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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger kmurdock's Avatar
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    Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP SP2)

    Hi all,

    Since I've searched the forums for "missing icons" and found threads on this subject, I know this is an issue that doesn't have any easy answers.

    I don't hide inactive icons. And this is something that just started a week or two ago with the disappearance of the "safely remove hardware" icon. That didn't make me hyperventilate, but today... I lost a good half of the icons I usually have in the system tray, including One Note, Outlook and mail notification, volume control, Logitech bluetooth program... All have been there until today. To the best of my knowledge, I did nothing to cause this sudden change.

    When I check the checkbox to hide inactive icons and click customize, just to look around, the icons look screwy. See attached screen shot.

    Other than all the folder icons (!!), the icon that caught my eye is the Google desktop icon -- which I've uninstalled from my desktop. I don't know about other folk, but I've had a world of troubles as a result of installing Google Desktop and Google Toolbar for I.E. If I tried to view add-in toolbars in I.E., that list was also screwy -- if I clicked on one name, it would unload a different add-in. This phenomenon went away when I uninstalled Google's toolbar.

    It's this behavior that makes me suspicious of Google's add-ins and my system tray. Even though I've uninstalled, I wonder if I have any left-over traces (just the lingering icon make me wonder that). Getting information from Google is unsatisfactory at best. Does anyone have any info on how to expunge Google scat from a computer?

    Now, it may ultimately not fix my system tray -- that issue looks like a moving target on an active fault line. But it might be a start.

    Thanks in advance.
    Kim

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP SP2)

    Have you tried System Restore ??
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  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger kmurdock's Avatar
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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP SP2)

    Good thought, but I had Google Desktop for longer than I have restore points.

    K

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    5 Star Lounger kmurdock's Avatar
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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP SP2)

    Hi Doc,

    I kept looking on the internet and decided that "Remove Past Items From the Notification Area" - a vbs script from MVP site Kelly's Korner that's undoubtedly been quoted here before - might at least be helpful in clearing out the dead wood in my Taskbar setup (refer again to the screen shot above). Including the Google Desktop icon.

    Despite the fact that NAV strongly recommended again running the script, I did anyway. My list is much shorter and the icons actually seem to match up with the programs (see new screen shot). I've gotten back all the icons in my notification area, but I haven't rebooted yet. I did notice that when I access the Taskbar setup dialog, it takes a long time for the dialog to close after clicking OK, even if I haven't changed anything. Don't remember if that way always true...

    Even if this hasn't cured it, I have made a little progress. If anyone has any further wisdom, I will certainly appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Kim

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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by Argus on 24-Jun-07 01:47. Update, due to OP's reply.)</P>"When I check the checkbox to hide inactive icons and click customize, just to look around, the icons look screwy. See attached screen shot."

    Weird looking icons in the dialog Customize Notifications, for icons in the System tray (Notification area, whatever) is nothing unusual.

    In the list you will find both Current Items and Past Items; and for Past Items you may find that an entry isn't showing the correct icon, it may even show an uninstalled program's icon together with some completely different task. I would say, in this list Past Items are more often wrong than correct, but the experience in this area may depend on what programs has been installed and used, and how frequently one install and removes etc.

    It is mentioned on several places on the net how to clear the list of icons in the Customize Notifications dialog, for example at the Elder:
    Notification Area - Remove Past Icons from List
    http://www.theeldergeek.com/notification_area.htm

    So to start, I would say that what you may have experienced with IE add-ins (Google toolbar) etc. doesn't have a connection to your System tray problems.

    Added: See you have found the script at Kelly's. Yes, it can be done by script or manually.

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    5 Star Lounger kmurdock's Avatar
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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP

    Thanks for your reply, Argus.

    I think you're right and that there was no correlation. Darn. I wanted to blame Google for something.

    Best,
    Kim

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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP SP2)

    Kelly's "fix" would have been my next suggestion. Good thought !! <img src=/S/thumbup.gif border=0 alt=thumbup width=15 height=15>
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    5 Star Lounger st3333ve's Avatar
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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP SP2)

    I assume this post is probably unnecessary, but just in case:

    In your 3rd post, you say "I haven't rebooted yet." I assume you were probably just saying that you hadn't rebooted since running Kelly's script. But in case you in fact hadn't rebooted since most of the icons disappeared, I thought I'd mention that whenever I've faced disappearing Notification Area icons in WinXP (and I don't experience that very often), I think they've always come back on the next reboot. So I'd always try a reboot before trying any other fix for that particular aggravation.

