Systray Annoyance

By Nodsu · 94 replies
Jan 26, 2003
  1. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    I don't believe that the problem has anything to do with which background tasks are running. If this was a factor, then simply loging off and then loging back in to windows would not cause all the icons to reappear and stay there.

    The issue is random (as to what icons are missing), and it only appears on startup, so I would suspect that it is caused by a timing issue during the period in which the apps and systray are loading. It's as if there is a race to load into the systray, and depending on how things pan out, some apps will fail to show up in the systray, although they are still running in the background.

    Disabling some services that load on startup does have an affect on the timing of apps and systray loading, and will sometimes appear to cure the problem, but only temporarily, and your icons will start misbehaving again not long after this has been tried.

    If anyone knows how to control the order in which these items load, then that may help to devise a solution that works. As far as I am aware, the order of apps and systray loading are controlled by where they appear in the registry, but not in any obvious, or configurable way, as much of this seems to be set when windows, and your apps, are installed.

    Needless to say, this is all just speculation, so it could be well off the track. If enough users post their experiences with this issue, then maybe there will be enough clues to produce more accurate speculation, which may eventually lead to a solution being found. So feel free to speculate some more :=).
  2. yirm

    yirm TS Rookie

    Hello peeps.

    I've had this icon problem with every XP load I've done since I got it - on several machines. The user who said that logging off and on to get all icons to show hit it spot on. And it is also true that it is just the icons, that don't show. The services they represent are running.

    My theory is that there is something we are all doing in common that is causing this. I've been trying for literally years now to figure this out. And I just can't figure out where the problem begins. Is it from when I install TweakUI? Is it because I use multiple partitions? Is it because I use TweakUI to move system folders to another partition? I thought it was NAV. It's not. Then I thought it was Roxio Easy CD Creator. Not that either. I haven't been able to narrow it down to any application. But maybe it's how we have configured XP.

    I also contacted MS when I first had this problem, and they did not acknowledge it. I am going to contact them again and point them to this forum, which, unbelievably seems to be the only place which documents this issue.

  3. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    I don't believe the issue has anything to do with what applications are installed, or how XP is configured.

    I have installed XP on several hard drives, on same PC, with same apps, many times, and I've only encountered this issue twice. Once present, I cannot get rid of it.

    The issue seems to occur during the installation of XP, so the only thing I can think of is that it occurs during the configuration phase of the install, which configures your hardware, and settings, in a different order each time you install XP.

    The way this process occurs results in different ordering of items in the registry, and influences the order in which each item loads when booting into XP.

    During the period in which icons are added to the systray and their respective services/programs loaded, it would appear that while all of these have completed loading, the systray finishes loading before all the icons have been added. New icons cannot be added unless the services/programs to which they belong, are stopped and then restarted, as happens when logging off, and then back on again.

    Because XP has less items to load than from a normal boot, the items that load into the systray are not in any kind of race to finish before the systray loads, and so all the icons manage to make it into the systray this time around.

    I believe that this race to load, which happens in a random way (apps don't always load in the same order) explains why vanishing systray icons is also random (e.g. which icons are missing this time around).

    Just my *guess*. :confused:
  4. e-Willem

    e-Willem TS Rookie Posts: 28

    Same problem over here


    I've got the exact same problem, and still searching for a solution.
    I also turned "hide inactive" off and on startup not al my running programs are visible in Systray. Like firewall, mouseware and other.

    Indeed if you log of (not power off) and log back in, all icons appear.

    I hope to find an solution some day.
  5. e-Willem

    e-Willem TS Rookie Posts: 28


    With RegRun you can define the order in which applications are loaded. I moved systray al the way to the top, but still I miss icons in my system tray, so I don't think that's the problem.

    Hopefully someone will post THE SOLUTION one day
  6. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Can you try making systray load first, then last, then somewhere in the middle?
    I don't have the systray problem at this time, so I am unable to test this. Let us know how you get on.

    Any insight would be appreciated, as basically none of us here knows the answer to why this problem occurs. We can only guess based on observations and things we have tried.

    Edit: I just downloaded a copy of RegRun and ran the RegRun Start Control to define registry order for startup programs. Systray doesn't appear anywhere. If you have the time, can you please let me know how you redefined systray load order. Thanks.
  7. e-Willem

    e-Willem TS Rookie Posts: 28

    When I launch Start Control, the tab "Registry" shows first.
    On this tab in the left Column you see a list of apps voor All Users.
    In this list SystemTray is visible.
    You can change order by clicking the AZ«-button.
    I will try rearanging them als one time bottom of the list, in the middle he was at first. At the top doesn't make a difference to the problem.

  8. e-Willem

    e-Willem TS Rookie Posts: 28

    And I'm back again,
    now I put SystemTray on the bottom of the list, and gues watt?
    It works fine, at least this start up (after total shut down). Hopefully it will last.
  9. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Thanks for getting back to me. I have revisited the Tab you mentioned, but strangely there is no 'systray' item in my list, which is why I asked the question. I am running Win XP SP1, same as yourself, so I don't know why its not showing up in my list.

    The closest thing I have is an 'nForce Tray Options' icon ('sstray.exe' which provides quick access to the nForce2 "Sound Storm" control panel and related utilitys). I can't find any reference to 'systray' anywhere using this utility.

    Edit: Glad to hear your systray is working. Please post back later to let us know if it continues to work. That would be fantastic news. :)
  10. e-Willem

    e-Willem TS Rookie Posts: 28

    Sorry to here dat you can't find it on your computer,
    I now have several times rebootet my computer and it is al working fine.
    In the attachment you can see where exactly it is in the Start Control.

