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