Windows XP – Suddenly lost the ability to minimize programs onto the taskbar

Subtitle:


I hate it when my computer decides to do something strange all by itself.


 


Sub-Subtitle:


How to search properly with Google.


 


Friday started out like any other day. I installed some new software on my home PC and rebooted, pretty normal stuff. Upon logging back into my machine, I noticed things were a little off. When I minimize anything, it did not show up on the taskbar. Hmm, so I tried the old Alt-Tab, which still worked like a charm. Ok, time to play with the taskbar. If I unchecked all of the Toolbars, I would only get a very slim line of a taskbar, that I could not resize or relocate (even with Lock the taskbar unchecked).


 


Time to search for an answer, because I will miss seeing my application on the taskbar! I try http://support.microsoft.com/ with varies queries (none of which really give me anything):


·        XP loses taskbar


·        Windows XP loses taskbar


·        windows XP minimize applications taskbar


·        windows XP minimize applications


Dang, that got me nowhere! Nothing even remotely close came up.


 


Hmm, I wonder if any of the taskbar tools in the world can help? So, I go to http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx and get Tweak UI. You can do lots of cool things with it, but it does not help my current problem.


 


Wait, I find an Alt-Tab replacement on the page, its called Taskswitch.exe. Cool, so I give that a try. Dang, it works great, by my taskbar problem remains.


 


Ok, time to hit Google, why didn’t I just start with Google? So, I try various searches:


·        taskbar not minimizing applications


·        taskbar this, task bar that (meaning too many variations to post them all).


Nothing for my problem yet, but a lot of hits for Raymond Chen’s Blog The Old New Thing – http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/default.aspx. He some some great articles on it, with lots of topics, including XP.


 


I see that Raymond did indeed blog about this. He said that the taskbar can become messed up because of an application that installs improperly. Ok, so I uninstall the last application. I then rebooted my PC with my fingers crossed. Nothing changed. So I install the application again, because I liked it. ExplorerXP http://www.explorerxp.com/ works great and is priced right J


 


So lets recap, I tired support.microsoft.com, Google, various blogs, Tweak UI, Taskswitch, uninstalling ExplorerXP, installing ExplorerXP, rebooting, lots of playing with the taskbar and toolbars that go with it, looking for viruses (yes, I even thought of that). So, I am done right? Wrong, it is time to go back to Google. Its now Sunday, I know, I am slow, but I really have not spent enough time with this problem yet to fix it, and I will not let my computer beat me!


I knew Google could find the answer; I just needed to reword my search. So I try:


·        Programs aren’t minimized


 


Bam! A hit and it looks good. Hmm, go to http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm and look for line 240 on the left side. Got it. Ok, what have I got to lose? So, I run the script and it works like a champ. Problem solved.


 


So what is the moral of the story? That sometimes computers mess up and we just have to deal with it? No, that can’t be right. That no matter how much you “think” you know about computers, they will still try and mess you up? No, that can’t be right. How about if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again. Hmm, that sounds better. Searching is not an exact science. I kept using the word application, but the answer was with the term program. Both mean the same thing, but the articles I wanted like the word program. I find that coming back an hour later or as in this case, a day later makes a world of difference when searching. You can also ask someone else what term(s) they would use. Lastly, never give up, the Internet today is huge. You are not the first person to experience this issue, and you won’t be the last.

131 thoughts on “Windows XP – Suddenly lost the ability to minimize programs onto the taskbar”

  1. Reading your post I found my exact problem. Your final solution also fixed my machine. As a follow up to search terms you were mentioning I found you by Google "xp minimize off taskbar". Many roads lead to a solution on t’interweb

  2. Spot on…. I did system restore from the day I remembered having problems with my printer driver… Got you searching in google… "xp minimize problems"… Thanks mate…. spot on….

  3. I can’t beleive it, I used the google search and found your web page. bingo my problem is fixed. now I could see my lovely minimized programs onto the taskbar.

    Thank you very much

    God bless you

  4. Hi, kelly’s webpage really helps a lot of friends. But at the page itself it wrote

    "NOTE: If your anti-virus software warns you of a "malicious" script, this is normal if you have "Script Safe" or similar technology enabled. These scripts are not malicious, but they do make changes to the System Registry.