    Attached Files:

  11. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    I don't have the icon, but it's great that your problem is now solved. This is a first, as up to now, not even Microsoft has found a solution to this issue (they don't even recognise that there is a problem). Hopefully some other users here can try out this fix, and we can get a better idea of how successful it proves.

    Now if someone can find a way to manualy edit the registry and apply this type of fix then that would be the icing on the cake. Maybe a registry compare of before and after would help.

    Here is my screen capture (no systray) ...

    Attached Files:

  12. yirm

    yirm TS Rookie

    I downloaded this app too, and I don't have SystemTray in my "All Users Run (Registry) " list. I think the entry in e-Willem's list refers not to the SysTray itself, but to an icon in the systray loaded by some program or other. I am familiar with the location in the registry this list is referring to, and it's all programs you install that load on startup, not Windows services, etc.

    Here's my latest theory. This program may still prove useful, because the order that these programs load may have something to do with the icons showing up. For example, maybe having a hog like Norton Antivirus loading near the beginning interferes with the ability for "later" icons to load properly. Anyway, e-Willem's experience does show that in some way, changing the load order does affect, to some extent anyway, the ability for icons to load.

    In other news, I just re-installed Windows from scratch. Same stuff I've always loaded. BUT this time, the icons (all 9 of 'em) are showing up every time. Okay, there were two times out of all the reboots that they didnt all appear, but this was when stuff was going on like new drivers being installed on bootup. So what I'm thinking is that I installed my programs in a different order than normal, which is why I'm having better success with the icons loading. It's all conjecture, but it's the best guess I have right now.

  13. e-Willem

    e-Willem TS Rookie Posts: 28

    The idea that the app was loading an icon for a program sounded logic to me, so I tried to close systray in taskmanager. But it doesn't stand my processes-list, so appearantly it's only runned once during start-up.

    When in start control I press "What's this?", it says:
    It is indeed just a program loading the icons of Windows-options as volume, keyboard, display, energycontrol.
    Really weird that it is the solution though.

    but it's :grinthumb with me
    good luck on your machines
  14. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    e-Willem: What version of RegRun are you using?

    I am just wondering why systray.exe isn't showing up for some of us.

    It is located in [c:/windows/system32/systray.exe], and we all have it running at start up, but it doesn't show in RegRun.
  15. e-Willem

    e-Willem TS Rookie Posts: 28

    I downloaded the total package: RegRun Suite Pro Version 3.61

    Which has many apps including Start Control (and Optimize, Clean boot, ....).

    Perharps you deselected the volume icon, the energy icon and the display icon in your Control Panel?
    You can also mannualy add programs in the list, may be that works just as well.
  16. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 5,837   +6

  17. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

  18. e-Willem

    e-Willem TS Rookie Posts: 28

    from the first site i quote:
    Next, the trojan attemps to remove a number of registry keys, attempting to disable several security software:

    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\ZoneAlarm Pro

    It is trying to disable the feature I still have, so why would I have a problem?
  19. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 5,837   +6

    This is a worm that uses and executable called systemtray to run itself.

    Sorry about the f-secure link that is a wrong one. But I can give you fresh ones:

    The bottom line is that you should not have something called "systemtray" running visibly anywhere. The very name of this thing suggests that is meant to be overlooked by people.
  20. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    He was running Kazza ...
  21. e-Willem

    e-Willem TS Rookie Posts: 28

    I was Running KazaaLite++ (no or less spyware)
    But systray.exe is also a legimit MS app (checked in KnowledgeBase).
    Both my firewalls (ZoneAlarmPro and eSafe Desktop) didn't detect any communications of systray.exe with the internet.
    Besides Nic also has it in his windows\system32\.. directory, so he should worry too. There really isn't any reason though. Also my virusscan didn't detect any problem.

    Sorry for filling this thread now with posts that has little to do with the original problem, but I just wanted to have said the above.

  22. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    e-Willem: I believe that what Nodsu is saying is that although systray.exe is a real app, systemtray.exe isn't. It is a trojan and is using your registry to start up. Thats why *systemtray.exe* doesn't appear in my start up, nor in yirm's. You appear to have a trojan disguising itself by using a name similar to systray.exe (i.e. systemtray.exe).

    Kazaa is probably the largest source of Trojans and Viruses on the web. I've seen many infected PCs that were riddled with viruses, and all were using Kazaa. :eek:
  23. e-Willem

    e-Willem TS Rookie Posts: 28

    I'm very sorry to go on this,
    but I know when I have a trojan or any other virus on my HD.

    If you look carefully on my screenrprint of RegRun, you see a "knopinfo", that's dutch, don't know the english term (a little yellow) bar saying: systray.exe.
    That pops up when I put my cursor on SystemTray (which is the title as used by MS). I have no such files on my computer as systemtray.exe or sysstart.exe!
    Every file I get with Kazaa is virusscan first, never had a problem with that.

    I really appreciate your concern about me having a virus, but I havn't.

    I do hope that my solution to the original problem: Systray Annoyance has helped others.
    If so, please let me know.
    If the file isn't in your list, try putting it in manualy by pressing insert while All User Run is selected. Program U need to select is:
    C:\WINDOWS\system32\systray.exe and put in down the list.
  24. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    There is no need to apologise for posting. Glad to hear that everything is fine, though it is strange that you seem to be the only one that has that SystemTray entry in your start up. Thats why a virus was suspected, but as your file appear to be systray.exe, then you would appear to be safe. Maybe you should do a filesearch for systemtray.exe, to be sure that the tooltip info is genuine.
  25. yirm

    yirm TS Rookie

    Kazaa Lite, as opposed to Kazaa, should not install any adware, spyware or other malware. Of course, it's entirely possibble to download malware off of Kazaa Lite.

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