Missing system tray icons

By billyellis ยท 4 replies
Mar 1, 2009
  1. Good morning TS,

    Does anyone else still have a problem with the system tray in the taskbar in XP?

    On one of my computers, processes are running but sometimes do not show up in the system tray. This can cause moments of panic when you boot up and don't see firewall and/or AV icons and you have to check with Task Manager to see whether the processes started correctly or not. They are almost always running, but it would be really nice to not have the moment of panic and need to check to verify. Knowing your programs are up and running is, after all, the point of having the system tray in the first place.

    This has been an irritant to me for years, and is apparently a long-standing bug in XP that has some workarounds that are partially successful, but there were no universal solutions. There was a good thread on the problem here:
    but discussion ended about 4 years ago, and even the most recent bump last year linked to pages from 2006 that referred to SP2 as the most recent update to the OS.

    So I am just curious as to whether anyone knows if there are any universal fixes now that SP3 has been out for a while?

    Because I know someone will ask:
    OS: XP Home
    AV: Norton, then AVG, now Avira
    FW: ZA, now Comodo
    AS: many over the years, now Malwarebytes, SuperAS, Spybot

    But the problem has persisted over the years regardless of configuration/software brands.

    [There was a systray function related post here:
    suggesting that users disable all spyware monitoring programs and leave only the AV active, which I found unusual. Any comments/rebuttals to that idea?]
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

  3. billyellis

    billyellis TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 155

    Thanks kimsland. :)

    Looks like that script is from the 3rd link under the heading "Hide or Show Notification Area Icons." I wonder whether it does anything different than simply going in a checking/unchecking that box in the TB&SM settings?

    The other suggestions under the "Icons - Notification Area - Missing" heading are pretty much what the old thread ended up with as workarounds, although the steps at this site have an extra save-these-settings edit which sounds promising. Unfortunately they are talking about SP1, so I can't help but think thee steps are many years old.

    I was hoping that maybe MS had worked out a simple fix after SP3 and years of complaints about the problem. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they ignored their customers yet again and that rather than fixing a basic feature that malfunctions they instead added on 800 new functions that nobody wanted or uses. Par for the course.

    Anyway, thanks for the reply and legwork. I had not seen the kellys-korner site before, and I plan on looking around there a bit.:approve:
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    It's true, if you close Explorer.exe in Task Manager in XP and then run it again, the "Notification Area" icons will be missing. This is a flaw.

    MS response is to restart
  5. billyellis

    billyellis TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 155

    You've got to love a company whose product malfunctions and their response is to tell customers that they will have to waste their own time and add wear to their hardware to work around the malfunction. They have never even bothered to make appeasing promises like "we are aware of the problem and are working on it" because they are so arrogant that they refuse to acknowledge their fallibility. Sigh.

    I hope that one silver lining of this Depression will be that better, less bloated OS'es will flood the market and become serious competitors to MS because of their dramatically lower cost. Fingers crossed...
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