Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Taskbar,blue screens,IE 7– Holiday Edition

It is my sincere wish that all of you are enjoying a long Holiday weekend. In that spirit, I am taking the day off and reposting an earlier article that answers reader questions and includes links to several important topics. I hope you didn’t miss yesterday’s article,.. and that you are staying warm. Enjoy.

Reader questions this week bring me back to IE 7 and the taskbar, and a new topic: what to do when an Update causes crashes and other troubles. So today I will not post my usual Tip of the day, but the (hopefully) now familiar “Q’s and their A’s” format.

IE 7 Questions:   (you may want to review my post on IE7 Security zones, and Questions answered, as well.)

Q: My Explorer menu bar disappeared, how do I get it back?
A: In IE version 7, the old familiar menu bar (File, Edit, View, etc.) was removed from the default configuration to ‘streamline’ IE’s look, and quite possibly because Microsoft was aware that people were installing their own toolbars (see “toolbar madness“). To get it back, use a method similar to the one used for Windows’ taskbar. Click on the down arrow next to the grey “gear” icon marked “Tools” and click on the Menu bar option. Now a checkmark will appear next to it, and your menu bar is back. To keep it there, hover your mouse over the option below Menu bar, “Toolbars”, and click on (select) the “Lock the toolbars” option.
While you’re there, you may want to play around with the “Customize” option and tweak which buttons appear on your bars.

Q: I can’t add a site to my Trusted zone:
A: I answered this in the previous answers post, but this detail is worth repeating: The person was on their personal machine and was running as an administrator, so there’s no problem there. The trouble was they hadn’t cleared the checkbox next to “Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone”.https.jpgThe difference is the “s” at the end of “http”, which indicates a special, secured internet protocol. You will know if you’re on such a website by the gold lock icon that appears in the URL window (and/or elsewhere on the page). It is an encrypted connection generally only used for electronic payment sites. A check here prevents you from adding regular websites.

Q: Can I make IE block sites when my child is browsing, but allow them for me?
A: This is a great question! And the answers are: yes, sort of, and … how many sites are we talking about? There are a couple of ways to go about this, but I want to spend more time on this topic than there’s room for here today. Protecting your children from the dangers of the Internet is a huge subject. I wrote a series of four articles on it, and to read it click here.

Taskbar question:

Q: What happened to the icons in my taskbar?
A: These “my icons disappeared” questions depend on if we’re talking about the Notification area (on the right, by the clock), or the Quick Launch area (on the left, by the Start button).
In the Notification area, an icon’s disappearance usually indicates that the “process” has gone idle and is not “running” at the moment.That means it isn’t needed, and hasn’t been needed for quite some time. It will run when it’s needed so, in this case don’t worry about it. In some instances, such as the speaker icon or the the two PC’s network icon, speaker.jpga checkbox has become unchecked and you simply need to check it again. Click on Start >Control Panel >Speakers and Audio devices, and select (check) the “Place an icon in the taskbar”.

If the Quick Launch icons have disappeared, right-click on a blank area in the taskbar and select Properties. Click on the Taskbar tab, and place a check in the checkbox labeled “Show Quick Launch”. As I have mentioned before, these Quick Launch icons are simply shortcuts. You can add more shortcuts here by simple drag-and-drop, or remove the ones you never use.

NOTE: If your icons have always been there and then, suddenly, some (or all) of them are gone — you may have picked up some malware. I recommend that you run “deep” antivirus and an anti-spyware scans immediately.

Windows Update:

Q: An Update is causing BSOD’s, what do I do?
A: From time to time a Microsoft security Update will not be compatible with the software and/or device drivers on your machine and the instability will trigger the Blue Screen Of Death (for more on BSOD’s and what to do, see “When good computers go bad“). Usually, Microsoft will repair this and issue a new Update … eventually. In the meantime, remove the Update (If you’re not sure which Update is the perp, remove the most recent ones) by going to Add/Remove Programs in your Control Panel. (Start >Settings >Control Panel >Add/Remove Programs) Now look to the top area and place a check (select) in the “Show updates” checkbox. Now you will be able to see the list of installed Updates.
Click on the Update you want to remove, and click on the Remove button.

Today’s free link: How about playing some games today.. in light of the long holiday weekend. Hop over to Armor Games for a nice selection of time wasters. These Flash-based games are for kids of all ages.

Copyright © 2007 Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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November 24, 2007 - Posted by | advice, BSOD, computers, how to, IE 7, kids and the Internet, PC, removing Updates, security zones, System Tray, Taskbar, tech, Windows | , ,


  1. Just instlled IE7. It was a mistake it seems… I want to have my personal links at the bottom of the browser head (like before, in IE6). But now MS force me to have a fixed menues at the top and bottom… How to remove the bottom menu, or at least move down my personal favorites again?


    Comment by Ola | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  2. Ola–
    I want you to understand one thing very clearly– IE 6 is the most hacked and exploited piece of software ever written. It was NOT a “mistake” to dump it in favor of the much more secure IE 7.
    The gold-star “Favorites” icon has moved from the center of the bottom bar, to the left.. a move of a few inches, and there is no easy way to move it back to the center again. This was necessary to allow for Tabbed browsing. Is that what you are asking about? The position of the gold star (Favorites) icon?
    I guess I don’t understand…neither version has a “bottom” menu bar. If you have the old menu bar showing (in IE 7), which it is not, by default, you can hide it again by clicking Tools and unchecking Menubar. This will leave you with one toolbar… unless you add 3rd-party toolbars, like Google Toolbar.


    Comment by techpaul | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  3. taskbar has been disabled by the administrator what to do ?


    Comment by Anonymous | March 11, 2008 | Reply

  4. Sir or Madam–
    All modern operating systems allow for multiple users, and the assignment of privillege levels to each user. It is often a good idea to restrict what users can do do on a machine (such as if the machine is a kiosk).
    In corporate environments, schools, and libraries (where multiple machines are in use), it is typical for a single machine “image” to be used, and for all the “adjustable” (think “personalize”) options disabled by the Administrator. While this makes for boring uniformity, it greatly reduces the time and cost of maintaining those machines, and recovering from serious crashes.. they just remount the “image”.
    I suppose you could ask the IT department for temporary permission and make your “tweak”, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope for approval.


    Comment by techpaul | March 11, 2008 | Reply

  5. I just want to thank you for solving a small but irritating problem for me. I did not know the name (silly but true) of the menu bar and how to get it on my ie7. You just made my day one irritation lighter.


    Comment by Alice in computerland | June 12, 2008 | Reply

  6. For some unknown reason, all my yellow folders in Data
    sent to the bottom of the page – just did a “flip-flop”
    How do I get them back at the top of the list?


    Comment by Betty Skinner | November 10, 2008 | Reply

  7. Betty–
    You mistakenly clicked on Sort By Date and reversed the order, would be my guess. Simply click it again.
    (This is the same in alphabetical. A click will change A -> Z to Z -> A).


    Comment by techpaul | November 10, 2008 | Reply

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