Systray icons missing

Sun, 2007-07-15 21:05 by admin · Forum/category:

Result statistics—please report your results.

The Problem

General

The system tray (in short: systray, nowadays also called taskbar notification area) is the icon strip normally located near the right end of the task bar, next to the clock.

Some Windows XP installations show a peculiar defect in that some systray icons disappear or, rather, do not appear, when the system is booted and the user logs on. The problem is even more prevalent on systems with autologon. The most frequently affected icons seem to be the speaker icon (sound volume) and the power/energy icon.

Please note that the problem has been completely solved. You can find the solution in the next chapter, Main problem and complete solution.

Hide inactive icons

This has nothing to do with the hide inactive icons settings. The defect shows up when you don't have any icons set for hiding.

In any case, please make sure for now that you haven't activated that setting. Right-click the task bar, click on Properties, uncheck the last check box. You can reactivate it later if all other problems are identified or solved.

In Vista, if the Clock, Network, Volume and Power icons have disappeared and when you go into properties on the taskbar and look at "System Icons" under the "Notification Area" tab, Volume, Network, and Power are greyed out, then visit Paul's Forum and run his fixing program.

2006-08-14 – Glenn S. reminds us that, if other icons disappear for good and never reappear, we should check first whether the programs are started at all.

Check your Startup folder and the starter registry entries through Start, Run..., type: msconfig, press Enter, to check whether the programs are really started at system start, or use Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc) to see whether the processes are running.

Sound volume

A particular and special problem is that only the sound volume icon disappears, but the others are there. In this case the main solutions below will not work. Instead you have to look at the sound driver. Try to reinstall it. But first read the chapter "Other known causes" further below for some specific symptoms and solutions.

Task Manager

There are a few other problems that can cause similar behavior and can mislead you into believing that they are the same problem. If you are not sure, read the entire article first, because a few more are described later. The ones concerning Task Manager are described in the next chapter, because they can be too easily mistaken for the main problem described in the other chapters.

Entire taskbar

If, however, your entire taskbar or any major part of it is missing altogether, then the rest of this article is irrelevant to you. Instead the Kelly's Korner tool Taskbar Plus! may or may not help you. I don't know what exactly it does and can only recommend to use it carefully and to use only the function that pertains to solve your immediate problem, then test the result.

UPnP and some general remarks

Often, but not always, the phenomenon of the missing systray icons seems to be triggered by the UPnP User Interface, but more on that later. (By the way, don't mistake UPnP for PnP, Plug-n-Play, which is mostly a different thing.)

Microsoft has not taken notice. The causes are obscure. Some users report successes with various changes that influence the boot and logon timing, but these changes do not reliably solve the problem. Often they make the problem occur less often though and make it bearable.

Be careful not to be fooled by others or by your own brain that may see causality where there is none. People try the weirdest things, then they get all their icons and conclude sharply, but wrongly, that whatever they did solved the problem. About the weirdest and totally wrong recommendation I have seen was to switch off your computer and let it sit without power for three hours. Don't fall into such a trap. The web has a lot of snake oil, particularly in relation to the problem of the disappearing systray icons.

Then there is the fact that some change solves the problem, just by changing the boot and logon process sequence or timing a little bit. Thus I receive hundreds of emails, detailing ever more different solutions to the problem, each of which has been tried and worked on one computer. We have to suspect that each of these many solutions works only on a few computers. If defragmenting the hard disk can solve the problem for some, then anything can solve it, and the solution may not be long-lived either.

Main problem and complete solution

2010-10-09 – nars has posted a patcher tool (direct download link, also attached here—see below) that solves the problem even for future versions and makes patching very easy and quick. Thanks a lot, nars!

The main cause of the more common problem is that the systray program is temporarily unable to process icon inclusion requests. An earlier hypothesis, that systray.exe is loaded too late, has been refuted by Thomas Gregory Platt (see his email below).

According to the excellent analysis in the Problem analysis and proposed solution comment by tasmanian this is caused by a timing defect in the Windows function Shell_NotifyIcon in shell32.dll, which has a timeout fixed at 4 seconds. Combined with an unfavorable Windows API message this causes the problem, which befalls many heavily loaded computers that don't have ultra-fast hard disks. Changing the timeout to one minute and removing the unwanted message solves the problem, and in the Complete solution comment user depassp has perfected the procedure of patching shell32.dll to solve the problem, at least until a new version of that DLL is delivered by Microsoft that re-introduces the problem and requires another patch session. In fact, exactly this has happened around July 2010, but the solution is already here: Offsets for NEW 6.0.2900.6018 file by mcrealize, corrected by TeaRex

Unfortunately patching a system DLL is not an entirely simple procedure and can only be done with a certain minimum of computer handling experience, but this is the best we can offer for now.

Task Manager problems

A few special problems concern the Task Manager and its systray icon only, the green one that dynamically shows the CPU load. If your problem is the disappearing Task Manager icon, then read on. If, however, other systray icons disappear as well, then you should first skip this chapter and continue with the next.

Mike Newhall contributed the following information on 2005-12-10. Thanks a lot, Mike!

One problem is the disappearance of the Task Manager systray symbol when you start Task Manager the second time or subsequent times.

This problem appears to be related to the Classic desktop theme. When you change your desktop to the XP style, the problem no longer occurs. Do this for a test.

The cause is as yet unknown. The simplest workaround is to never close Task Manger.

Another problem is that the icon or the entire Task Manager never appears at all. This can be caused by a registry setting that is not present in a default installation:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER
 \Software
  \Microsoft
   \Windows
    \CurrentVersion
     \Policies
      \System
"DisableTaskMgr"=dword:00000001

You can set this value to zero or, to recreate the default situation, remove the value entirely. To have the value removed automatically, click here and give permission when asked.

In fact, the entire System key does not exist in a default installation, so you can even delete that key if you are sure there's nothing in it that you need.

Two simple workarounds

If any of these solve your problem, please report here.

Log off, log on again

Now we're getting back to the main problem, the sporadic missing of various icons, particularly after the first logon after booting. Typically missing are the power icon or the sound volume icon, but many others can be affected just as well.

The immediate workaround is to log off and log on again (do not reboot, only log off). In many cases the icons then reappear. If not, you can try to repeat the procedure until you have all of them.

If this works, then most likely you have the central problem described in this article.

Wait a minute!

The other workaround is, the next time you boot your computer, wait for a full minute after the logon dialog appears or, better, watch the hard disk light and wait until disk activity subsides entirely for at least 5 seconds. Only then log on and check whether this solves your problem.

On two of my computers this solves the problem entirely, even though other workarounds, like the systray_cleanup.reg file mentioned below, don't work. This also means that you have to log on as quickly as possible when you're trying to test other workarounds.

2006-02-03 – Eric Maier mentioned that you can only delay the logon when you have at least two active user profiles to log on to, or one with a password. If you have neither, the logon prompt wouldn't appear, and there would be no delay.

And, as a final remark, retest from time to time whether the problem has disappeared on its own, particularly after installing a service pack.

The most successful workarounds

Some excerpts from the many earlier mails I have received (for later responses see Comments, vote below)

Wow, after over a year of having this problem. And general slow/buggy operation of winxp. I finally reinstalled, only to have the same problem on a clean machine (made even worse by SP2 this time). Weeks of steady research into this problem and I came across your page ... I disabled upnp almost 2 weeks ago and have had no problems with my computer since. This has solved strange out of memory errors, dialog boxes missing buttons, and many other strange issues. I don't know why it happens on my particular hardware, and the solution does not make _any_ sense, but it solved it.

I have tried virtually every so-called "fix" I could find online, and NONE of them worked, until today, when someone pointed me to your site. I tried the "uninstall the UPnP User Interface" fix, and am happy to report that it worked. All tray icons appeared on reboot.
I have had an ongoing dialogue with Microsoft Tech Support about this situation, and they seem absolutely clueless. Needless to say, my next email to them will report the fix.

Thanks for the very helpful and time saving article I found on the internet

Amazing that the solution from Francesco Saverio Ostuni, such an obscure and seemingly unrelated setting would restore the icons to the system tray. My hat is off to him.
Now if only the setting to hide inactive icons would work I would be pleased indeed.
Thank you for helping to save what little hair I have.

Thank you so much for your web page on solving the disappearing system tray icons problem. I've looked all over the internet for advice on how to solve the problem and what you wrote was the only thing I found that worked!

I am very glad to read your article concerning the Systray problem. I have been struggling with exactly the same problem for long and Microsoft could not get at any reasonable solution.
On the net ... I found the trick removing "UPnP User Interface" from Windows Components and and that worked perfect: everything in the Systray is now in perfect order.

UPnP worked for me! Thanks to all. It was driving me crazy ...

The Ostuni Workaround
Worked fine on a quite a few ( ~ 10 ) Dell GX110's with AC97 audio, we use at work - Thanks for posting this info

This article was a relief to me - I thought I was the only one suffering from "disappearing icons".

After years of having my systray icons disappear and playing with very limited success with msconfig, disabling services and re-installing apps and numerous rebuilds…….
I tried the Ostuni Workaround, and all of my icons instantly came back and are now stable !!!!
Very happy !

The UPnP suggestion worked for me, amazingly. I have no idea how something so seemingly unrelated could cause such an annoying and difficult to diagnose problem, but many thanks for posting this info on your site!

Great! This problem was driving me crazy since over one year and most people didn't even understand what the issue was. Now it works perfectly and I'm really grateful for this tip! Thanks a lot.

This problem has been bugging me off and on for many months, and none of my computer savvy friends and associates could offer any practical solutions (I figured FDISK was a bit over the top). However, a Google search brought up about 352,000 hits - and yours was the second.
I applied the Ostuni Workaround this evening and my errant icons have returned. Many thanks to all contributors.

Thanks for putting together this page. The Ostuni Workaround lives up to the hype. You've ended months of frustration and computer problems!

Thanks for your article on this, tried the Ostuni method and it totally resolved my missing icons on reboot. Many reboots later no more missing icons. Quite brilliant.

