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XP SP3 Taskbar and Start missing

By Gouge ยท 12 replies
Jul 27, 2011
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  1. My wife was using her Toshiba Satelite laptop when suddenly the taskbar and start button disappeared. The desktop icons are still there.

    The laptop runs with Windows XP Home Edition SP3 - IE8.

    I've tried all I can think of to recover it with no success.
    • it is not hidden at the top, bottom or sides
    • the windows logo button does not bring up the taskbar window
    • the taskbar entry on Control Panel does not work

    I can only assume that the Taskbar files are corrupt or missing. The only cause that I can think of was running a set of Windows updates prior to the problem occuring.

    There is no recovery disc for the system so I can't run a Windows repair.

    I've run ESET NOD32, Superantispyware and Malwarebytes to eliminate any malware.

    Can you help. please?
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +423

    Do you know how to run a system restore? If so, give that a try. Choose a restore point before you ran the Windows Update. Usually a restore point is created automatically when you install any Windows updates. As you may know the good thing about System Restore is you can undo the restore if you don't like the results or you can choose another restore point if you want.
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Missing explorer.exe? Can you still look through folders?
  4. Gouge

    Gouge TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 129

    I've tried System Restore to several restore points but it fails every time. I even tried a restore point 6 months ago in desparation!

    I can get to all folders and programs through My Computer. Windows key works when used with other key combinations.

    I deleted explorer.exe in Task Manager and entered explorer as a new file, with no success.
  5. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +95

    Have you tried to login by using a different username/password ?
  6. Gouge

    Gouge TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 129

    I've created a new account with admin and the toolbar etc appears and works ok.

    Reverted back to the other account and the toolbar is still missing.
  7. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +95

    Probability is that your user profile has been damaged.

    One simple solution can be to move all your data/mails etc to the new user account.
  8. Gouge

    Gouge TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 129

    Yes, good idea, but how do I transfer desktop settings, dat, mail etc to new account.

    I don't want to transfer any damaged profiles!!
  9. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +95

    You can't transfer desktop settings, however, you can find your data in C:\Documents and Settings\Username (don't forget to select "Show Hidden Files" in Explorer settings). It will have all the pictures/documents/other content etc. Transferring emails can be bit tricky, as I have no idea which email client you are using (if any).
  10. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,296   +373

    What happens when you mouse over the area where the taskbar is supposed to be? Does it show up? If so, right click the taskbar ,click properties & on the box that pops up,on the taskbar tab, make sure auto hide the task bar is UN checked. Hope this helps.:)
  11. Gouge

    Gouge TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 129

    Nope, doesn't help.
    When logging onto my wife's account, the placeholder for the taskbar shows for a few seconds at the top of the screen, then there's no sign of it at all. I've tried to right click on the area but I just get the desktop menu.

    Archean is probably right about a damaged profile. A pity that I can't repair it!

    We use Outlook 2003 for e-mails. I've managed to copy all other files over to the new account but I'm not sure how to copy the e-mail data files or where to find them. Also got to set up a new wireless link from our main PC to the laptop. That should be straight forward.

    I'll report on progress.
  12. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +95

    I think outlook stores emails in C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

    You need to replace username with your damaged profile's username. Look for files with .pst extension(s), because it will contain all your email data. Once you have find this folder it would be good idea to make a backup copy before proceeding any further.
  13. Gouge

    Gouge TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 129

    OK - I set up a new account and spent ages setting up all of the files, e-mail accounts etc. I had one piece of data to copy across and, guess what, the task bar on my wife's account had mysteriously re-appeared. :confused:

    Everything now seems to be working fine, so I've set a restore point, just in case.

    The laptop is working slowly, but it needs more RAM so I'll see how that goes. If there's still a problem, I'll start a new thread.

    Thanks for all your help. guys.

    This thread can now be closed.:wave:

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