"Safely remove hardware" icon in the navigation tray (Windows XP) does not appear when USB device is plugged in

I use an IBM T42 thinkpad with microsoft XP as the OS. Recently I have been having a problem with the "safely remove harware" icon on the bottom navigation tray. When a USB device is inserted it does not show up anymore, so rather than disconnecting the USB device before unplugging it, I am forced to pull it out. Can you suggest how to restore the "safely remove harware" icon ?
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Usually that icon is used for mountable devices like drives ,cameras, some printers and memory cards. If its a USB mouse or keyboard, these do not use the remove feature so they don't show up or activate the icon.
What devices are you plugging in that aren't activating the icon. Does this device once plugged in, show up in the device manager, can you use the device?
Great link ee_rlee, been looking for something like that just this week.
Or, if you prefer a more command-line, mouse-get-out-of-my-way(!) approach, download the microsoft devcon.exe and never reach for that stupid icon again!

Forced accept.

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