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Q. Status bar in Windows XP no longer showed the programs running.

I am running Windows XP home version. One day about 4 months ago I opened up my computer to find that the status bar (that's the one at the bottom of my screen, right?) no longer showed me the programs I was running. Now, when I click on the (-) top right on a document (which just diminishes the document but keeps it available for use), the document seems to close completely. Same with my Internet connections - they close when I leave them to go back to another document. It is very irritating to have to constantly be reopening documents to work on them. My very IT-savvy husband can't seem to solve this dilemma either. Do you know why the program is handling open documents differently from the way it used to handle and display them? Is there a solution? I can't even ask Microsoft, since I bought a clone and the company that made the system has since folded. Thanks so much for any help you can give me

A. The Taskbar is the name of the name of the bar along the bottom of the screen that has the Start button on it.  I believe that this is the status bar to which you refer, is that correct?  I've never heard of the Minimize button actually closing windows before, instead of just minimizing them.

There are many applications available that will not minimize to the taskbar in the usual way, though.  These applications will minimize to what is called the System Tray, instead.  The System Tray is a set of small icons that are displayed on the right side of the Taskbar, normally just next to the clock.  It is possible that the applications you are trying to minimize are just going directly to the System Tray, but I do not think that this is very likely.  It is an unspoken rule with applications that they are only supposed to minimize to the System Tray when the majority of their work is done behind-the-scenes.

Another possibility, which I think is much more likely, is that you may have a toolbar overlaying the Taskbar and making it so that you cannot see most or any of the Taskbar.  The most probable toolbar that would do this is called the Quick Launch bar. It is the toolbar that starts out with two icons on it: one to show the desktop and one to start Internet Explorer.  The Quick Launch toolbar starts off as just a small part of the Taskbar, but it is resizable and if you or someone else accidentally clicked and dragged the wrong part of the Taskbar, the Quick Launch bar could have been resized to be nearly the entire length of the Taskbar.  If this is the case, you would have only about half an inch or less left on the Taskbar where minimized programs would be shown.

To test to see if this is what is happening, right-click anywhere on the Taskbar (make sure you are not right-clicking on an icon that is on the Taskbar).  On the context menu that pops up, you should see a submenu named Toolbars.  When you hover the cursor over the Toolbars submenu, you should see a list of available toolbars popup.  Click on any toolbar that has a check mark next to it.  If there is more than one toolbar with a check mark, then you will need to do this a few times until there are no toolbars listed with check marks next to them.  Once you have done this, open and minimize one of the applications you are having troubles with and let me know if you are able to see the application on the Taskbar now or not.  We'll go from there.

Let me know if you need anything else.

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