    "

    When the script start running, the norton anti-virus prompt me that it is malicious and it is high risk. So shall i contiune running the script? Anyone had this problem too?

  5. OMGoodness, thank you profusely for posting your article, Rodney. This problem occurred for the second time on my computer… the first time I was advised I would have to reformat – which I did, and what a PAIN!

    This time, I researched and found your Blog and then went to http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm .

    Is there anyone who can intelligently say what makes this problem occur? I always feel more comfortable knowing WHY.

    Susan

  6. Thank you for your help. I lost my taskbar when explorer hanged up when connecting SSL secured network place with untrusted sertificate.

    Saved me lots of time and tears. Googled with words "windows xp taskbar lost".

  7. Fantastic sorted problem in the matter of seconds i was concerned when anti virus said it was high risk threat but others had also raised concern but had gone ahead and run the programme as i did and it works brilliantly.

  8. I can only agree with the other posts on here. You’re awesome!! Thanks for pioneering the search. I mean, I think I would’ve never found Kelly’s Korner this fast by myself. In fact I often have made the experience that it’s easier to keep the search words very general, thereby getting to somebody else’s blog who will offer more specific clues. I just searched: "windows xp taskbar issues". I had the same problem on my old computer and just gave up finding a solution after a day, b/c I thought that it was the old age of my HD. But this time my computer was brand-new – so thanks again for paving the way for all of us…relying on Alt-Tab for more than a day is very annoying 🙂

  9. You Da MAN! This has easily got to be one of the most annoying problems ive come across in my helpdesk career to date!

    Thanks for sharing the knowledge.

  10. Dude… thank you!!!!!

    I lost is a couple of months ago.. your blog(?) took me to the script (line 240) and it’s all good now.. thanks buddy!!!

  11. Help! It won't work on my computer! All of you say thanks its amazing and i'm still asking is there anything else i can do it wont work. HELP!!!!!

  12. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for making my day.

    For those of you with a corporate PC (to say that your PC’s severely restricted):

    Open Windows Explorer, Open the menu Tools, Click on Folder Options, Open the tab File Types, Click on the heading “File Types”, Look for the type “VBScript Script File”, Click on the button Advanced, Under Actions click the button New, Fill the box Action with “Open”, Fill the box ‘Application used to perform action’ with “C:\WINNT\system32\wscript.exe” (or replace WINNT with your Windows directory), click the button OK, click the second button OK, click the third button OK.

    Afterwards normally you’ll be able to run the VBS Script.

  13. Thank you so much. I too searched microsoft and google and eventally found your site with the link. It works so fast too.

  14. You are a STAR.

    After the best part of a morning trying and resetting everything I could think of I eventually discovered this tip which worked immediately.

    I can’t be certain but I have a hunch the problem coincided with installing Snapfisk Quickload.

  15. I can’t believe how much time I have spent. I even called Microsoft. You were the only one to help…now, it works great!!!!!

  16. I get the 0x80041001 error when i try to run it, and sence so little is known about the error and it would take forever to try to fix, could someone edit the commands to make this a .bat file so errors could be bypassed?

  17. Thanks! I added some new quick launch items and then out of no where my taskbar got really big and then some things dissapeared. I got my icons back but lost my open program tabs. It only took me about 15 minutes to fix the problem (thanks to you) and now its back to normal. Well hopefully because I havent tried it yet but it should work. Thanks.

  18. Thanks alot I did the google search first thing and found this post with the programs page and it worked for me 🙂

  19. COMPUTER PREOBLEMS ALWAYS TOO ANOYYING!

    THANKS FOR YOUR KINDNESS IN SHARIN THE SOLUTION……IT HELPS!

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH

  20. I had this problem with a previous install and never fixed it, but when it happened again on my clean install…#%$@#! U saved me such a head ache!

  21. If you have WindowBlinds try it first

    and if so uncheck
    (Windows should minimize to the system tray instead of the taskbar)

    to get their click on the Icon by the clock then click on SETTINGS

  22. THHHHHHAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNKK YOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!! for someone like me who is definitely NOT computer literate, that was great, thanks agen

  23. THANK U SO MUCH!!! u dnt no hw much i appreceat it!!! (i know the spelling sucks) lol. thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!

