Many readers sent questions regarding wireless taskbar icon and wireless wizard on Control Panel (for Bluetooth, infrared, and Wi-Fi) that often disappear without notice from their Windows XP screen. It's quite puzzling and annoying especially when the problem becomes persistent.
Here, I'd like to share my tips when dealing with this situation:
- I have to take a note about when the last time the lovely icon was there.
- I have to remember what I had done before the icon disappeared, whether downloading & installing automatic Windows update, updating a device driver, installing new hardware or application, working with my wireless dongle or else.
- I have to check whether my PC memory and processor can still cope with new tasks.
I traced and solved the problem using these tools:
- System Configuration Utility via Services and Startup tabs. On Services tab, I can tick Bluetooth Support Service, Infrared Monitor, and Wireless Zero Configuration among other services. On Startup tab, I can find programs that I want to run automatically in the background once my PC starts up. Selecting a program file from the Startup tab will let the associated program icon to appear on the System Tray or the taskbar, hence it's called taskbar icon. If too many programs are running, one or several taskbar icons sometimes disappear. I open System Configuration Utility by clicking "start" and then "Run", on the input box type this: "msconfig".
- Device Manager. This is my favorite tool because it senses any hardware or driver update in real time. Even though I can't fix the problem directly from the Device Manager, this tool very often gives a hint as to what has caused the change of a hardware-related application behavior.
- System Restore. At many occasions, System Restore tool which can be accessed from Windows XP Help and Support Center (start>Help and Support>Pick a task>"Undo changes to your computer with System Restore") helped return my PC to a previous stable state. And it doesn't delete files or emails in the restoration process. The nice thing is I can pick a certain date from a calendar as my Restore Point and if mistaken I can reverse the process.
- Windows Task Manager. From the Task Manager, I can see running applications, processes, CPU and memory usage, networking load, and logged on users. If too many applications and processes are running, then it's time to close some. I open the Task Manager usually by pressing "Ctrl+Alt+Del", but it can also be invoked by right-clicking on the System Tray and click Task Manager.
In the case of Windows XP's Wireless Zero Configuration (WZC) service, some folks (me included) sometimes lose it because of the "Use Windows to configure my wireless network settings" is accidentally unchecked in the Wireless Network Connection properties window. A third party software may help. For example, my wireless adapter utility can enable and disable WZC.
If those tips and tricks above don't cure, I would manually open my PC's casing (if my wireless adapter is a PCI card) and detach the adapter from the PCI slot or unplug my wireless adapter (if it is a USB dongle or PC Card). I would then turn on my computer and after everything settles, turn it off and re-insert the hardware. After that, turn on the computer again and re-install the driver and application.
Ever lost your Bluetooth icon or other wireless icons or services? Share your experience. How did you finally fix it?
infrared taskbar icon only appears if an infrared (IrDA)-enabled device is present near the computer's IrDA window (beamer) in LOS (line-of-sight).
Windows XP Networking Guide : Bluetooth wizards