A sure way of fixing it should be to restart the explorer.exe process. Although it is somewhat reactive and not proactive in fixing the problem.
- Hit CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to bring up Task Manager.
- Click on the Image Name heading for the column to order it by name, so the list stops jumping around.
- Find explorer.exe in the list and click the End Process button.
The taskbar will vanish from your screen.
- From the same Task Manager window, click File and then New Task (Run...)
- Type explorer.exe and click OK to bring back a fully functional taskbar with lots of lovely icons.
As for getting to the root cause of the problem, there are a couple of things worth trying.
- If you have your Windows XP installation CD to hand, pop it into your drive and exit out of the wizard that automatically appears.
- Click Start and then click Run.
sfc /scannow and click OK. Note there is a space after
- A little window will appear telling you that it is checking system files. Once it vanishes, take out the XP Installation CD from the drive and restart your computer.
Give your PC a full scan with any anti-virus software that you may have installed. I doubt it would cause the symptoms that you are experiencing, but worth doing nevertheless.
Depending on when the problem started happening, a system restore might also be valid option to try.
- Click Start
- Click All Programs
- Click Accessories
- Click System Tools
- Click System Restore
- Follow the instructions on the wizard to restore your computer to a point in time. Pick the date just before you know it was all working okay. This will not affect documents that you have stored on your computer.
Failing all of this, without sifting through your startup list to see if there are any programs that might be causing this, or peeking into the registry, a repair installation may be needed.