I want to thank you for your website and the solution to my missing systray icons. It is a very rare occasion that I google to an immediate solution (you were number one using "systray icon missing"!). Usually these sort of problems are a month long search.
For the record, the UPnP solution worked ... and brought back the speaker icon as well! This was on a Gateway P4 laptop.
I like people that help others. You just saved my Saturday so I can have fun.
Thanks again.

very very useful
worked first time
? why has microsoft not fixed disappearing icons in one of their many sp's and upgrades

Tried the Ostuni Workaround, so far it's solved the problem.
My god man, THANK YOU for providing this information. I was about ready to do like that duck with the hammer you always see on people's desks...

Man, if I hadn't found your site I would have gone crazy over this. It's the most anoying I've ever experienced.
But then I found your site and
The Ostuni Workaround
I have never been happier in my life (well thats not entierly true), but anyway it works fine!
Thanks for a great site!

The Ostuni workaround is awesome. I have been trying to figure this out for ages, since I had XP home and it seems to have carried over to XP Pro and it is so annoying. I love having a full system tray, and now with this somewhat fix, it has worked for me!! Like a dream come true, :-)
Thanks So Much, [...]
P.S. It works, it really really works!! ;)

Many thanks for this. The Ostuni workaround worked for me. It was driving me crazy! Great help!!!!

The Ostuni Workaround did work for me 100%. I had that problem for months and it was getting worse … finally decided to try to fix it today and found your page … my 10 icons are now showing up at every reboot.
Thank you very much for your page!

My good-man Hans,
I want to thank you so much for having this page online! I was getting so annoyed about those missing icons in the system tray. I used The Ostuni Workaround simply by going to My Network Places and then clicking on Hide UPnP Devices. A simple restart and everything was there. Normally I had to kill the 'missing-icon' programs and restart them. And some of them you can't kill with Task Manager, e.g. ZoneAlarm Pro v6.1.737 [zlclient.exe]. Or another trick I did was logging off and back on. Most of the time it restored all icons, but not always. So:
Thank you so much! You really made my day.

I've tried the systray.reg script and the vbs hack that delays the startup to avoid "unable to create shell notification icon" error. Both tricks seem to have worked just fine!
The systray.reg has restored the always missing volume icon as well as the occasionally missing outlook icon (outlook is started automatically "minimized to tray" on system startup).
The delay trick works excellent with Asus Probe.
This is absolutely brilliant!
Thanks a lot!

Rooting out the problem—patching shell32.dll

Oour users cooperated to find and program the fundamental solution to the problem. The cause has been determined as a defect in shell32.dll, a Windows component. Please see Main problem and complete solution above.

The Ostuni Workaround

2004-11-11 – Francesco Saverio Ostuni wrote: "... I found a solution for me that works perfectly. I simply went to My network Places and on the left pane I chose to Hide UPnP devices. This operation does not disable the service (which I need)."

To see this choice, you have to have Tools, Folder Options, Show Common Tasks selected.

This is still one of the most successful and not very intrusive workarounds, so you could try it first. I keep getting emails stating that the Ostuni Workaround worked well and solved the problem.

See also the subchapter on some more details below.

Cleaning up the registry

The following text contains links to registry setting files, which, except for the first one, are a bit stronger than the straight Ostuni workaround. If you want to check what they do before actually applying them, you can right-click on the link and elect to save the file to your hard disk. Then you can open it with a text editor like the Windows notepad editor and see what they do.

After two emails (see emails from Mark Medrano and Ingo Schupp below), the suspicion grows that the PastIconsStream registry entry can grow beyond proportions and hinder the systray icons. The solution is to click on systray_cleanup.reg, confirm the execution, then confirm the registry change, reboot your computer and test.

These registry entries can safely be deleted, because Windows automatically recreates them after the next two reboots. By the way, this registry file does about the same as running systray.reg and then systray_undo.reg (see below).

2007-01-16 – Thanks to Haris J. S. for the following information: This and the fixes below reset the inactive icons timers, so for some time like a week or two there will be no inactive icons. They will come back later on their own.

More radical: stop UPnP services

If the workarounds described don't work for you for any reason, read on. Before we go into the details, if you still want a quick solution and don't mind that a few settings, including any Explorer policies, are reset to their defaults, you can click on systray.reg, confirm the execution, then confirm the registry change, reboot your computer and test. Unlike the softer Ostuni workaround this disables both services, SSDP and UPnP, altogether and also cleans up the registry as described above. Since the Windows Media Player network sharing service depends on the UPnP service, it also gets stopped, so if you need that, you cannot use this workaround.

If this still doesn't cut the bill, you can try this stronger one: systray_plus.reg, and again confirm, reboot, and test. However, the old poll results show that few users actually did this successfully, so we may consider this workaround undesirable and not waste time on it. I leave it here just in case somebody wants to experiment with it.

You need to do this only once. The changed registry settings are permanent, until you undo them.

If none of the above works for you or if you later need the UPnP services, you can undo the nonstandard changes and reset them to their defaults with systray_undo.reg, but note that any previously removed non-standard settings, like Explorer policies, cannot be reinstated. In a normal installation there shouldn't be any such settings. A reboot is again required to make the change effective.

If you've tried these, please report here which one worked or didn't work for you. Please try them in the order below, like this:

  1. Apply the file by double-clicking on it and giving permission for the change.
  2. Reboot, log on.
  3. Check whether all icons are there.

Please test more than just once if the problem is sporadic. It is important for all of us to also learn which one didn't work.

Results from since 2006-11-10:

  • systray_cleanup.reg : 16
  • systray.reg : 13 (earlier reports: 26)
  • systray_plus.reg : 1 (earlier reports: 3)
  • neither, i.e. both failed : 0 (earlier reports: 1)

If you want to know what these files do or if you just want to keep them, you can store them by right-clicking on the above links and choose to save the target on your computer. Then you can open each file with the Notepad editor (Open with ...) and, if you like, make the registry changes by hand. They do a bit more than what is described below. The minus signs in the files indicate deletions.

A new program

Alex Milner has written the new program TrayIconsOK!, downloadable from http://am.vghost.ru/, which purportedly solves the problem permanently (but not the sound volume problem). Thanks, Alex! The program delays desktop loading by some adjustable seconds, and that seems to do the trick for many installations, but not for all.

This is shareware with a single-digit $ price. The unregistered version is fully functional for 30 days and has a nag screen. You can test it thoroughly before having to pay up.

If you've tried this program, please report here if it worked for you. Older results of 2007-02-06 to 2007-07-21:

  • It works: 8 reports
  • It doesn't work: 6 reports

The Diez Workaround

2006-06-30 – Steve Kreideweiss wrote from Cairns, Australia: "I tested the tip from Jose Luis Diez setting SSDP and UpnP to Automatic. This seems to work fine for me as well. I was wondering why it was on Manual at all?"

So please read the hint from Jose Luis Diez below or just read on. Apparently this changes the boot and logon timing enough on some computers to make things work. On one of my computers just setting the SSDP service start type to automatic did actually solve the problem.

Here's the quick way to test it. Click on the desired setting, then confirm as often as needed, then reboot and test.

Change settings to automatic:

Change them back to their default setting of manual:

You have to reboot each time to apply the settings and test.

If any variant of the Diez workaround solved your problem, please report here.

Emails received before 2007-07-21:

  • ssdp_automatic.reg – 3 successes, 1 failure
  • Both – 2 successes, 3 failures

Unfortunately the statistics don't look too good. If we don't get a number of successes soon, this subsection will have to disappear. But read also the following:

2006-10-11 – J. L. Heath wrote:

I solved the problem using your page by 1st doing the Ostuni workaround (hiding UPnP) and then clicking on both Diez automatic links, and rebooting.

I think the key might be doing both workarounds in succession, instead of one or the other.

Worked like a charm-- thanks!  J.

More details of the Ostuni Workaround

Francesco Ostuni further mentioned that the same can be done through Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs, on the left side: Add/Remove Windows components; select Networking Services, click on the Details... button, remove the checkmark for the UPnP User Interface, then click on OK. The result is the same. Now the icons are back every time at each reboot.

This has meanwhile been confirmed by many other users and consistently kept a success rate of well over 90%, so we can conclude that this solves the problem on all but the most unusual Windows XP installations.

Thanks, Francesco, in the name of the many systray users you've made happy!

Apparently this option is only there after Service Pack 2 is installed. I'm not sure whether and how this would work in Windows XP installations without SP2.

It is as yet unclear what exactly the UPnP User Interface does, beside opening two ports. Any information is welcome.

Several people including myself suspect that the UPnP interface does not directly cause the problem, instead there seems to be something wrong with the load order or timing. Perhaps the UPnP interface hogs the system in a way that blocks the systray for too long on some computers.

2005-03-13 – Volker Severt wrote that a side effect of having the UPnP User Interface installed already makes the UPnP devices visible, namely that the relevant ports are opened in the firewall. If you uninstall the UPnP User Interface, these ports are automatically closed, but you can reopen them by hand. They are TCP 2869, subnet, and UDP 1900, subnet. Thus you can still have the UPnP devices visible.

2005-06-15 – Jose Luis Diez wrote the following intriguing email (see also the subchapter "Diez workaround" above for the short step by step instructions).

I had been dealing with this problem for a week and followed all the hints in your page to no avail. I followed the Ostuni workaround and it didn't help either. (SSDP and UPnP were already disabled.)

I tried the Startright program and it worked great. I highly recommend that program.

Hoewever, I got bored about having an extra loader and kept playing with the settings and guess what. I turned SSDP and UPnP to Automatic under Administrative Tools -> Services and IT FIXED THE PROBLEM. :D

Funny thing is that I have uninstalled Internet Gateway and UPnP under Windows Components uninstall but the UPnP still shows in the Services settings under Administrative Tools.

All in all very strange.

After playing with my system for a while I agree and I'm 100% sure that the problem of the icons disapearing is due to the systray not ready to place the icons when the application loads. SSDP and UPnP just fix this by a collateral of changing the way things boot.

2005-07-17 – Michael Fornoff wrote:

The Ostuni Workaround worked for me too!

It seems that it solved another problem too: when I activated a network connection (plugging in the network cable, opening a dialup or a VPN connection) very often the explorer was locked for about 2 to 5 minutes. I had already found out, that it was sending UPnP requests over the network at that time, but did not really know what to do, as simply disabling the UPnP service did not help.

