  12. chesscanoe said on March 27, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    FYI I’m not seeing the problem on Win7 x64 Home running Version 34.0.1847.92 beta-m of Chrome, with the referenced Voice Search beta installed as
    Google Voice Search Hotword (Beta) .

  13. Hannibal said on March 27, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Chrome is doing exactly the same in the stable version running in Windows 8 metro mode. But there’s no way to turn OK Google off as it doesn’t appear in the settings menu. It’s been doing this to me for some few days now.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 27, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Have you tried turning it off in the desktop version?

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