How to Restore the Taskbar on Windows XP

by M. Wade

The taskbar in Microsoft Windows XP, which is located by default at the bottom of the screen, is a bar on the desktop that displays the "Start" button, houses the system tray, and organizes the windows you have opened. As you use your computer, opening, closing, and moving windows, you can inadvertently drag the taskbar to another part of the screen. Also, the taskbar may disappear altogether if your computer settings are such that they allow users to "hide" the taskbar. To restore the taskbar and prevent it from disappearing or moving, you must access and change the taskbar's settings.

1

Open the "Taskbar and Start Menu Properties" dialog box. Right-click the "Start" button and select "Properties" from the pop-up menu that appears. This will load a dialog box that allows you to view and change the settings for the Start menu and the taskbar.

2

Select "Lock the taskbar." Click the "Taskbar" tab to view and change the settings for the taskbar. The Taskbar tab is divided into two sections: "Taskbar Appearance" and "Notification area." The "Taskbar Appearance" section contains five options, in checkboxes, for changing how you view the taskbar. Click the "Lock the taskbar" checkbox. This will keep the taskbar in its place, preventing you from purposely or accidentally dragging or moving the taskbar to other areas of the screen.

3

Uncheck "Auto-hide the taskbar." If you have this checkbox selected, this will cause the taskbar to disappear while you work. It will reappear only when you move your mouse cursor over the area where the taskbar would otherwise be. To prevent the taskbar from disappearing when your cursor is in other areas of the screen, you must uncheck this box.

4

Select "Keep the taskbar on top of other windows." Selecting this checkbox will cause the taskbar to permanently display on your computer screen. All windows that you open will appear behind the taskbar, even if you attempt to click and drag a window over the taskbar. Selecting this checkbox will keep the taskbar accessible at all times, especially when you have opened several windows.

5

Apply the settings. Making the changes described in Steps 2 through 4, together, will restore the taskbar if you cannot find it and will prevent you from losing track of the taskbar in the future. Once you have made these changes, click the "Apply" button. This will save the changes you have made to the taskbar.

Tip

  • Downloading and installing Service Pack 3 and the latest security updates will help keep Windows XP operating properly.

About the Author

M. Wade is a licensed attorney and writer. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and University of Louisville and has been published in the University of Louisville Law Review, The Brand, and Blackline. She has been a writer for Demand Studios since August 2008.

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