Quick fix for disappearing system tray icons

When your network, volume, clock, or other icons are missing from the system tray, returning them takes just a few seconds.

For whatever reason, the last time I booted my Vista laptop the network icon was missing from its usual spot next to the clock in the system tray.

I right-clicked the Start button, chose Properties, and clicked the Notification Area tab to recheck this option under "System icons," but it was grayed out.

I found the solution on Colin Cochrane's blog. Here are the steps in a nutshell:

Back up the Registry by creating a restore point.
Press the Windows key, type regedit, and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
Navigate to and select HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify.
Delete both IconStreams and PastIconStream in the right pane.
Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete and select Start Task Manager.
Select the Processes tab, choose explorer.exe, and click End Process.
Choose the Applications tab, click New Task, enter explorer.exe in the text box, and press Enter.

Your icons should reappear.

Windows Vista Task Manager's Create New Task dialog box
Return missing icons to Vista's system tray by editing the Registry, stopping explorer.exe, and restarting the process via Task Manager. Microsoft

Another option for taskbar problems is the free Taskbar Repair Tool Plus, which I found on Kelly Theriot's Kelly's Korner.

Tomorrow: the best OpenOffice.org templates and clipart.

About the author

    Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.



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