"Hide UPnP devices" in "My Network Places" did it. It solved both problems: the missing tray icons and the temporary system lock nearly every time I connect to a network.

2005-07-18 – M. D. Harper wrote:

This definitely seems to be a startup sequencing/timing problem. I did the "Ostuni Workaround" my icons came back and I stopped getting a driver failed to start error when my PCI Latency Tool tries to change the PCI devices' latency automatically on startup (I previously had to start the program manually after the computer starts and apply the new settings).

2005-10-15 – Drystan Brod wrote:

I was intrigued by all the references to the UPnP service on your web page—I always disable it as part of installing windows and didn't think that would be my problem. I checked anyway and was rather irritated to discover that it had been misteriously re-enabled, possibly by a windows "security update". Seconds later, using Steve Gibson's UnPlug n' Pray utility (which is free from www.grc.com) the problem was solved. Please find room on your web page to pass on my recommendation of this excellent tool.

Done, but instead of using a big, obscure program, you can just as well use the tiny, open-source systray.reg registry script to stop the UPnP services (see above), or you can even disable them by hand in less time than it takes you to download the program.

2005-10-19 – Richard (Rick) Murphy wrote:

I just wanted to say "Thanks" for the info on the Systray Icons Missing page. This has been bugging me for months and I finally decided to try and solve it – found your page and bingo!

You might like to know that to completely solve the problem, I combined two methods.

(1) I used the Ostuni method, utilising the GRC "unpnp" tool recommended by Drystan Brod. This brought back the "loudspeaker" sound icon and a few others.

(2) Then I used the (fantastic) tool by Cliff Cawley "Startup Delayer" (http://www.r2.com.au/software.php?show=startdelay) to put delays in for "non essential" items such as Seti at Home, Yahoo Messenger, Backup Exec, Bluetooth, Skype, DynDns and the like, delaying these by upto 2 minutes after startup and spacing the delays by 10 seconds.

This brought back everything!

I'm so pleased that I've sent you a donation, something I've never done for any other "free advice" site (as they usually have mediocre advice).

Thanks again!

Thank you too, Rick, for your good report and, of course, for the generous donation!

2006-04-03 – D.K. Kraft wrote:

Greetings from Lynnwood, WA USA —

I'm e-mailing with a success story for r2 Studios' Startup Delayer (http://www.r2.com.au/software.php?show=startdelay) for a self-built dual-core (AMD) computer put together Dec. 2005, running Win XP Pro SR2 and all recent patches. All went swimmingly until around the end of March 2006, when certain program icons supposed to show up in the system tray began not loading at boot, usually in groups of three. After much frustration uninstalling and reinstalling, Google (is my friend; yes, I should remember that) provided the background on this weird and very annoying Win XP bug.

After no success whatsoever from the registry hacks and the manual log-in method, I tried Startup Delayer with a jaundiced eye, thinking that delaying loading of just the four programs in my Startup folder wouldn't do much good. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the program could take over control of all startup programs. Delaying my Startup folder programs along with one program controlled by a registry entry, plus a delay to load my antivirus software last did the trick. The initial delay before the first program allows SystemTray to get going and deal with the basics, and then it's able to properly bring up those icons for subsequent programs. I think the key is to have Startup Delayer delay only as many programs as needed to allow others to load their icons properly. I'm fairly certain my antivirus software (GMHB Avira AntiVir) was hogging resources from the get-go that prevented a number of icons from being loaded—including its own!

Now, all ten icons show up in the system tray. Additionally, Startup Delayer's small graphic bar gives me time to kill certain programs at boot if I just don't need them to load for whatever reason. I'm very grateful to r2 Studios for making this nifty little program available as freeware, given that the two alternatives I found cost $20-$25. Would that everyone else could achieve icon happiness with this program. As they say, it did the trick. ;-D

Purrs — D.K. "Cat" Kraft

D.K., thanks for the good information and the nice story!

2006-04-20 – Dwayne Osbaldeston wrote that disabling the two services solved the systray problem, but also disabled a Palm Pilot hotsync function. He was able to get that to work again by reserving a fixed IP address for the computer and using that for hotsyncing.

2006-04 – In some web forums it was reported that Windows Live OneCare (WOC, WLOC) or Defender triggered the problem, but the above workarounds worked for them.

If disabling the UPnP service altogether solves the systray icon problem, but you needed UPnP, you can work around it by using a fixed IP address and opening ports on the router directly. If you use a router that allows you to assign a fixed IP address to a certain computer (by MAC address), fine. If not, simply give the computer a fixed address outside the router's DHCP range.

Analysis of possible causes—PastIconStreams and timing

2006-11-10 – Mark Medrano sent in the following intriguing information. Please note that the newer file systray_cleanup.reg already cleans out the big registry entries he mentions, so try this first and move on to the more severe systray.reg only if the former fails to solve the problem. Here is Mark's email:

I just wanted to write in. I've been having problems getting systray icons to appear (power, sound, and recently Ultramon which was giving an error). I ran across your page searching for an answer and started to pick through it. I already had UPnP disabled, so I moved on to the first registry file (systray.reg). For various reasons I ended up going through it manually and was surprised when I got to the "PastIconsStream" key that it was positively huge. So long that I could not scroll to the bottom of the "edit binary data" window (each time it would snap back up to the top for some bizarre reason).

I manually deleted about 1/4 of the screen at a time (as much as it would let me scroll the window) until I could select the rest of it and erase it entirely. On a hunch I stopped there and lo and behold everything comes up perfectly again. I suspect that at least in my case that key was just grown way beyond what was expected for it's size. I suspect sys tray icons that change frequently may be a contributer (like wireless card settings) or applications that create tray icons only when they're running (ffdshow filters for instance, sometimes if a system filter is used by a game I can see 30 or 40 of these icons in the tray at once, usually they disappear before the game exits and you'ld never see them), perhaps even applications that use the tray for active notification, like color coded icons and the like, I'm not entirely sure, but I do think that most of the people who have written in that Systray.reg worked for them probably only needed to drop the "PastIconsStream" key. I will be sure to keep an eye on it, though it's taken 2 1/2 years for the problem to occur originally, so I don't expect it'll be happening again soon :)

2006-11-16 – Ingo Schupp confirms this as follows:

Thank you very much for your fine work with the webpage concerning the disappeared systray icons. I can only confirm what Mark Medrano wrote on 2006-11-10: the critical registry entry actually seems to be "PastIconsStream".

I tried manually deactivating SSDP and UPnP before, which did not work for me. Then, I wanted to manually edit my registry entries one by one, starting with the aforementioned one, but after logging out and in again directly after this, the icons reappeared! This was not the case before - a break alone did not do the trick.

2006-12-15 – James Covington sent these Microsoft support instructions, some of which overlap information already given on this web page. But he wrote that this procedure always fixed the missing icons problem for some time, then needed to be repeated.

  1. Run regedit: click on Start > click on Run > type: regedit
  2. Navigate to
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER
     \Software
      \Microsoft
       \Windows
        \CurrentVersion
         \Explorer
  3. In the Explorer folder change the value of EnableAutoTray to 0.
  4. Right click Start (or anywhere on the taskbar) and select Properties.
  5. Click the Taskbar tab.
  6. Clear the Lock the taskbar option.
  7. Check Hide inactive icons.
  8. On the Taskbar tab, click Customize.
  9. In the Current Items section, select each of the items as "Always Hide". Click OK, then OK again.
  10. Start all over, re-open the properties dialog box, and select each item as "Hide when inactive" in the Current items section. Click OK, then OK again.
  11. Navigate in the registry to
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER
     \Software
      \Microsoft
       \Windows
        \CurrentVersion
         \Explorer
          \TrayNotify
  12. Delete the IconStreams and PastIconStreams values.
  13. Close the Registry Editor.
  14. Close all open programs.
  15. Open Task Manager: click on Start > click on Run > type: taskmgr
  16. Click on the Processes tab.
  17. Click on explorer.exe in the image name column.
  18. Click on the End Process button.
  19. Confirm Yes to kill the process. This will close the desktop except for Task Manager.
  20. In Task Manager select the File menu command.
  21. Click on the Create New Task button.
  22. In the Open box type: explorer
  23. Click OK.

2007-05-19 – Thomas Gregory Platt confirms that cleaning out these registry entries solves the problem for him too. He also wrote the following, intriguing message, whose core, I believe, is true or close to the truth and refutes my earlier suspicion that systray.exe is loaded too late. Thanks, Thomas! I have already amended this whole web page accordingly, so the following message now no longer appears as a correction:

I have to make one correction to what you and others seem to suspect is going on with the systray application. From my observations of boot-time behavior here, I honestly don't think the problem is that systray isn't loaded yet when the icons that fail to appear are posted. On the contrary. From what I've seen, I can plainly see that systray is present and has been active for some time because it already HAS icons IN the tray (some of them like Network Connection, System Volume Control and the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon were visible in the tray) when the "Clipmate-loads-but-its-icon-doesn't-appear" problem occurred on my system. So I'm convinced you're wrong in assuming systray isn't active yet.

One scenario that would explain part of what's going on is that the system and systray are so BUSY in the midst of the startup bedlam (perhaps systray is processing or rebuilding that long-long list of old icons?) that systray fails to finish processing the request from one app (like ClipMate) fast enough before another app (like the starting antivirus) comes in and issues a SECOND request to add an icon to the system tray. It could be that the second incoming request clobbers the first one and knocks it completely out of systray's queue. That assumes of course that systray even HAS a queue. It could be systray app wasn't designed to queue requests because its designers assumed it would be able to process incoming requests to add a new icon VERY fast (within a few CPU cycles). If the designers made that assumption, systray might only provide a few memory locations where other apps can "poke" a copy of their icon and the name and location of the program to be called when that icon is clicked and then flip an in-memory switch that tells systray "Here's a new icon for you to process.". Without queuing, if two requests from different apps occur in rapid succession while systray is "busy" doing something else (e.g. updating that long list of prior icons, perhaps?), the arrival of a second request might just obliterate the first one thus causing the earlier request to get lost.

