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The Mathematica 9 installation on my laptop has developed an odd feature. Just underneath the grey line indicating the input area for a new cell, the expression $Failed appears in small type at the left hand end.

This occurs even before I type anything in a fresh notebook created at start-up. I tried deleting both the Kernel's and FrontEnd's init.m files but that did not help. As soon as I start to type an input, it disappears. It doesn't seem to interfere with kernel evaluations but is just annoying.

This is how it looks in a new notebook created at start-up.

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closed as off-topic by Kuba, LLlAMnYP, blochwave, Karsten 7., Louis Nov 18 '15 at 10:47

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question cannot be answered without additional information. Questions on problems in code must describe the specific problem and include valid code to reproduce it. Any data used for programming examples should be embedded in the question or code to generate the (fake) data must be included." – Kuba, LLlAMnYP, blochwave, Karsten 7., Louis
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

OK, I added a screenshot to the original post. – John Jowett Apr 16 '14 at 11:32
I would try resetting preferences to their defaults. Maybe you are automatically evaluating some notebook at startup (which contains some kind of error). For example: Preferences->Global Options->File Locations has the option to AutoOpenNotebooks. – bill s Apr 16 '14 at 14:45
Thanks but that didn't seem to help. I am wondering now if this $Failed is coming from the Front End Kernel, as described at… – John Jowett Apr 17 '14 at 7:34
Re-installing Mathematica fixed it. – John Jowett Apr 17 '14 at 8:43