Task Manager on WinXP is screwed up. (please help)

By Zhin ยท 27 replies
Mar 22, 2004
  1. First and foremost before you dissmiss this problem as a 'typical' worm/virus/etc etc PLEASE READ what my problem is and all the measures I took to try to get rid of it that didn't work.

    For almost an entire month, whenever I bring up the Task Manager by hitting the 3 button salute on WinXP Pro, when it shows up, the menu bars and tabs at the top portion of the Task Manager is invisible. Like, it's non existent and I can click straight through it when I try to look for it.

    I personally find this very alarming because this means there's a peace of malignant something hidden in my OS that's attempting to hide itself from one of those Tabs that shows all the processes that are running in the background.

    These are the steps I've taken that have not worked at all. All these are the most latest versions.

    1) Norton Antivirus
    2) Symantec.com
    3) Mcafee.com
    4) Adaware
    5) The Cleaner

    I am completely confuzzled and frustrated because nobody I know has any ideas on how to fix this small yet very irritating problem.

    I know for a fact a clean format and reinstall will get rid of it but I have too much important data and not enough time to do this.

    Also an interesting fact is that The Cleaner found something called "lstbar" but when I looked it up on the Norton website it's discription does not match the problem I have.

    I also do not have that Norton software which affects the task Manager installed in my computer. So that isn't the problem either.

    Out of desperation I even ran Windows Update in hope that somehow it would make the damn problem go away. Of course that didn't work.

    Well, so does anyone have answers or even clues on how I can fix this problem??

    Thanky ou for reading and I hope you find this problem a challenge to your l33t tech knowledge. :p So go ahead, help me tackle this problem. :p
  2. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Go here and download Hijackthis, run it, and post the log back here. The contents of that log may help to shed some light on your problem, although, it sounds more like corrupted system files than malware.
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65


    The answer is simple. Double click on the border of your task manager. Your normal controls will reappear. The border is the thick, empty space along the sides of the task manager.

    This is by design.

    If you'd like to place it in graph-only mode again, double click on the same border again.
  4. Zhin

    Zhin TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Omg I feel like dumb. Moderator, could you lock this thread? lol
  5. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Do not feel bad at all. I too, suffered the same problem.

    ... And there was a thread several months ago dealing with the same topic..

    Many forum members (many senior members I might add) here really put their heads together to figure that one out. :)

    The easiest way to learn is from others, usually. So now you know.

    I'm just glad that was the problem, rather than something else.
  6. lowman

    lowman TS Rookie Posts: 380

    I have to admit - I fell prey to this exact same issue 2 weeks ago, and it drove me absolutely mad. And I only figured it out when I started clicking all over the task manager box out of frustration asking "Where are my buttons?!?!?!?!?!"...

    Glad to see it got resolved...and Rick...your Avatar absolutely kills me every time I look at it...CLASSIC!!! :)
  7. willingforeplay

    willingforeplay TS Rookie

    taskmanager wont show tabs

    omg i have looked for week's for the answer for this one. ever where i looked said it was a virus. i ran alot of spyware and virus programs and show no virus. then i ran into this site and found the answer. all i had too do was double click on the side of the taskmanager...lol how hard was that. not only that but this is the only site with the right answer. thanks for all your help and post that i read. without joining up and you bet i did join up once i saw you guys do things the right way. thanks again and great website.
  8. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    Thank you very much. I'm glad we could get you straightened out.
    Also thanks for the compliments, it's always great to hear what we are doing here is appreciated.

    :wave: Welcome to TechSpot :wave:
    Hope to see you stick around and hopefully help others :)
  9. majik624

    majik624 TS Rookie

    I spent days looking for the solution to this. I feel stupid that the fix was this easy. I registered just to post this. This site is awesome!
  10. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    No need to feel stupid, but thanks for the compliments again. :)
  11. thefunkychook

    thefunkychook TS Rookie

    And I had the same problem too... weird... you'd think that microsoft would put in some instructions on how to get the menus and tabs back...

    And why did it happen in the first place??? I guess there are some things one will never know....
  12. BlackGhost

    BlackGhost TS Rookie

    APPLAUSE to rick!! i just read about this in my PC magazine... when i read it, i was laughing so hard. But it is true, many people know nothing of this little "feature." I played a prank once on a friend, and i hid everything, and he NEVER knew how it happened. I had to tell him before he reformatted his hard drive though...
    rick, i salute you.

  13. BlackLungz

    BlackLungz TS Rookie

    how it happened with me

    I'm not sure about everyone else, but my taskbar issue happened with the doubleclick cookie.....lol

    I wanted to move the window out of the way, and, well, bingo.

    took awhile, glad I found this site.
  14. EDenney

    EDenney TS Rookie

    $#@!$!%#@ Microsoft!

    :mad: I'm a power user with 20+ years of PC experience and I've been running XP Pro on all of my systems for the last 3-4 years. After going through all of the usual motions that most everyone else who fell prey to this went through, I just posted a lengthy message on ElderGeek.com relating this problem and begging for help. I recently purchased two new laptops with clean installs of XP Home on them and apparently whoever configured the systems switched the taskbar to that mode which I had never seen before.