There's a second scenario that would also explain both this behavior AND another phenomenon I've observed that no one else on your site has explicitly mentioned—the now-you-see-it-now-you-don't system tray icon glitch. It appears that some apps (like Clipmate) are designed to issue a request to add their icon to the System Tray and just go on without waiting (i.e. they're not designed to wait for a confirmation that their icon was added), while others (e.g. anti-viruses) seem to be designed so that, if their request isn't acknowledged by systray within a few clock-ticks, they "get impatient" and issue a new START request for systray—thus causing it to lose track of ALL earlier "add my icon" requests. THIS scenario would explain why some requests seem to get lost. It would also explain why some icons can be seen to appear in the tray for a brief moment or two, but suddenly disappear from it later. That's EXACTLY what was happening on MY system with both the speaker volume control and the "Safely Remove Hardware" icons. One second those icons would appear in the system tray and moments later they would vanish! I've seen remarks from several posters (including you) that suggest they assume lack of a fast reply from systray means it "hasn't started yet" or that it "should start earlier". Knowing how programmers think, that tells me some developers might decide to "take matters into their own hands" and issue their own request to start systray if they don't get a reply from it fast enough. If systray is already running but BUSY, issuing a second start request probably causes systray to lose track of all icons it has previously loaded – thus producing the "now-you-see-it-now-you-don't" vanishing icons phenomena and the "my icon never appeared" phenomena too. If I was a betting man, I'd bet on this scenario. Programmers are notorious for such high-handed tactics.

Call it an EWAG (Educated Wild Ass Guess) Hans, but as a 40 year software pro, what I see suggests that if the CPU is busy enough and the prior icons list systray must process is LONG, systray can't react FAST enough before a second request arrives. When that happens, for SOME reason (whether it's lack of queuing or an impatient programmer who tries to start systray) a second request that arrives while systray is busy wipes out the requests that preceded it – both the one systray hasn't finished processing yet AND any that HAD been completed earlier and were already in the tray.

Cannot create shell notification icon

This is an error message that some programs, apparently all written in Delphi, show when they cannot reach the systray task to put their icon into the system tray. The most prevalent of these programs is Asus Probe. Most other programs don't throw an error message, but instead simply forgo creating an icon if they can't do it instantly. Both behaviors are insufficient, as we know.

This problem can be solved with Startup Delayer (see below) and by other means of delaying the startup. One of the simplest is to enable a splash screen like described here:

2006-09-14 – Eric-Jan Damen writes that his problem with the Asus Probe systray icon appeared after he removed the check mark to "show up on next execution" in the splash screen. The delay caused by the splash screen may be enough to make it work.

To re-enable the splash screen for Asus Probe, after you've already disabled it, click on AsusProbeShowSplashScreen.reg, confirm as often as needed, then log off and log on again to test it. (Works only for Asus Probe, other programs have their settings at a different location in the registry or elsewhere.)

If that doesn't solve the problem and if you want to do it yourself, you can do it as follows.

Write a little program in Visual Basic Script that delays the start. Create a text file (File, New, Text file, or just open an Editor) and copy the following two lines into it:

Wscript.Sleep 240000 ' 4 minutes

WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell").Run """C:\Program Files\Asus\Probe\AsusProb.exe""", 2

The delay time is in milliseconds, 240,000 in the example. Everything to the right of the apostroph (') is only a comment, has no function, and is not required. To solve the problem here, a delay of 30 to 60 seconds suffices, but if you also have the problem that a regulated fan triggers an alarm when cold-started, 4 to 8 minutes may be required.

Save the file under the name DelayedStartup.vbs into the folder where the AsusProb.exe file resides. If the path is different from the one in the second line, change it accordingly. Actually, the file can be anywhere else, if you like, if only you enter its path into the registry as described below.

Test it. Close Asus Probe, then double-click on the VBS file in Windows Explorer, but double-click only once. There is no apparent reaction and no window opening. You have to wait for Asus Probe to appear after the given time. If you're in a hurry, you can shorten the time to a few seconds for the test, then change it back after the test.

Open regedit (Start, Run..., regedit) and change the following value.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
 \SOFTWARE
  \Microsoft
   \Windows
    \CurrentVersion
     \Run
"ASUS Probe"="C:\Program Files\ASUS\Probe\AsusProb.exe"

Double-click on "ASUS Probe" on the right side and change the value to read:

"ASUS Probe"="C:\Program Files\ASUS\Probe\DelayedStart.vbs"

The path given in the above example may not be the same as on your computer. Adapt it accordingly.

Log off and log on again to test the change. Asus Probe should appear after 4 minutes or after whatever time you entered.

If you want to use this program to start several programs delayed, use the following example.

Set WsShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

Wscript.Sleep 240000 ' 4 minutes

WsShell.Run """C:\Program Files\Asus\Probe\AsusProb.exe""", 2

Wscript.Sleep 20000 ' 20 seconds

WsShell.Run """put the path to the next program here"""

Repeat the last two lines as needed.

Note that some programs may reinstate the original situation when they are installed, reinstalled, or updated. Then you have to make the changes to the registry again.

User ClearAsMud remarked that this method can be used for systray icons as well, if you write the program such that it starts the respective programs with delays. Of course, the normal start of the programs would have to be disabled and the delaying program amended whenever a new program with a systray icon is installed or an old one removed.

Other known triggers

Make sure first that you either don't have the following registry values at all or, if you have any of them, that it is set to zero. Deleting the value entirely is easiest and safest. If you want to have all of them removed or set automatically, just click here, then give the permissions when asked.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
 \SOFTWARE
  \Microsoft
   \Windows
    \CurrentVersion
     \Policies
      \Explorer
"NoTrayItemsDisplay"=dword:00000000

2005-04-05 – Reagan Wiliams reports that in Windows XP (2002) a similar value with the same effect is here (meanwhile confirmed):

HKEY_CURRENT_USER
 \SOFTWARE
  \Microsoft
   \Windows
    \CurrentVersion
     \Policies
      \Explorer
"NoTrayItemsDisplay"=binary:00000000

It is easiest and safest to just delete that value, but if it is all zeros, it should have no effect either. If it is non-zero, that may be the cause of your problem.

2005-10-06 – Christian from Germany wrote that you should make sure you do have the following value, which should exist in a normal installation. Its absence may cause the problem:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
 \SOFTWARE
  \Microsoft
   \Windows
    \CurrentVersion
     \ShellServiceObjectDelayLoad
"SysTray"="{35CEC8A3-2BE6-11D2-8773-92E220524153}"

Check also the message "2007-04-21 – Karel" below, which also refers to this GUID and shows how to restore a missing InprocServer32.

2005-10-25 – Keith Sagona wrote that the DisableLocalUserRun registry value should be set to 0, not 1. Even a repair installation of Windows XP does not appear to fix this.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
 \Software
  \Microsoft
   \Windows
    \CurrentVersion
     \Policies
      \Explorer
"DisableLocalUserRun"=dword:00000000

If this value is set to 1, that may be the cause of the problem. Search the registry for other instances of that setting, particularly in HKEY_CURRENT_USER, and set those to 0 also. Then reboot. In many installations this value doesn't even exist. In fact, in many normal installations the entire registry key Explorer does not exist. You can try to back up that key by exporting it, then delete the entire key for a test.

Unfortunately the absence or presence of these keys and values does not guarantee that it all works, and it is not clear whether some of these values work only for some people because they change the logon timing.

Also make sure that you don't have the taskbar set up the wrong way. Make sure that the quickstart icons are on the left side, not on the right, and the running programs area is in the middle of the taskbar. If they are arranged the other way around, then unlock the taskbar and drag the program icon area far to the right, between the quickstart icons and the system tray (system notification area). Then use the sliders to use the available space optimally and relock the taskbar. If this solves your problem, be happy. The problem for which most people visit this web page is much more intractable.

2006-05-12 – Asa Jay Laughton wrote that Norton AntiVirus has a specific setting to hide its systray icon, so if that is the only icon is missing on your computer, please read: How to hide the Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition icon from the desktop of NAVCE servers or unmanaged clients on Symantec's web site.

2006-05-13 – Poul Eric Madsen wrote that the spyware program regperf.exe caused his Norton AntiVirus icon to disappear, and only spyware removal, followed by a repair installation of the Norton program brought the icon back into the systray. A full Norton reinstallation didn't do the trick, only the repair function worked.

It may be worth noting that various malware attempts to deactivate some well-known antivirus and anti-spyware programs, and that may also affect their systray icons. Also, Symantec/Norton software is generally not recommended, because it causes a variety of other problems.

2006-07-14 – Steve McAfee wrote:

Found another way to lose the volume tray icon to add to your site. Tracked this one down myself as it had me pulling my hair out.

Basically my registry had lost some entries for sound drivers that microsoft installs with XP. Reinstalling the sound card, etc did not help. All sound features seemed to work except I did not get the volume systray icon and in the control panel applet for sound the button to "play" a selected sound was ghosted. In there registry under the following key there are a number of sound drivers which are defined on a fresh XP install:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
 \SOFTWARE
  \Microsoft
   \Windows NT
    \CurrentVersion
     \Drivers32

The sound tray icon and control panel try to open the driver called "wavemapper" and if it's not there the sound icon does not display. The registry entry is a string entry that looks like this:

wavemapper   REG_SZ   msacm32.drv

Once I added this back it started working. I then exported a .reg file for this drivers32 key from a fairly fresh XP installation and imported that on the system because wavemapper was not the only key I had lost. I have a theory that this somehow happened due to installing and uninstalling codecs, but I'm not sure.

-steve

2006-08-09 – Mikael Tilly wrote to confirm Steve's findings.

2006-08-10 – Hakan Turan also confirmed:

I had the same problem, no volume icon. Only mp3 and wav files were playing fine and no midi file was audible.

Steve McAfee's solution to add:

wavemapper REG_SZ msacm32.drv

to the registry solved my problem.

Later I remembered that I had uninstalled a DivX codec package lately. I think that caused the problem.

2006-09-10 – Tomer confirmed.

2007-03-19 – Bruno Zumella wrote:

[The relevant text on this web page] reminded me that I uninstalled XviD 1.x.0 and then reinstalled the last XviD 1.1.2 on my two computers. Then the registry key was missing.

