Case of the Missing System Tray Icons

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Had a problem with some of the icons in my system tray failing to appear on Windows start-up. Never experienced this kind of weirdness before.

Sherlock Searching for Missing Tray IconsThe Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Icons began shortly after I uninstalled all the programs I no longer use (something I do every 3 months), and then scanned the registry to delete unnecessary entries (thousands).

Afterwards, my system *did* start noticeably faster. Maybe too fast.

Research led me to lots of similar experiences (misery loves company, doncha know), but no sure-fire solutions.

The only thing that worked was to find (& install) a program that delays the loading of Windows programs on startup .. called (what else?) » Startup Delayer (freebie).

Impressive little program. It comes with a graphical interface to delay the startup of your programs (via drag-n-drop functionality) .. for up to 2 minutes .. which should be plenty for most users.

Some programs will insist on starting with Windows .. no matter what kind of delay you assign to them in SD. I had 3 such rebels (including Daemon Tools & DAP), which I re-configured to NOT Start with Windows. I now start these manually, as needed.

Many of the sites I consulted theorize that too many programs are trying to load concurrently, which prevents some of the tray icons from appearing.

••• today's entry continues here below •••

I should note that an inspection of the Windows Task Manager revealed that the programs themselves had indeed loaded. It was only the icons that failed to display in the system tray. So it's not a major problem, just weirdness .. that makes the curious curious.

As a general rule, you want your antivirus & firewall loading first (sans delay). During startup your antivirus will load and perform an initial scan .. to make sure nothing bad is loading. This initial scan usually completes within the first minute of your desktop appearing. (You can watch your disk-activity light to see when things finally settle down.)

So I set my first delayed program (delay.01) to start after a delay of 60 seconds. I then load each subsequent program after an additional 5-sec delay (delay.02 = 65-secs, delay.03 = 70-secs, delay.04 = 75-secs, etc). I have 4 programs loading with no delay, and 8 that are delayed .. so my final program starts with delay of 95-secs. (I disabled a lot of other programs deemed unnecessary, too.)

I also config'ed my system to require a password at log-in. Before logging in, I wait until the disk-activity light stops flickering (which takes ~ 30 secs).

The weird thing about tray icons is that there's no list you can check to verify that all of them are loading. I mean, some could be failing to load and you might never notice .. unless you're looking for one in particular.

Rad-kudos to the guys down-under at r2 (Australia) for providing that program free-of-charge (.. functionality that many other companies charge for). I had no problems with it whatsoever. Stupid-easy to use. Surprisingly intuitive. No need to consult the manual. And best of all » it works.

[ Ironic, cuz playing with new programs is how I got into this predicament in the first place. ] Along these lines, Autoruns is another app you might appeciate. It's way more complicated than SD, tho. Amazing to see all the things that load during start-up (hundreds).

Mozambique woman* Update from Nigel. See here » Case of the missing icons. Nigel is the smartest techie I know (.. and I know lots of smart techies).

This weekend I'm taking you to Moçambique .. on the east coast of Afrika. So dust off your passport and do your homework. More. Wikipedia. Images.

Autumn just arrived down there, so it's gonna be pretty sweet. Nectar days galore. We'll be flying into Cape Town and driving up in a Jeep. And don't forget to bring your boots, cuz we'll be doing some gnarly hiking while we're there, too.

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query windows system tray icons missing

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Create the following StartPNP.bat file. Save to a folder in your default path. Run it. Add it to the Startup menu:

@echo Please wait 30-60 seconds while the PNP processes start!
@echo .
@sc config upnphost start= demand
@sc config ssdpsrv start= demand
@net start SSDPSRV
@net start upnphost
@sc config upnphost start= disabled
@sc config ssdpsrv start= disabled

@echo MS PnP has started Press any key to remove this window.
rem pause

Run the .bat file. Once you run it once, re-boot and your missing icons will appear if you have installed the .bat file in the Startup menu.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rad published on March 31, 2009 8:37 AM.

Deke does Adobe da Best » Teaching Photoshop & Illustrator CS4 was the previous entry in this blog.

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