  9. #9
    5 Star Lounger kmurdock's Avatar
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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP SP2)

    Thanks st3333ve,

    Yep, I did reboot. It's one of my first tricks and unfortunately didn't work. I also shut down my computer every night. It's so second nature to me that I never think to mention it.

    When I turned on my computer this a.m., the Notification Area once again did not have all my icons. Even after using Kelly's script, I'm missing a couple. So the search continues. I've read a lot about this now, and there doesn't seem to be any clear-cut fix. But at least now I know that it's called the "Notification Area" and not the system tray. Always look on the bright side!

    Kim <img src=/S/bananas.gif border=0 alt=bananas width=33 height=35>

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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP SP2)

    Have you checked the "StartUP" using "MSCONFIG" to see if in fact these items are being started?

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP

    I haven't chimed in so far because you said you've searched The Lounge so you obviously know that I'm one of the folks who's had this problem since the creation of WinXP and as far as I know, there IS NO clear cut answer or solution. It STILL happens to me periodically and I've never found something that I could say for sure - hey that fixes the problem. The two prominent things that happen in my case is that when I look in the customize screens (as you've shown above), one or more elements will have dropped down into the "Past Items" section without reason, causing it not to show in the tray. The second is that, since I don't hide any, same as you, one or more in the current list will show up as "hide when inactive." Sometimes it takes me three or four reboots to make things drift back to normal.

    This is something similar to what Dave said. Here's one of my examples. My Palm Synch software is supposed to show an icon in the tray and it goes missing. BUT, if I look in Task Manager, the <img src=/w3timages/censored.gif alt=censored border=0> thing will show as running. If I shut it down from Task Manager and then rerun it, it will re-appear in the tray. I have the same or similar problem with others, like the remove hardware icon, volume control and sometimes even Zone Alarm, which made me nervous that my firewall wasn't running, but it was and is.

    Very frustrating problem and I don't think we'll ever see a fix, since I can't imagine MS spending any time on a "minor" problem like this. Sorry, I know I'm not being very motivational, but this one has been here since Day One!

  12. #12
    5 Star Lounger kmurdock's Avatar
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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP SP2)

    Yes. They are all starting up.

    Thanks,
    Kim

  13. #13
    5 Star Lounger kmurdock's Avatar
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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP

    Yes, your thread was among the many I read and helped me realize there isn't one solution. Which makes me wonder if there isn't one cause -- at least it looks as if there isn't one cause. What I mean to say is that there may be several different combinations of things which cause the Notification Area to become wonky -- which may be why MSFT hasn't solved it. If it's a moving target for us, it is for them, too. I'm not usually so forgiving -- it's their darned O/S, after all.

    Thanks much for your comments.
    Kim

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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP

    Do you have Folder Options set to Launch Folder Windows in a Separate Process?

    (Win Explorer (or whatever) > Tools > Folder Options > View tab.)

    It's the programs that are responsible for what they put in the tray (Notification area, whatever), and maybe not all behave as they should. That said, it is known that at an explorer.exe crash sometimes the tray will not become populated again with all the programs that should be there. Thus my initial question.


    Minor comment/slightly off-topic: Not that there are bugs in the OS, but there are also a bunch of sloppy written programs. If your interested you can take a look at a book that Raymond Chen at MS has written (Raymond Chen's blog). It's possible to download some sample chapters (in PDF). Chapter one is about interface design, a short chapter that can be interesting and amusing to understand why things look like they do (for those who didn't know why they called it Start button etc.).

    But it is Bonus Chapter 1 that really shows some odd things programmers have tried. I'm no programmer (even though as most engineers been forced to learn some language during ed.), but bonus chapter 1 is hilarious is some parts.

    The book: The Old New Thing: Practical Development Throughout the Evolution of Windows. Sample chapters are at the end of the page.
    His post about the book: Okay, I changed my mind, I wrote a book after all

  15. #15
    5 Star Lounger kmurdock's Avatar
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    Re: Missing System Tray Icons -- a new twist? (XP

    Hey Argus,

    No, I don't have folder options set to launch in a separate process. Is that good or bad?

    I have had the feeling all along that something I've installed and/or run on my computer has caused this (hence my j'Accuse aimed at Google). I have also recently used Citrix's GoToMeeting (which is one of the icons missing right now...).

    K

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