I recreated the wavemapper REG_SZ entry and all works well know. The sound icon is back.

2007-04-05 – Nalin confirmed.

2007-04-14 – Joe confirmed and mentioned that the problem appeared after he uninstalled the quite popular ffdshow codec.

2007-04-21 – Karel wrote:

One of the points to look for, when the systray is missing or behaving weird, is the presence of the systray inprocserver. For some silly reason, it got lost in my registry. This lead to the following behaviour:

  • Systray was present with the clock symbol.
  • Custom symbols, which come from minimized applications worked also.
  • Taskmanager symbol was OK.
  • Soundsymbol was missing.
  • The USB-Stick symbol did not appear, neither the sound which you get when plugging in.
  • If you enabled "Show Volume Control in Taskbar" from multimedia settings, it was back again, but just for the session. After reboot, still missing.

The following registry update puts the missing entries back in place:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{35CEC8A3-2BE6-11D2-8773-92E220524153}]

@="SysTray"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{35CEC8A3-2BE6-11D2-8773-92E220524153}\InprocServer32]

@="C:\\WINDOWS\\system32\\stobject.dll"

"ThreadingModel"="Both"

These entries are there in every normal Windows XP with Service Pack 2 installation, so it usually doesn't hurt to re-enter them. If they are already there, nothing will change. You have the following choices:

  • Open the file by clicking on systray_inprocserver.reg and give permission to change.
  • Copy and paste the registry update shown above into a text file with the extension .reg and double-click on it.
  • Enter the keys and values by hand. The @= entries are the "(Standard)" values.

Other possible triggers and workarounds

New information is added at the end of this chapter, so you can read on, but skip to the last paragraphs if you get bored. Thanks to everybody who contributed useful information!

In spite of the apparent effectiveness of the Ostuni workaround, I'm still looking for a way to make the systray icons show up without having to disable or uninstall anything. So the search is still continuing.

Anything that streamlines or delays the boot and logon process appears to help in many cases, though not all, for example thoroughly defragmenting the hard disk with a good defragmenter like PerfectDisk by Raxco. Other examples keep being reported, but none is a real solution. They all work on some computers, but not on others, usually by disabling something and thereby changing the boot timing. Typical culprits are slow, inefficient virus checkers that are set to automatic, like Norton Antivirus 2005 Pro.

First give your user account a password, so the computer cannot rush through a quick auto-logon.

It clearly helps (on at least one of my own computers) if the user waits until he actually logs on. You may enter your password, but do not immediately press return or click on the OK button. For a few thorough tests wait at least a full minute before logging on, or wait until disk activity subsides. You could watch the hard disk light, memorize the rhythm of the bursts, which is usually always the same, and the next time wait until after the last big loading burst. If this helps, it probably does so by getting some system (particularly network) loading processes out of the way.

As mentioned above, disabling the UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) service or the SSDP (Simple Service Discovery Protocol) service or both solves the problem. Microsoft proposes the latter in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/841571/. However, this is not a very good solution because you may want to have these services running. Another proposal is to set the start type of these services to Automatic. They are by default set to Manual, and at least the SSDP service is nonetheless started automatically by other means. Setting the SSDP service to Automatic would likely let this service start earlier, so it doesn't get in the way of other software that is loaded later.

2005-03-10 – Rob Nunn wrote that his Systray icons fail to appear exactly on those days when his antivirus program, NOD32, updates its virus definitions, which it does after first being loaded, i.e. just after system boot. This, of course, uses the network connection. My first thought is that, if one could delay the antivirus update by a minute, the problem might not show up.

2005-04-10 – Stein Bjorndal reported: "... a process named sdmcp.exe crashed on me. After a bit of investigation, this turns out to be a part of the DesktopX application by Stardock (http://www.stardock.com/products/desktopx/), ..." Uninstalling the program didn't work for him either, so he just erased all traces that could be found, including the start of the exe file. That solved his problem.

This has meanwhile been confirmed by two other users, Gary Melady and David Perry. The culprit may be Stardock Central.

2005-05-21 – Daron Brewood wrote: Solved my icon problem in the end by disabling WindowBlinds 4 (I had to as it conflicts with the new Pocket PC Active Sync program) – but it has the side effect of fixing the icon problem, so in my case it looks like it is/was due to WB4.

2005-06-14 – Ansgar Nell sent an intriguing hint, originally written by Guloso on a discussion board—just restart systray.exe, for example by putting a shortcut to it into the startup folder. No need to provide a path, since the program is in the search path. I have meanwhile received an email confirming this, but it doesn't work at all on my own computers. Another of those solutions that work for some, but not for most. I have heard of one case in which systray.exe didn't get loaded at all, and using this method or the one below fixed the problem.

A similar, possibly better method to start systray.exe is through the Run key in the registry. Unfortunately this also doesn't bring any missing icons back on my computers, but if you want to try it nonetheless, the procedure is as follows.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
 \SOFTWARE
  \Microsoft
   \Windows
    \CurrentVersion
     \Run
"systray"="systray.exe"

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Click on Start, Run..., type: regedit
  2. Press return
  3. In Registry Editor, navigate the left directory tree to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  4. Right click in the right window pane, select New, then String value.
  5. Give the new string value the name: systray
  6. Your new value should now have the name "systray", the type "REG_SZ", and no data. Right click on this new systray value and select: Modify
  7. Enter the value: systray.exe
  8. Click: OK
  9. Close Registry Editor.
  10. Restart your computer.

Another of these hints (thanks to John Erikson) is that emptying the Prefetch folder (C:\WINDOWS\Prefetch in a normal installation) helps. The file Layout.ini is automatically recreated at some later time and is not essential anyway. Just cleaning out the prefetch folder did not solve the problem on my test computers and I also get reports from other users that it doesn't solve the problem there, so it is obviously not a universal solution. I guess that it merely speeds up the logon process a little.

2006-10-23 – WvU wrote that deleting Prefetch\Layout.ini, then defragmenting the hard disk, solves the problem for him. He supposes that the defragmenter has a defect in relation to rearranging the boot files according to Layout.ini.

Yet another hint came from Harold Collins. He used the MSCONFIG utility to disable the Adobe Reader Speed Load, which solved the problem for him. This is apparently yet another way to accelerate the loading process for the other systray icons and may work for some.

www.tech-pro.net provides a tool set named Tech-Pro Utilities Startup (http://www.tech-pro.net/startup.html Version 1.1 as of 2004-11-22), which contains one tool named Startup Manager. You need only the Startup Manager for this particular problem. This program can delay the loading of programs from your Startup menu and allegedly solves the missing systray icon problem.

I have my doubts though, because most of the possibly offending programs aren't started from the Startup menu at all, mine is empty, for example. I guess we need something to delay the loading from the Run key in the registry. But if you try any of these programs, please let me know your results.

2005-01-26 – Found a program named SysTrayHack at http://desktopian.org/addons/systray2kfix.zip and tested it. It claims to solve the problem of not appearing systray icons when another shell is used in place of Windows Explorer. I tried it, although I do use Windows Explorer. As expected, it didn't solve the problem for me, but I have received 2 confirmations that it worked for other users.

2005-02-16 – Lutz-R. Frank wrote:

I could work around the issue using PS Tray Factory. It allows to restore all the tray icons after a crash of explorer. Just testing it but it looks very promising - and offers some additional benefits as minimizing any application to the tray. See www.pssoftlab.com for more details.

Thanks, Lutz! This is indeed promising. The program is try-before-you-buy shareware and costs $24.95. I haven't tested it yet and will wait for independent confirmation.

2005-02-17 – Cliff Cawley of r2 Studios contacted me and recommended his freeware program Startup Delayer, available from http://www.r2.com.au/software.php?show=startdelay. 2005-04-01 - Bruce Sylvester reports that he tried Startup Delayer after the Ostuni Workaround hadn't helped. His statement: "Voila! Works perfectly and problem gone." 2005-10-12 – I finally got to testing it myself and can recommend it with some reservations. The program itself works very well and does exactly what it should do—delay starting the automatically started programs. Unfortunately it does not solve the entire problem on my computer. Some of the missing or disappearing icons will still not appear if delayed, or they will never appear when delayed. Examples are the Bluetooth icon and other icons that depend on it, like that of the Nokia PC Suite. Startup Delayer seems to work well with the SoundMan icon though (the speaker symbol to control the sound volume) and with several others, like Asus Probe. It also appears to have a perfect installer and uninstaller, so there is apparently no risk in trying.

2005-05-16 – IceBear wrote:

This solution might not be comfortable when the problems with missing icons appear at every boot, but it's very useful if it only happens sometimes. The 12ghostTray has a function that can restart just the systray. When it does, all icons become visible as they should. http://12ghosts.com/ghosts/tray.htm

2005-07-20 – Dan Berger wrote:

I found another rather simple way of correcting the missing notification tray icon problem. [...]

Since it appears that load order or load timing may be responsible, I simply moved the command to load the problem program from its registry key location to the startup menu. It worked.

I imagine that just moving things around among the six registry load keys and the startup folder will solve most problems of this sort. Doesn't solve the "why" question, but at least it seems to work.

2005-10-11 – Vivek Tanna outlined the following procedure:

Usually to get back the missing icons one can use the following steps to kill and restart Windows Explorer:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to get Task Manager
  2. In Processes click on explorer.exe and click on the End task button
  3. Select the command File, Run and type in: explorer (or alternatively click on the Applications tab, then on the lower right button, New task ... and enter explorer there)

This brings back the missing icons 99% of the time.

Unfortunately I cannot confirm this. Sometimes it works for me, but usually it doesn't. Some icons do not return, even if I repeat the procedure. But try it anyway, perhaps it works well enough for you.

2005-10-21 – Anastasia wrote that one method of last resort is to give up the user profile, create an entirely new user, and copy as much data and settings as possible from the old user to the new. She then wrote:

In any case, I must say that copying "My Documents" from one administrator account to another was very quick. [...] If they see tray icons if they logon in "guest account" [...], then create a new user all together and cut-paste [My Documents]. Unfortunately they will also have to re-do all the little tweaks on the way they want windows to look (e.g. start menu items, internet explorer buttons etc), but nevertheless it took me about 20 mins to configure everything the way I wanted it. Important to note if you do this method: copy outlook .pst on my (new) documents and import to outlook. Copy also the favourites folder before you delete the account (these are the only two actions I made when switching users, as all my programs are configured to be used for all users).