  24. oh,

    I don’t know how to send thanks to you.

    I really happy when I read this article. I have same problems, but now taskbar work correctly.

    Thanks you very much.

  25. I had this problem and searched ALL over the place before I ran into your article. Thankfully, I kept reading it to the end to come across the fix that saved my taskbar. Thanks a million.

  26. I had this problem and searched ALL over the place before I ran into your article. Thankfully, I kept reading it to the end to come across the fix that saved my taskbar. Thanks a million.

  27. Rod. Thank you so much.!!! It really works. after spending more than eight hours trying to solve by self. I found you page and BAM.! Problem Solved.

    I would like to translate part of your article into spansih in order to share your experience with other language community.

    Thank you So Much.!

    **********

    El autor Rodney R. Fournier dice:

    “Recapitulando, yo me agoté utilizando support.microsoft.com, Google, varias páginas web, Tweak UI, Taskswitch, desinstalando ExplorerXP, instalando ExplorerXP, reiniciando la computadora, tratando de solucionarlo a través del taskbar y toolbars, buscando por virus (Si, también pensé en eso). Entonces lo estoy haciendo bien? Incorrecto, es tiempo de volver a buscar en Google. Hoy es Domingo y yo se que soy lento pero en realidad todavía no he empleado mucho tiempo para solucionar este problema y no voy a dejar que computadora me derrote.!
    Yo sabia en que Google podria encontrar la respuesta, entonces intenté
    • Programs aren’t minimized

    Bam! Que buen golpe de suerte y se ve bien. Hmm, ir a http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm y buscar en la línea 240 en el lado izquierdo. Lo tengo. Bien, Que tengo que perder? Entonces corrí el programa y funciono con arte de magia. Problema Solucionado.”

  28. AWESOME MATE!! Fixed my problem I love blogs & websites like this that REALLY work, what a headache workin out how to fix this.Thanks sooooooooo much your a jem

  29. I had the same annoyance with the minimised windows. Using system restore gave temporary relief. I hope this will be more permanant; fingers crossed.

  30. I’d lived with this annoying problem for several years(!!) having failed to find any solution when it first happened. Many thanks for pointing me towards the solution. My next problem is to get out of the Alt + Tab habit…

  31. The story is nice and useful at the same time. I also had the same problem and now it’s solved thanks to you! 🙂

  32. “You are not the first person to experience this issue, and you won’t be the last.” lol

    i jus experience it, n thz to u, i’ve jus solve it.thz

  33. Thanks a million! Whenever I encounter this problem, I have to do a system restore. It is so annoying and it doesn’t work all the time!
    Ah you are my saviour!

  34. Thank you very much this has solved my problem as well!! I googled this page on second day by changing the key word and luckily to know kelly’s corner.

  35. Thanks you so much!! This also solved the problem on my work PC. I have this problem for over half a year, I have so glad that it is finally fixed! The guys at helpdesk told me the only solution was to reimage my computer….

  36. Thanks a lot! After a couple of hours search through the Internet my taskbar got fixed in the proper way!
    It’s unbelievable how difficult is to find info regarding so simple problems…

  37. UAU that is amazing, I was also looking for something to solve my problem. Thank you.
    Sometimes is hard… but something that i learn, to look always in english. Cause i’m portuguese.
    Well thanks and i already put it on the favorites.
    (sorry for the bad speeling)

  38. Thank you so much for posting this link. As said many time previously, this fixed everything! We were about to start paying people to look at.
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

  39. Hey dude, thanks. I was really very tensed about this but you saved my PC. Thanks, it worked perfectly and my problem was solved.

  40. Thank you! Thank you! Thank You! I couldn’t find the programs in my Add/Remove Programs list either so I tried the other option and WOW!!! Everything is fixed in 10 seconds!!! SO GRATFUL!!!!!

  41. The above link worked for me which was “http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm and look for line 240 on the left side”

    Many thanks. I was literally getting frustrated before trying this and it just fixed it!

    Thanks a lot again.

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