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Site Updated 01/15/08


System Tray Icon Missing from System Tray in Windows XP

Reader William writes:
After the computer started, not all icons that should be present in the system tray (nowadays also called notification area) of the task bar is showing. Often, one or more icons are missing and disappearing from the task bar notication area.

This is a known problem, or a bug of Windows XP. It has nothing to do with Hide Inactive Icons that tidy up your notification area.

The exact cause for the problem is unknown. According to Microsoft, the problem can be caused by the Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP) which discovers Universal Plug and Play devices on your network.

The  Microsoft Knowledge Base may not show exactly the same symptom with notification area icons not appearing issue, as it also has other symptoms which are listed below:


Possible solutions are many, although none confirmed to be working perfectly. If you have the symptoms as mentioned by Microsoft above, you can try out the resolution suggested by Microsoft to resolve this behavior. Note that Microsoft’s solution will disable the SSDP Discovery Service, which caused new devices on the network "Cannot be found automatically" errors.

1. Right-click My Computer, and then click Manage.
2. Click Services and Applications.
3. Double-click Services.
Alternatively, Press the Windows Key plus R to bring up the Run command line and type the following into the command line then click OK

services.msc /s

4. In the Services list, right-click SSDP Discovery Service, and then click Properties.
5. On the General tab, in the Startup type drop-down list, click Disabled.
6. Click OK.

If it doesn’t work, the alternative would be to disable both SSDP Discovery Service and Universal Plug and Play Device Host. Repeat the above steps for both services.

You may try to choose Automatic at step 5 instead of Disabled, as it’s reported some people have had success with this alternative.

If you need Universal Plug and Play services and wouldn’t want to disable it, a work-a-round is shown below: 
NOTE: The steps below (only applicable on Windows XP with Service Pack 2):

1. Open My Network Places.
2. Click Hide Icons for Networked uPnP Devices at the Tasks panel.
3. For Windows Classic theme users, click Tools and the Folder Options in Windows Explorer, and then select Show Common Tasks in Folders to see the option specified in step 2.


1. Open Control Panel.
2. Click Add or Remove Programs.
3. Click Add/Remove Windows Components.
4. Select Networking Services.
5. Click Details button.
6. Uncheck (remove) the UPnP User Interface.
7. Click OK.

The most reliable way to solve the problem is to logout and then login again to Windows XP. In most instances this will resolve the issue for the session you are in

If you don’t want to logout and login to Windows XP after starting the PC, Disable Automatic Logon as a possible way to solve the issue by the following steps:

1. Click on Start.
2. Click on Run.
3. Type “control userpasswords2″.
4. Click OK.
5. Check (Select) Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer.
6. Click OK.

Of curse if you do not want to have to logon every time Windows XP starts, this is not the solution for you. 

Some readers have reported the following as causing the problem:

If none of the above fix your problem then I suggest that you take a look at what is loading at startup and determine if after installing a new bit of software the problem occurred. If so, take a look at the programs Properties or Option heading. There should be an option to not load at Windows Startup. Use that option and then reboot. See if the problem goes away.

Missing DLL Balks Install

Q: Sometimes when I try to install a program, I receive a message that reads "Unable to locate component: this application has failed to start because framedyn.dll was not found. Reinstalling the application may fix this problem." But when I reinstall, the problems keep on coming. — Luis

A: When a system DLL turns up missing, you can often restore it from a spare copy that Microsoft Windows keeps. But you have to know where to put it! I used Google to search for the name of your missing file; results reveal that it should be in the wbem folder below the System32 folder.

Launch Windows Explorer, enter in its Address bar %systemroot%\system32\wbem, and press Enter. This can also be done by pressing the Windows Key and R and typing the command into the Open command line. Look for the file in the right-hand pane. If it's not present, launch another Windows Explorer window and enter %systemroot%\system32\dllcache. Find the file framedyn.dll in this folder. Right-click the file and choose Copy. Now switch to the other Windows Explorer window, right-click in the right-hand pane (but not on a file) and choose Paste.

What if the file is present but Windows says it can't find it? The problem may be that the PATH environment variable, which tells Windows where to look, is corrupted or missing. Right-click My Computer and choose Properties. Click the Advanced tab in the System Properties dialog that appears, and click the Environment Variables button. In the System Variable section (the lower section), double-click the PATH variable. Carefully scan the data for this variable (it will be a pain—long text in a small box!). You're looking for the text %SystemRoot%\System32\wbem. If this is not present, append a semicolon at the end of the path and then add %SystemRoot%\System32\wbem. One or the other of these techniques should cure the problem.