A remaining problem is any software that had been installed for this user only, because that would have to be reinstalled. But if all else fails, this is still a way out.

2006-01-16 – Larry Bowman wrote about a last resort workaround. You can create shortcuts to the programs that belong to the missing icons. For example, you can create a shortcut to sndvol32, so you can always get the volume control, albeit the big one. Or you can right-click the Sounds and Multimedia applet in Control Panel and create a shortcut to that, so you can get your volume icon back with a few more mouse clicks (disable the icon, apply, enable the icon, OK). With similar shortcuts you may be able work around all or most missing icons. Another example for such a shortcut is this, which you could call Hardware Unplug:

rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll

2006-09-28 – Bart van de Beek wrote:

In Windows XP Professional you can delay the automatic windows logon by doing the following, see if that helps:

Start -> Run... -> type: gpedit.msc -> press the enter key -> navigate to:
Local Computer Policy -> Computer configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System -> Logon

Enable: Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon

Unfortunately on many computers this delay is not enough to prevent the problem, but, like many other workarounds, it seems to solve the problem on some.

2006-11-22 – Lawrence LaCroix wrote:

I tried most of your suggestions and some would restore one icon, but then another would disappear. Then quite by accident I stumbled on a solution that seems to work 100% (at least for the time being).

I was looking for the menu to hide network UPnP devices as suggested on your page and I found that in Network Connections/Advanced/Advanced Settings, my 1394 connection (which is disabled) was my first device in priority order. So I moved the local network to the top of the priority list and when I rebooted the next time it seemed to cure the problem totally. All of my tray icons have returned.

2006-11-28 – Lawrence LaCroix wrote about an interesting point again:

In the taskbar properties menu, there is an option to control the systray icon properties, like "show always" "hide when inactive" and "hide always". Below the active icons is a cache of recently used systray icons that for some reason Windows likes to remember. Over time this list can get longer and longer if you have installed and removed a lot of applications that have systray icons. In this storage area, there are also sometimes "folder" icons. These can represent temporary information that was in the tray that never had an icon, or it can represent deleted program icons for which Windows no longer has the original icon available to display, so instead Windows simply displays the standard Windows folder icon with a description.

When I use the registry fix with the two keys that are deleted (IconStreams and PastIconsStream), all of the recognized icons are deleted, but I still had at least 20 of the "folder icons" described above that were not removed. Even after rebooting these were still there, and even after rebooting I had some current systray icons that were still missing from the notification area. When I used the longer method to use Task Manager to shut down Windows Explorer and restart it in the current session (Run: explorer), all of the "folder icons" disappeared and my systray icons started working properly again. I am fairly sure that this missing systray icon issue has something to do with how Windows reads that list of systray icons, current & recently used, held in this taskbar properties file.

Instead of steps 1 to 4 below, you can also run systray_cleanup.reg or another of the related registry fix files described in the chapter "The most successful workarounds" above. They all remove the two registry keys.

  1. Click Start > Run > Regedit
  2. Navigate to
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER
     \Software
      \Microsoft
       \Windows
        \CurrentVersion
         \Explorer
          \TrayNotify
  3. Delete the IconStreams and PastIconsStream values.
  4. Close Regedit.
  5. Open Task Manager, click Processes tab, click explorer.exe, then click End Process.
  6. Still in Task Manager, click File, click New Task, type explorer, then click OK.

I think that the other fix [see above] that rearranges the default network search order worked on one of my computers because it changed the order that the icons were loaded, again this points toward some quirk or glitch in that icon storage information. This fix also has some interesting side effects, on my home computer the systray now loads about twice as fast since I moved the 1394 network adapter down the list and put my local network at the top. Now figure that one out!

2006-12-13 – Pete Green wrote:

Simply using the 'Optimize System' option within Microsoft's Bootvis program does the trick for me.  Bear in mind though that if, after running it, new programs are installed that load at startup, it may be necessary to re-run Bootvis.

Whilst Bootvis is apparently no longer available for download from the Microsoft site, a search on Google will reveal several sources.

Windows XP has a similar automatic function already built in, which is enabled by default, so it is a question why that didn't already solve the problem, but Pete mentioned that, even in a test with an earlier disk image, it was only Bootvis that solved the problem in his installation.

2007-04-29 – Bob Malcolm confirmed that the Bootvis optimization function solved the problem for him too.

2007-02-17 – Paul Santangelo wrote that he had one particular case of the disappearing systray icons where he found that something was wrong with the .NET 2.0 Framework installation. Calling up the installer again and electing to repair the .NET installation fixed it permanently.

2007-05-11 – John Smallridge wrote:

Problem was missing systray icons, specifically printer icons (and sometimes others) after Avast anti-virus was installed. Computer was heavily loaded with software, so tried extra memory, which improved performance but didn't cure problem. Kicked out some unnecessary startups, which interestingly did not have any effect either.

Uninstalled Avast and installed AVG to see what happened, and icons re-appeared.

Uninstalled AVG and again installed Avast, icons gone again! (Processes were, however, running, when I checked).

Investigated registry with no joy and lots of other possibles until I hit on it.

Right clicking avast gives access to program settings and next level "troubleshooting", where you can delay the loading of avast services. This fixed the problem after a re-boot, so in this case at least it seems to indicate that it is purely the systray not being able to keep up with the demand or maybe just a question of timing. My guess is that the demand of the loading services limits the resources available to the systray load.

Thanks, John, for this interesting observation! This also indicates that my earlier suspicion, that systray.exe loads too late, is wrong, and that a more likely cause is some kind of overload on systray.exe.

2007-05-13 – TUPOLEV wrote from France that deleting the following registry value solved the problem for him:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
 \SOFTWARE
  \Microsoft
   \Windows
    \CurrentVersion
     \ShellServiceObjectDelayLoad
"UPnPMonitor"="{e57ce738-33e8-4c51-8354-bb4de9d215d1}"

If you don't like to delete the value altogether, you can just make it temporarily unusable for a test, for example by adding DISABLED in front of the opening brace of the string value.

2007-06-14 – Brian Burdett wrote:

I tried all of the different suggestions with various results but this worked 100%. I downloaded the freeware Startup Delayer program from: http://www.snapfiles.com/get/startdelay.html [Homepage: http://www.r2.com.au/software.php?show=startdelay]

Startup Delayer allows you to specify which programs to start first and which ones to delay. You can set a custom delay for each one, even drag the visual display graph which shows you exactly how your programs are starting and allows you to easily modify the order or adjust delay times.

It appears that windows does not load the icons if several programs try to start at once. I'm loading eleven programs at start up in eight seconds in the order I want them to load with no problem now.

2007-06-21 – Jali Pajula wrote from Finland:

I just found out that the reason for my disappearing systray icons is ZoneAlarm Security Suite.

I can reproduce the situation _every time_ when I install ZA SS and the problem diappears every time when I uninstall the program.

This is kinda mystery to me, because I cannot make this happen with my other PC, also ZA Security Suite installed.

But as said, with this computer I can make it happen every time.

Closing remarks

Cited emails can be edited and abridged to fit this web page.

Thanks to everybody who wrote! If you have any further relevant information or found one of the above hints to work, please click on Add new comment or on reply to reply to an existing comment (below, account required; if you don't have an account yet, create one first).

Please check also the result statistics and report your results there.

Comments, vote, attachment

Result statistics—please report your results.

AttachmentSize
shell32patch.zip - Patch by nars. Some people had problems downloading it from the original site.165.22 KB

Systray icons missing

Sun, 2013-10-27 12:52 by David15

Hello Guys,

I'm not a computer expert and i ended up in this site looking for a solution of the "Systray icons missing".
Am using windows 7 and the only thing that work to restore the icons is to log off and log on again.
I tried the nars patcher tool but it is only for XP..

Now anyone has a solution that work on 7 too?

THX

David

Windows 7

Mon, 2013-10-28 07:04 by admin

I didn't even know such a problem exists in Windows 7. We may be dealing with a different cause here. Unfortunately I don't know any solution for Windows 7.

Are the Systray icons always missing at your first boot-up or only sometimes? You could try some of the other solutions that worked in Windows XP, for example the delays.

Windows 7

Sun, 2013-11-17 23:14 by MRCS

"I didn't even know such a problem exists in Windows 7."
Never had a problem on XP, but I sure do on Win7. And, I haven't yet been able to find any pattern to it. Doesn't happen at login.

"Now anyone has a solution that work on 7 too?"
Any progress?

windows 7

Thu, 2013-10-31 12:56 by David15

on my laptop it always happen..and a simple log off and log on will fix it...but u know it's annoying after a couples of time...

Some insight into this problem

Fri, 2013-04-05 14:47 by MrPeach

After having this happen to me twice, I think I may have some insight into what triggers this.

The first time was with a dual core HTPC build. At the time I didn't associate the dual core with the problem. However after I got a six core the problem came back in spades.

It had been quite a while since the first occurrence, so I'd completely forgotten that I'd patched it prior. I wasted hours fiddling around with my startup items figuring one of them in particular was causing a problem before giving up and searching the net for a solution - hence arriving here. In the process of trying to fix it I discovered it was already patched.

Since it wasn't working (and knowing how long startup takes now with the six core) I quadrupled the timeout value (version 6.0.2900.6242 offset 00069ac4: 80 A9 03) and after some wrestling to replace shell32.dll (never thought I'd appreciate my dual boot Win8) got back all my icons. Some I hadn't seen in months!

Conclusion: The reason most people don't see this is twofold - they are running a single core or are not running enough heavy startup items. In the past I'd always kept my startups to an absolute minimum and never seen this problem even on dual cores. It was only after setting up this particular system with lots of heavy startups (email, ftp, Plex, PlayOn, Motocast, webcam, Bluetooth, process lasso, NPVR, etc.) that I saw this problem.

Hope this helps!

Thanks for the info

Sun, 2013-04-07 21:13 by admin

It is appreciated.

