Disappearing Running Programs From My Taskbar

by on May 13, 2009

Q: I’ve had this problem for a couple of weeks now. All the application icons in my taskbar have disappeared. The quick launch, desktop and other toolbar icons are still there though, and only the program ones aren’t showing. I’ve resulted to hitting alt+tab to switch between all the windows that I’ve got open. I’ve gotten used to it admittedly, but I’d really like my icons back. I am running Windows XP.

A: For the problem of disappearing programs from your task, there is a commonly cited solution at Ask Leo:

“Restoring [your currently running programs], while not obvious, is not hard. It appears to only need a registry change and a restart of Windows Explorer.

Kelly Theriot, a Microsoft MVP, has a set of tweaks available at Kelly’s Korner. They’re fairly light on documentation, and perhaps even a bit techie if you want to understand them. On the tweaks page scroll down to item #240, and click on “Programs Aren’t Minimized in the Taskbar”. That will run, or download, a “vbs” (VBScript) program which will, after confirming, reset the Taskbar’s properties. Note that several other aspects of the Taskbar will also be reset to their default states, but you should get your “running programs” area back.”

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