Why does my task manager system tray icon suddenly stop showing up?

Posted on 2009-02-09
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
       I usually try to keep my task manager in the notification area/system tray, so I can monitor my CPU usage.  Also, it gives me the ability to pull up the task manager when AOL freezes my machine up.  Every now and then, I lose the ability to "hide" my task manager in the system tray.  There's no icon when I pull up the window and none appears when I minimize.  Yes, I have a checkmark on "hide when minimized".  I normally have the TM icon in the tray.  I can't figure out what is causing this malfunction, but I will put this question up for 500 points, because I haven't been able to find an answer to it ANYWHERE.  Hopefully, someone here can help me figure it out.  
        I'm including a screen shot with TM open.  You will notice there is no icon in the system tray, even though task manager is......oh......wait...actually, as I'm taking this screen shot I notice that my icon is back and now it minimizes fine.  WTF???  My computer hasn't been off all weekend and has been on all day!!  I don't get it, but now it's working fine.  I'll still leave this question up, because I already typed it out, but I don't know what I did differently that made it suddenly start working.  I opened TM and suddenly it worked.  The only other thing I can think of is that I closed out a tab of my website in IE7 when I was getting ready to take the screen shot.  Thanks.
Question by:Bags305
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Don't know why but here's a trick
    Task Manager, Create a Shortcut to
    LVL 66

    Expert Comment

    Already a keyboard shortcut to it built in Windows.........

    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Bags305, any feedback?
    I took another look at your snap and I noticed the arrow, click on this arrow and I bet you'll see the task manager.
    You have enabled hide inactive  icons, and also since your task bar is small it will only show two or three icons, unlock the taskbar and drag it up to enlarge it then you'll see more.

    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    PS that green icon is the taskmanger

    Author Comment

    sounds like your comments are just to see if i will accept them and get you guys some points.  well it won't be that easy.  if you don't know what the answer is, then don't bother commenting, cuz all the stuff you've mentioned above is insulting my intelligence.
    LVL 66

    Accepted Solution

    System Tray icons are stored in the registry under here......


    It's a binary value, whihc means you cant just look at it to delete an icon thats problematic....

    You can delete the value of the "PastIconsStream". If there is corruption, this will eliminate it, and hopefully going forward the icon will be more reliable.....

    Also, I am sure this value is correct in your registry, as it is intermittent.....


    That GUID points to the following....


    And on an SP3 PC, the file version is....

    Systray shell service object

    So ideally, as long as those reg keys are ok, then you will have to turn your attention to the PastIconsStreams value...... Always worth a try, and you can backup the key first prior to you deleting it.....

    Author Comment

    johnb - i checked those two last entries (i don't have sp3) and they were as you wrote.  the PastIconsStream was full of binary data.  I exported a backup of it and deleted the whole key out.  I had no Task Manager icon while I was trying this.  After it was deleted, I still had no icon.  So I closed out a few tabs in IE7.  Still nothing.  I closed out both my IE7 windows I had open.  Nada.  Next I shut down AOL.  I right clicked on the task bar to pull up TM and still no damn icon (I had been selecting from the taskbar's context menu for all these tests).  So I tried pulling it up with CTRL-SHIFT-ESC and BOOM - got the icon.  I am sure it will disappear again in the future, but at least there are a few more clues to work with.

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