the case of the disappearing taskbar
April 6, 2005 11:58 AM   Subscribe

So, every so often, when I boot up my work computer (a Dell Dimension running Win98) the taskbar doesn't register any applications.

It's not that it doesn't show up at all -- it does. But when I open a program, it doesn't appear in the taskbar. Instead they minimize to the bottom of the screen, hidden behind the taskbar. I have to shut down and restart the computer once or twice to get it to function again. Any ideas on what's going on and how this might be fixed?
posted by me3dia to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Windows 98 basically isn't very good as a business system because it was designed to be a home system. The fundamental difference is the way the memory is allocated. How many times a day do you have to reboot? With Windows 2000 or XP, memory is managed differently, and if one program crashes the others keep going instead if requiring a reboot to re-allocate the memory. Ask your employers to upgrade! It will increase productivity by a long way.
posted by kenchie at 2:11 PM on April 6, 2005

Weird. Try killing explorer.exe and see if that fixes it.
posted by grouse at 2:21 PM on April 6, 2005

Response by poster: Kenchie, unless this intermittant -- once or twice a month -- problem occurs, I normally boot up in the morning and go all day. You're not really answering my question.

Grouse, I'll try that.
posted by me3dia at 2:32 PM on April 6, 2005

When was the last time you updated your video drivers?

I'm always surprised at how many seemingly functional errors (e.g., I understand you're not talking about a display error but instead an apparent problem with the taskbar "taking" the minimized app on the minimize event) are related to display driver mushiness.

I even had this happen to me on XP once. once, but it was right after I'd installed some beta video drivers.
posted by socratic at 3:15 PM on April 6, 2005

what kenchie is saying, whether you like it or not, is that win98 is so pants that one thing going wrong can make another, apparently unconnected thing, go wrong. so it's very difficult to know what the root problem could be.

have you looked in the start folder (or whatever it's called)? you could move anything that's not absolutely critical out of there and see if that helps. have you done windows update (if win98 is still supported) and applied all updates?
posted by andrew cooke at 5:06 PM on April 6, 2005

Best answer: me3dia, MVP Kelly Theriot has a registry tweak for that specific problem on his tweaks page; it's #240. I bet this fixes things for you. You should be running Win98 SE if you aren't; it's the most stable version. But any Win98 installation gets wiggy after more than 12-18 months of continuous real-world operation including installs and uninstalls.
posted by dhartung at 9:50 PM on April 6, 2005

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