In a situation like this, with a range of bigger programs being started, perhaps starting them with much longer delays would solve the problem better. The helper program mentioned in an earlier comment below, that does exactly this, may solve the problem. Or one could program individual solutions, perhaps using batch files.

But if an additional patch to shell32.dll indeed solved the problem and if the solution is stable and reliable, then that may be good enough.

Wisewiz's picture

All of my systray icons are back!

Tue, 2013-02-05 15:15 by Wisewiz

I had been struggling with the disappearing-icons problem for a week, and searching the Net in vain to find the solution. Finally, Google got me to winhlp.com, and the rest is simple history. The *nars* 2010 fix did the trick perfectly. Thanks to all of you who worked on this pesky problem. When it attacks your *frequently used tool* icons, it's especially frustrating. Like an earlier poster, I depend on a clipboard-extender every day, and I was going nuts without its icon in the tray, even though the program was running. I have Win 7 and Win 8 running on two of my household machines, but I still use a pair of older XP SP3 machines most frequently, and they were the sad victims of this sudden icon-absence. Fixed! Merci toute la gang!

This site is now an important part of my computing life.

Volume and power icons

Sat, 2012-09-29 21:26 by defro

thanks a lot man that was very successful it solved all of my problems

Offsets for NEW shell32.dll version 6.0.2900.6242

Fri, 2012-08-03 15:28 by Paul C

shell32.dll was updated on my system on 8 June 2012 to version 6.0.2900.6242 from version 6.0.2900.6072.

The new offsets and changed bytes (in hex) for the patch are as follows:

00069ac4 change a0 to 60
00069ac5 change 0f to ea
00069ac9 change 03 to 01

I'm sure the patcher tool documented will work fine for the updated shell32.dll. I have a dual-boot system and boot into Linux and edit shell32.dll with the binary file editor GHex. I make a backup copy of the original shell32.dll and take a belt-and-braces image backup of my Windows system first before making such changes!

One again, I noticed that various tray icons were missing again at Windows start-up recently, so I checked shell32.dll and, it came as no surprise to me that shell32.dll had been updated on my system on 8 June 2012. The above patch is the only thing that will reliably fix this bug on my system. I have tried writing various programs over the years to fix this problem, the most successful being start-up delay programs; but even they don't work with 100% reliability.

I find it incredible that this problem has been around for so many years, and I understand that it even appears to have been carried forward to Windows 7. I tend to use Linux these days for most of my work and just keep a copy of Windows XP going to run programs I can't port to Linux.

Patcher tool works for this new version

Fri, 2012-08-03 17:35 by admin

Thanks for the good information!

Yes, I can confirm that the patcher tool works fine on my German version of Windows XP.

Generally I am stunned by the number and severity of software errors in most software, particularly in widely used systems like Windows. On one side the software enables us to get things done, on the other side we waste an immense effort to identify and work around these defects, flaws, gaps in the functionality, etc. It is eye-opening to try to calculate the damage in a common currency. The cost of fixing a defect is probably minute compared to the damage it otherwise does.

Brian E's picture

Found a solution to my problem

Wed, 2012-08-01 16:25 by Brian E

I was having trouble with quite a few icons being missing on loading Windows 7 and then I just happened to read about the fact that it might be due to having a lot of programs trying to launch all at once (I do have a lot of applications on my PC). I thought I was probably on the right track when I discovered that if I logged off and back on again, the missing icons would reappear. I then noticed a suggestion about trying Startup Delayer (a program I used to have on my PC a long time ago but which I removed during the switchover to the latest version as some of the older features at that time had not been carried over to the new version). So I navigated to the developers web site and had a look at the latest version. I was pleased to note that all the missing earlier features were back and many new ones too, so I decided to give it a try. Well, I can report that using that little utility has completely solved my missing icons problem. I would probably still be looking for a solution if I hadn't spotted it on this site, so I'm very glad to have found this web site. Thank you to all who contribute - you are doing a fine job.

Best Regards

Brian E

Steve Kreideweiss solution works !!

Sun, 2012-02-26 03:38 by SHCA

I'm on Vista Business, but had exactly the same problem of the volume icon not appearing, and the checkbox greyed out. I just clicked the "ssdp automatic" registry patch. That didn't work on its own. Rebooted and then clicked the "Upnp automatic" registry patch. Reboot and it's been working for several weeks with no failure. No need to patch and then keep repatching shell32.dll at all.

Thanks also for the analysis that it's just a problem with timing between startup and user logon. I could not figure out why it was so seemingly random. Yes indeed if I just wait for boot to complete before logging on, everything is fine. Now with the registry patches I don't need to wait.

Congratulations

Sun, 2012-02-26 10:22 by admin

You were lucky. Reading this discussion you will find dozens of similar solutions that worked on one computer, but sadly not on the next. The idea behind all of them is to do something that changes the timing.

On a particular computer, changing the timing may lead to a relatively stable solution, so what you did is something everybody could try first—follow some of the hints and see whether they suffice.

If it works, fine. But there is no guarantee that it will still work after you install the next piece of software, not even that it will still work tomorrow. But anyway, as long as it works, enjoy.

If such trials don't lead to a solution, or if the solution does not survive the passage of time, you would have to go to the fundamental solution and patch shell32.dll.

The patch that Nars made doesn't work on my XP machine anymore.

Sun, 2012-02-19 02:56 by solidsnake44

The patch nars made worked on my machine and then I did windows update and then it stopped working. When I reapply the patch it still doesn't work. How can I get this to work?

Windows XP machine.

Need more info

Sun, 2012-02-19 16:27 by admin

What is your version of shell32.dll? Here I have 6.0.2900.6072, and this version has been patched successfully.

What exactly do you mean by "stopped working"? How do you know it stopped working?

To all: Has anybody else seen any problem?

I have the 6.0.2900.6072

Sun, 2012-02-19 23:08 by solidsnake44

I have the 6.0.2900.6072 version.

By stopped working I mean that after I did the windows updates awhile back, when I log into the computer right as I turn it on, all the icons do not load in the tray, but if I wait around 2 minutes and then log on, they will. Also if I log on fast, and then log off and log back on around a minute later it fixes.

The nars patch fixed this before so that I can log on immediately and then all the icons would load.

I used to be able to run the patch in normal mode but now it gives me errors that the unit was already patched or unrecognized version. Going into safe mode works and I was able to restore original and then repatch. The windows file protection never came up in safe mode, even though the patcher said it should.

This still did not work.

Temporarily I have disabled the SSDP service for the network discovery and have used BootVis optimize system along with the patch and it is now working. If I re enable the SSDP service it does not work anymore.

Before I could keep it on and now I can not. Therefore I don't think the patch did anything as that service is affecting me now. Or maybe they are working together?

The ideal solution would be to have the service on and have all the icons load still.

Thanks.

Strange

Mon, 2012-02-20 06:53 by admin

Something does not work as expected, but I cannot tell what it is.

You can do a binary file compare, using the "fc /b …" command, to find out whether your shell32.dll is patched or not, by comparing it to the original file.

I used beyond compare to see

Wed, 2012-02-22 03:09 by solidsnake44

I used beyond compare to see that there are differences between the files. I'm not sure how to read if the differences are correct but they are different.

Patched

Wed, 2012-02-22 06:57 by admin

If there are differences, but the files are of the same length, then the file is patched.

In that case we may have a new, as yet unknown problem.

They are

Sun, 2012-03-18 04:44 by solidsnake44

They are the same size. I'm still having the issue :( its upsettting.

Different cause?

Sun, 2012-03-18 08:07 by admin

Perhaps your computer is one of the few where the problem comes from something other than the main cause described here. That would be bad luck. Please report, if you ever find out.

hitbit's picture

Missing Icons

Thu, 2011-09-01 14:41 by hitbit

Installed Windows Essentials & Comodo Firewall. Icons would not appear in notification area. Contacted Microsoft help who seemed to think I had a virus and had me run full scans with MalWareBytes, ( which I already had installed on my system ) Vipre Online Scan, Norton Power Eraser and finally Microsoft Safety Scanner. ( None of them found a problem ). This took about 30 hrs due to the amount of files on my system. They then had me check my date and time settings. ( which were ok ) This was followed by running a trouble shooter to "fix" windows. Then it was uninstall and re-install Essentials. After all this the icons were still missing. Then I posted a request for help on Comodo support which directed me to a patch for solving this problem developed by Paul & Nara and available on this site. I duly installed the patch and immediately the Essentials and Comodo icons appeared along with the safely remove hardware and volume icons which were missing for 2 years. My deepest thanks to those who developed this patch and to this site for making it available. Its a pity Microsoft could not be honest and acknowledge this XP problem and direct people to this site if they themselves are unable to develop a problem solving patch. Good one Winhlp. Bad one Microsoft.

hitbit

The solution is very simple

Sat, 2011-05-14 17:35 by wildbill24

Don't listen to these people telling you to disable plug/play and other such services, all you will do is screw things up even further, they don't have a clue what they are talking about. All you need to do is password protect your username then when the startup screen containing your username comes up simply let the computer load until all hard drive activity stops, punch in your password and windows will load all system tray icons as it should. very simple. I have done this on two very different machines that I was having this exact same problem with and it works perfectly every single time without exception. No need for all this techno babel and poking around the registry. Like to old saying goes........"Keep it simple stupid!"

Works for some

Sat, 2011-05-14 17:41 by admin

Yes, it works for some, but not for others. The problem appears in different magnitudes on different computers.

The best solution still seems to be the shell32.dll patch.

Offsets for NEW shell32.dll version 6.0.2900.6072

Wed, 2011-02-16 02:24 by sob8

I used nars' patcher tool, and it worked perfectly for me too on the new 6.0.2900.6072 file. I then opened the original version and the patched version side by side in a hex editor and ran a comparison. Below are the offsets that the patcher tool modified.