    My hard drive light has been lit up solid quite frequently for no reasonable reason based on what I have installed and running (something I still have to track down but couldn't until now because I couldn't view and interact with my running processes!). That only fueled my fear that a virus had infected my system, and was affecting my task manager as a means of protecting itself (even though I'd ran multiple scans with multiple virus and spyware scanners searching for the culprit to no avail) . To make matters worse, while I have tons of experience with XP Pro and I know that there are very few practical differences between XP Pro and XP Home, I've barely touched XP Home until now so I couldn't be sure this issue wasn't somehow related to a difference betwen Pro and Home.

    Thanks to whoever posted the rediculously simple solution to this problem. I wonder how many people have accidentally got their task manager into this mode or like me, purchased a new system with this default configuration, and spent hours searching their system for viruses or spyware, or have re-installed service packs or even the entire OS in an attempt to resolve this problem...?! Fortunately I didn't go nearly that far before I found the solution, but I was serioulsy considering upgrading my laptop to XP Pro in an attempt to fix it!
  15. Craig720

    Craig720 TS Rookie

    I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to you, sir.

    I banged my head up against this for a few hours yesterday, to no avail, and this was after I was forced to reinstall Firefox, so I thought I had screwed up in a major way.

    On another note, my login and password were not recognized by this site. Surprise! Neither was my Yahoo email address. Double surprise! I swear I registered and all that last year, but whatever.

    I went through the whole signup process again. I felt I had to say thank you for giving me a hand with my Task Manager, which I cannot do without.

    -- Craig
  16. Frosty555

    Frosty555 TS Rookie


    I'd like to say THANK YOU as well! This was really bothering me, I thought something strange had happened to my windows, or I had disabled a service that was unknowingly causing the problem.

    I'm so glad I ran into this page! I would still be hammering my head on the wall about it if I hadn't.


    What a stupid feature! :grinthumb


    p.s. I also just signed up solely for the purpose of saying thank you here, hahaha
  17. ektorbarajas

    ektorbarajas TS Rookie

    One more Thank you !!!

    Well. I was another dumb who has the same task manager problem and did everything what others were doing.... and by browsing the internet found the answer at your site..

    So I browsed further and found that Techspot is an incredible site with a lot of knowledge.

    And here I am.. as a registered user

    Thanks to all of you !!!
  18. MaXtor

    MaXtor TS Booster Posts: 149   +39

    I think everyone who has used windows xp has done this accidently and started freaking out. I remember last year, no wait its 2006, the year before last I ctrl+alt+deleted and I was like what the hmm. I swear to God I spent over 12 hours trying to fix it, updated all my antivirus and spyware programs. Did tons of scans. Nothing found. So I thought it was a problem with the taskmanager itself so I downloaded a new one to replace it, and it had the same problem. Then by accident I double clicked and woah, there it all was. So I double clicked again and it went away. I was so mad, why did microsoft go and do that. Jerks.

    From what I see, it is meant to be able to stick in the corner of your screen for easy access to try and save yourself from all the XP mess ups (thats the nice way of putting it).
  19. toejam003

    toejam003 TS Rookie

    What happens if it says Task Manager has been disabled by the administrator instead? and nothing was done to change that personally....
  20. strych9

    strych9 TS Rookie

    Yep, I also just registered at TechSpot after reading this thread. Thanks
  21. SirStrider

    SirStrider TS Rookie

    HELP - almost similar problem

    I was very lucky to stumble into the Task Manager small footprint accidentally several years ago, and use it all the time. There are several discussions of this now on the MS KB (sorry, I am desperate).

    Came accross this post - been searching everywhere for a solution to my almost related problem, so I joined, hoping for a solution.

    It may sound trivial, but I like to "hide when minimized" Task Manager, and just have the dynamic icon in the system tray to check if something is tying up my processor. On my XP Pro laptop, this icon appears 95% of the time. On my XP Home desktop, it may appear on the first or second start of Task Manager, or it may take 20 or 30 tries of starting and exiting Task Manager to get it to appear. VERY FRUSTRATING!!!

    It does not seem to matter which Task Manager options are set, nor does it matter how I start Task manager (task bar, Cntrl+Alt+Del, or Cntrl+Shift+Esc).

    Anyone know anything about this? Can't find any mention of this icon on MS support or anywhere else.

    thx :confused:
  22. waxking1

    waxking1 TS Rookie

    Guess I was lucky. I thought it was a virus also. I ran a virus scan(found one virus puke: ) and a couple different spyware scans. I did a search and found this site and started reading. All told, I only spent a couple of hours solving the problem. Thanks for the help, I was also thinking it was a virus using the task manager to hide.
  23. sapasha

    sapasha TS Rookie

    Thanks a lot. I had the same problem with my task manager. I searched thru google and hit this spot. I am now a registered member of techspot. Hi everyone.
  24. ZVI

    ZVI TS Rookie

    Hey thanks, this was realy helpful.
    That is such a stupid setup. I guess the ppl who made it have an interesting sense of humor.

    I also signed up because of finding this and becoming impressed with the forum.
  25. lamkky

    lamkky TS Rookie

    A Million Thanks to you guys....I registered to the site just for this. THANKS a lot...
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