Disk Boot Failure:

Reader Tom Writes:

Q I'm receiving a "disk boot failure" error each day when I try to boot up my desktop. What does this mean exactly? It appears, with rare exceptions, only when the PC is started each morning. Once or twice in the six weeks since I purchased the computer, the error did not appear. If I shut the PC down and restart it, everything appears to run OK. I've run diagnostics on all the hardware, followed the recommendations on the HP site to correct this error, run Chkdsk, and talked to the HP tech support. The only thing left is to wipe my hard drive and do a system recovery. Before doing that, I need to know if there is anything else I can try.

QOn again off again error messages are by far the hardest to correct but lets give it a shot.  Tom, the disk boot failure could come from a number of sources. 

Warning! This suggestion instructs you to edit your Basic Input/Output System (BIOS). Know that if something is incorrect here it may force you to go to a computer repair store and have your BIOS re-established. BLCOW, Bohunky0 nor any of its affiliates will be held responsible for any damage you may do. In a word? Be care full and make sure that you write down everything you do in the BIOS Editor.

First, check your BIOS settings to see if S.M.A.R.T drive reporting is enabled. If it is, disable it and give it a test run of 2-3 days under a regular rebooting cycle to see if the error persists. S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology)is a somewhat outdated standard developed as an "early warning" system to detect hard disk issues. If your desktop is newer, it may not even be available as an option as it is not widely used these days. The SMART technology while useful under certain circumstances had an extremely wide margin of error and would throw errors on boot occasionally when there would be nothing from either a physical or configuration standpoint failing or pending failing in the drive.

While we're in the BIOS, I'd recommend that you ensure that it is recognizing the drive correctly on each startup. The easiest way to ensure this is to reset your BIOS default settings. While on the BIOS screen, look for an indication either along the top or bottom designated by one of the function keys (I believe it used to be F10 to restore defaults). Be sure to save your changes and exit. Again, where you did not get the error every time, you may need to monitor it's progress to see if the error returns.

Second, physically check all cabling. A loose or in some cases failing IDE cable (assuming it is an IDE and not SATA connection) will produce these errors in the Pavilion line (and most others I would well imagine). Power everything completely down, remove the side of the case to give access to the drives and start with reseating the cable both at the drive end and the controller (where they plug into the motherboard) ends. Ultimately, if you were to pick up (or could somehow borrow) a different IDE cable to test for a short time it may also call out a failed or failing cable as well.

Third, we can't overlook the possibility of a failed drive itself. Formatting and/or recovering the drive will most likely not correct an error of this type. If any of the steps on the HP forums resemble those suggested above and have already been attempted, the issue may well point to the disk itself. How old is your system out of curiosity. HP had a now-infamous recall issue back at the early part of 2001-2002 with a batch of Fujitsu brand hard disks. Although I am skeptical that there are still some of those offending drives floating around (and if so that you are only receiving errors 6 years later :)), the company *are* still obligated to replace should the drive be determined to be part of this recall. I realize this option is quite a stretch given the timeframe.

Keeping with issues with the drive itself however, if all steps listed above don't correct the errors, there could be a strong possibility of a failing disk. Since you say it will boot on occasion the failure may not be severe enough at this stage to completely fail, but a total inability to boot may be looming on the horizon. If the system is still within the warranty, HP will replace the drive for you (you will most likely have to ship the tower to them in a postage-paid box they will send you if you are unfamiliar with the repair process).

Should the system be outside of any manufacturer or extended warranty you may have purchased additionally, you will need to purchase and have a new hard drive installed. Some facilities may be able to salvage information off your original disk for transfer (although where you are still at a point where your OS boots occasionaly, backing up data important to you is something I would go about starting ASAP) before installing the new one.

I hope one or a combination of the recommendations I've made correct your issue.

The top-level menus and tabs in Task Manager are missing

Reader Karen Writes: On XP when you go start bar, and right click and choose task manager, only the running tasks show up with the options of end task, switch task and new task. The "-", "X" to close etc is missing from the top. The only way I can close it, by right clicking its icon on the start bar and select close.

When you open up Task Manager in Windows XP, there is no title bar, menu bar, or program tabs showing. Only the running applications, End Task, Switch To, and New Task buttons show up.

This problem is easy to fix, the Task Manager is running in "tiny footprint mode". To correct this, simply double-click on the border around the window and it will return to its normal state. To place task manager back in "tiny footprint mode" again, double click again on the border around the window.