00069a1c changed from a0 to 60
00069a1d changed from 0f to ea
00069a21 changed from 03 to 01

Nar's Routine for Patching shell32.dll Worked for me

Sat, 2011-02-12 18:05 by rcwaszak

HipServ Agent (media storage) returned "Could not set icon" error message at startup on 1 of 2 XP SP3 home computers. After much searching I found this thread on missing icons. After reading (and multiple re-readings) of this thread I tried 2 approaches. First, I disabled all the unnecessary startup programs and that "fixed" the problem. Being the inquesitive type I then re-enabled all my startup programs and received the same error message upon restart. I also stopped and restarted explorer.exe after startup and found that my HipServ icon was restored via that process. I then applied Nar's process to patch and replace the shell32.dll (ver 6.0.2900.6072). Worked well for me. Thank you all for the incredible amount of time spent on this problem.

logout+login

Mon, 2011-02-07 15:04 by danielsoft

Thanks for this article. At home, I use mostly Linux, but I have this systray problem at my Windows computer at work. The Ostuni workaround did not work for me. Additionaly, I am not comfortable with patching a system DLL library in our corporate environment: I am capable to do this, but our sysadmins will not be happy after that I guess - so my workaround is this:

When the computer boots, I log in. I wait after all the icons appear, they are wrong. After the system sort of "settles", all desktop icons are loaded etc. I log off and then I log in again. After that, the systray icons are displayed correctly.

Because I boot my computer only few times a week, I am sort of happy with this workaround.

Finally!

Mon, 2010-12-27 16:32 by CharlesW66

Thank you nars and tasmanian. The nars patcher tool worked perfect. It fixed the volume icon problem when everything else I tried failed!

Startright got it right for me

Mon, 2010-11-22 02:05 by Berzerk

After years of ghostly events in my Systray regarding a few disappearing icons including VOLUME (speaker thing) and annoying PC sound 'beeps' which automatically took the place of some usual windows sounds (alerts, warnings, etc.), everything is now sorted out. I tried to apply the Ostuni which seems very popular around here, but the option was already correct on my system, so Ostuni got me nowhere. I read a comment about 'startright' software and decided to give it a try. Result: wow! SOundi icon is back, windows sounds have taken the place of the annoying PC "beeps". Miracle. Me not being a computer expert, I can only say thanks Startright :D!

What worked for me. (10-25-10)

Mon, 2010-10-25 20:19 by mjbahr007

I rebooted my computer pressing F8, went to safe mode in XP, made another user account, then did a restore, (earlier restores under my bad account did not take), the restore took under the new account and when I restarted my computer under my old account name the toolbar came back. My computer did an automatic Windows XP update, (16 files) because of the restore date I chose, but seems to have kept working with the system tray restored. Note this is a real pain in the a$$ problem does anyone know what is causing it?

Read!

Mon, 2010-10-25 21:07 by admin

There seem to be some people who can only write, but not read. You haven't even read that every comment already has its date automatically and that therefore nobody else here adds another date by hand, particularly not to the heading.

Not to mention that your solution is already explained in the main article above, along with much better ones.

patcher tool

Sat, 2010-10-09 22:59 by nars

First I would like to say thanks to tasmanian for the real solution for this problem, and shame on MS that didn't fixed it...

I do use the suggested patch for more than 1 year now and it works perfectly! however tired of applying it each time MS updates shell32.dll, or on new Windows installs, I did decided to create a small patcher tool, I think it can be useful for other people having the same problem, you can download it at:

http://nars.aloj.net/download/shell32patch.zip

The patcher tool should work with every new version of shell32.dll as it will find offset automatically and will take care of Windows File Protection obviously...

If anyone finds any problem with the tool please let me know.

Many, many thank yous!!!

Sun, 2011-03-06 00:21 by Jake

Your patch did the trick! I have been pulling my hair working on this customer’s laptop. He caused the problem playing with "registry optimizing" tools; people please stay away from those products! I had followed some of the registry entries shown in this forum with a little success but this patch TOTALLY fixed the issue of the notification icons (speaker, network, power/battery and more) that had disappeared. He was VERY close to a reformat and fresh install! Microsoft’s tech site is useless in solving this icon disappearing issue.

Thank you for all your hard work and I thank everyone here for all the incredible information and comments on this site!!!

Jake...

Sounds great

Tue, 2010-10-12 08:21 by admin

This appears to be the ultimate workaround that everybody should use.

I haven't had a chance to test it yet. If anybody uses it, please report your results.

Addendum 2011-03-01: Meanwhile I have tested it on two computers, and it worked perfectly. Recommended! And a big thanks to nars.

Thank you for the

Mon, 2010-10-11 08:44 by manzilla

Thank you for the contribution nars - any chance you'd like to share the source with us as well?

source

Wed, 2010-10-13 16:55 by nars

it is a very simple tool, here is the source:
http://nars.aloj.net/download/shell32patch_src.rar
sorry for the Portuguese language comments in the code :)

Could you please give a new

Sun, 2011-06-05 05:45 by nitai4andra

Could you please give a new link to the source - this one gets "404 Not Found" :-(

Unfortunately while trying to

Sat, 2011-06-04 15:21 by nitai4andra

Unfortunately while trying to download source from -- http://nars.aloj.net/download/shell32patch_src.rar -- I've got "404 Not Found" :-(

Could you please upload it once again? Thanks in advance!

Try to contact nars directly

Sun, 2011-06-05 12:45 by admin

Yes, the source is apparently no longer there.

Perhaps you could try to contact nars directly via his contact form.

Missing volume icon recovered

Thu, 2011-09-08 10:11 by elsedavid@hotma...

For months I had been trying to recover the volume control icon permanently. I had tried most of the solutions listed on the topic but although some of them worked for possibly one re-start the icon was soon missing again. Like previous reports when I downloaded from the link: http://nars.aloj.net/download/shell32patch.zip and tried to un-zip the file I received the error: 'The Compressed (zipped) Folder is invalid or corrupted'. My file version is 6.0.2900.6072. I used the very useful information provided by sob8 and the Hex editor recommended earlier to modify my shell32 file. I needed to install the file in ‘safe mode’. All was then correct and the icon appears all the time.

I then contacted ‘nars’ and informed him that the link was not working or the file was corrupt. He kindly sent me the file. This file unzipped correctly. I restored the original shell32 file applied the patch and the changes were made and all is well with the volume icon.

All the above was on my main computer which is running Windows Professional XP SP3. Today I am using another one of my computers with Windows 7 Ultimate. I do not have an issue with the volume icon on this machine but out of curiosity I tried the link above and it un-zipped perfectly. Today it still gives the un-zipping error on my XP computer! Most curious!

The link: http://nars.aloj.net/download/shell32patch_src.rar gives the error 404 on both computers when trying to download it.

Thank you sob8 for writing down the changes but most of all thank you nars for the patch.

Attached here

Thu, 2011-09-08 13:22 by admin

I just downloaded and unpacked the ZIP file without any problem. I have now attached it to the main article at the top, just in case others have the same problem.

Finally - *real* results.

Thu, 2010-09-30 18:34 by manzilla

Had this issue in the past but the UPnP trickery had worked for me - until I ditched AVG and started using Comodo as my AV (already using it for firewall). I do like Comodo, it has alleviated issues I was having with AVG, it just happened to slaughter my startup programs. I was starting to lose hope, and actually contemplating a Windows flush (and a faster system drive too)...

And then I found this site. *Gold*.

[XPSP3] I backed up my original shell32.dll (6.0.2900.6018) then patched another separate copy of my shell32.dll with the values TeaRex posted using Hex Editor Neo (good freeware hex editor btw). DLL Replacer didn't work for me, so I installed the recovery console and 1) Browsed to C:\windows\system32 2) Deleted the shell32.dll 3) Copied shell32_patched.dll to shell32.dll 4) Reboot and happiness ensued.

Systray icons working %100 since (three days now, random reboots/shutdowns just to see) and no side-effects have been noticed.

Thank you to tasmanian (you sleuth you!), depassp, mcrealize and TeaRex, and of course to WinHlp.com for bringing all this together.

See you when SP4 is released :)

Recovery Console

Thu, 2010-09-30 19:59 by admin

I'm surprised that Windows didn't change shell32.dll back again on its first boot. Some magic in Recovery Console perhaps? Sounds a bit unlikely, but who knows?

Anyway, glad you got it to work.

Missing Tray Icons

Sun, 2010-09-05 12:58 by Charlie2244

The log off then log back on worked for me.
But now they are all back after I uninstalled Norton IS 2010. I installed a free antivirus program.
WXP sp3 laptop

Disappearing Clipmate Systray Icon

Tue, 2010-08-10 23:37 by beagun

The most utilized utility I have is Thronsoft's Clipmate, and its systray icon started disappearing after a MS update some months ago. The problem was intermittent. The solution was to uncheck all items related to Startup on the Clipmate
Tools-> Options-> General screen. Clipmate will then fail to load at startup. When loaded manually, Icon always appears and remains in the systray. - Therefore, as mentioned in several places above, it is a timing problem.

Just deleting it from the Microsoft or "Starter" startup list is insufficient.

yes it works !

Thu, 2010-08-05 08:22 by LTH

thanks for this tricks, in my case switching to XP theme solved the trouble

Disappearing Icons in Systray

Wed, 2010-07-14 10:55 by Maccyroo

If you suffer from this problem there are many fixes to choose from. The best one i have tried only works if taskmanager is showing the relevant startup process is running but the systray icons are missing. I use a free startup manager from r2 studios http://www.r2.com.au/software.php?page=2&show=startdelay

Just click on the items that are loading but not showing up in the systray and insert a delay time for each each affected program. I have found, that to get this to work properly, you should not set any of the delay times to less than a minute and leave a minimum 10 second gap between each process.

If you have a lot of missing icons, then obviously your total boot time will increase. So you may have to just choose the most important items you need. Or be prepared for boot times to increase.

Solution

Wed, 2010-07-14 15:50 by admin

But don't overlook the perfect solution, explained above. It is a defect in shell32.dll, after all.

UPnP worked for me

Wed, 2010-06-16 15:11 by toucan

After reading the solution about hiding UPnP devices, I suspected that it would help as I had just recently got a new router and had been messing around with UPnP devices. Hiding them worked perfectly. Hope this helps someone else. Thanks.

ok, even patching with the

Fri, 2010-06-04 07:29 by SHSH

ok, even patching with the "fundamental" method isnt doing the trick. It gets better though, but still: a few icons are missing. I guess WinXP is simply overstrained by putting lots of apps into autostart... - thats the bottom line

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