Sunday, July 27, 2008

System icons may not appear in the notification area on a Windows Vista-based computer

System icons may not appear in the notification area on a Windows Vista-based computer until you restart the computer

SYMPTOMS
When you first start a computer that is running Windows Vista, one or more of the Network, Volume, and Power icons may not appear in the notification area at the bottom of the screen. You may also notice that the check boxes for the related system icons are not selected on the Notification Area tab of the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box. However, the network, volume, and power features function correctly even though their associated icons do not appear in the notification area. You can access these features by using Control Panel.

CAUSE
When the system or an application wants to put an icon in the notification area, the system or the application sends a discrete communication message to the operating system "shell." If the operating system is very busy, that message may expire, or may time out. When this time-out occurs, the icon does not appear in the notification area. This issue typically occurs during the first system startup. During the first startup, the system is very busy processing many startup, application, and service initializations.

Note These startup service initializations may take from one to six hours to finish, depending on which applications are preloaded on the computer. For example, the initialization time varies depending on the number of startup applications or services that a customer has ordered or that the computer manufacturer has added to the computer.

WORKAROUND
When you first start a new computer, the operating system typically runs a "customer welcome" sequence. This sequence is also known as the "out-of-the-box experience" (OOBE). The operating system runs the sequence and also starts other applications and services for the first time. Give the operating system enough time to finish these startup service initializations before you shut down or you restart the computer. This issue will typically not reoccur after the operating system has finished initializing all the background services, becomes less busy, and then has been restarted.

Note You can determine whether these service initializations are finished by observing the hard disk drive light activity (if your computer has this feature). If the hard disk drive light blinks intermittently instead of being solidly lit, these service initializations might be finished. You can also check CPU usage on the Performance tab in Windows Task Manager. If CPU usage is less than 15 percent, the service initializations might be completed, and you can shut down or restart the computer.

How to make the icons reappear
Warning Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly by using Registry Editor or by using another method. These problems might require that you reinstall the operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved. Modify the registry at your own risk.

If you have tried the restart workaround that is listed earlier in this article for this issue and one or more of the system icons still do not appear in the notification area after the restart, you can try the following registry modification workaround.

Note You may have to reapply this workaround after you restart the computer if the icons still do not appear in the notification area.

You can make the icons reappear by deleting two subkeys from the registry. To do this, follow these steps:
1. Click Start Start button, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.

User Access Control permission If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Allow.
2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify
3. In the Details pane, click the IconStreams registry entry.
4. On the Edit menu, click Delete, and then click Yes.
5. In the Details pane, click the PastIconsStream registry entry.
6. On the Edit menu, click Delete, and then click Yes.
7. Exit Registry Editor.
8. Restart the Explorer.exe process. To do these, follow these steps:
a. Press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC.
b. On the Processes tab in Windows Task Manager, click the explorer.exe process, and then click End Process two times.
c. On the File menu, click New Tasks (Run), type explorer, and then click OK.
d. Exit Windows Task Manager.

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