Here is the Microsoft article to this problem:;en-us;193050

Identify Windows XP processes in Task Manager

The Task Manager may tell you more than you want to know about what's going on with your Windows XP system. If you're baffled by the myriad processes running without programs, you can learn what they are before you shut them down. Greg Shultz explains how to identify svchost.exe and services.exe processes in Task Manager.

When you're troubleshooting a problem in Windows XP, you may turn to Task Manager, which is designed to provide detailed information about the programs and processes running on a system. But when you access the Processes tab, you'll probably see that there are many more processes running than programs.

Some of the processes are easy to identify, especially if they represent an application (e.g., the notepad.exe process corresponds to Notepad). However, other processes, such as svchost.exe or services.exe, are not as easy to identify.

Svchost.exe is a generic host process name for services run from dynamic-link libraries (DLLs). You'll also see a process titled services.exe, which hosts several essential Windows operating system services. You can learn more about specific services that are running as svchost.exe or services.exe processes by using the Services tool. Here's how:

  1. Go to Control Panel | Administrative Tools, and double-click Services.
  2. In the Services tool, click on the Status column header to sort the services so those that are started are at the top of the list.
  3. Double-click on one of the services and check the Path To Executable text box.

If the Path To Executable text box lists svchost.exe or services.exe, you've identified a specific service that is associated with a running process. To learn more about the service, you can check the Description panel on the Extended panel of the Services tool.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Professional.

Quick Launch Bar Keeps Disappearing and won't come back

Reader Creg asks: I keep loosing my Quick Launch Bar. sometimes it is there after a reboot and other times it isn't. How do I get it back Bo?

Answer: Check and make sure your quick launch folder is there. Open a command prompt and type or copy and paste the below then click OK:

%Appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

If it isn't click start | run or press the Windows Key plus R
type in or copy and paste the below:


click enter and Windows will recreate the folder

If it is there
Click Start | Run or press the Windows Key plus R and type in
click enter

Click Start | Run and type in
click enter

Restart windows and enable quick launch through your task bar by right clicking on any empty part of it and choosing 

Toolbars | Quick Launch

Menu Order Will not stick after reboot on the Quick Launch Bar

This is a problem we have been noticing that many of our readers are struggling with. It can happen when an installed or uninstalled program isn't behaving as expected. Here is one way to get around this problem.

To save your Quick Launch Folder Sort Order, try the following:

  1. Type the following into a command prompt (Windows Key plus R)

    %Appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

    Click Okay

  2. Locate your Quick Launch program and/or folder shortcut and click Rename from the right click option in your context menu. Number the order in which you want your shortcuts to appear. For Example:
    • Lets say you want your connection icon to appear first, your browser to appear second, your email program to appear third. You would re-name them as the following:
      • 1MyConnection
      • 2Firefox
      • 3Outlook
    • Note that there is no space between the numbering and program itself. Continue numbering the rest of your shortcuts and then reboot
  3. Your menu order should now be set.

Scheduling Disk Defragmenter in Windows XP

You can't schedule a defrag using Task Scheduler, but you can do it from a batch file. Greg Shultz explains how to schedule Windows XP's Disk Defragmenter.

The Microsoft Management Console houses the Windows XP Disk Defragmenter, which makes it impossible to schedule a regular defragmenting session via Task Scheduler. However, there's also a command line version of this utility, called Defrag.exe, that you can schedule. To do so, create a batch file that runs Defrag.exe along with the appropriate parameters, and then create a schedule to run your batch file.

To run Defrag from the batch file, use the following command line:

Defrag x: [/parameter]

In this command, x is the drive letter of the hard disk you want to defragment, and parameter is one of three optional settings that you can use to configure Defrag:

Find Your Driver Version (XP)

Having an up-to-date device driver ensures you are getting the most out of your hardware. Vendors often release updated drivers and make them available for download on their Web sites. Before you install a new device driver, you should verify what version is currently installed.

You can determine which driver version is currently installed in Windows XP by completing the steps outlined below:

  1. Right click the Windows desktop and click Properties.
  2. From the Display Properties dialog box, click the Settings tab.
  3. Click the Advanced button.
  4. Click the Adapters tab.
  5. Click the Properties button under Adapter Type.
  6. Click the Driver tab.

You can find the version information beside the Driver Version field. Compare this version with the latest version on the manufacturer’s Web site. If the versions are different you may need to update the driver.