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Step up to taskbar for restoration job

November 06, 2005|By JAMES COATES

Q: The icons at the bottom left of my computer screen next to the Start button have disappeared. I dug out an old column that you had written about this problem for a gentleman with Windows 98, and you said to open the Properties for the Taskbar and uncheck the item Auto Hide. Well, my Auto Hide is already unchecked, and the icons are gone. What to do now?

- Laverne Kopp,
Williamsburg, Va.

A: It is poetic justice whenever a newspaper guy like me gripes about being quoted out of context, but that's my answer, Ms. K. Just because I said what I said, that doesn't mean that I meant what I said.

That didn't come out right either. Let me backtrack.

You found an article where I covered the vexing problem when the entire bar at the bottom of the screen disappears out of the blue. But your question focuses not on a missing bar in total but instead on missing icons on the left side of that bar at the screen's bottom, called the taskbar.

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Instead of Auto Hide, you are dealing with another taskbar setting called Quick Launch. This feature puts icons of commonly used programs readily available alongside the Start button.

To get icons to display on the taskbar next to the Windows Start bar, a user right-clicks on the bar just to the right of the Start button and selects Toolbars from the pop-up that appears.

One of the options is Quick Launch, which opens that bit of real estate where one can drag icons for frequently used programs so they can be opened in an instant.

The Quick Launch tool automatically creates icons for the Windows desktop, Internet Explorer and the Windows Media Player that are set off from the rest of the taskbar with a double dotted line. Other icons can be added by creating a shortcut and dragging it onto the bar.

By contrast, the Auto Hide check box makes the whole taskbar, Quick Launch included, disappear and then reappear when a user drags the mouse cursor off the bottom of the screen.

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