Category Archives: Windows 7

Notification area icons disappearing

Yesterday (after some Microsoft updates) I noticed that one or two of my usual Notification Area icons were acting strangely. Either they appeared for 20 seconds and then disappeared or they weren’t there at all. This was strange since I only had a small number of them and had ticked Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar [ Control Panel | Notification Area Icons ].

I’m using Windows 7.

It seems that this is an old problem, going back at least as far as Vista.

Apparently Windows Explorer keeps a list of all icons that have ever been used in the Notification Area and there seems to be an unstated limit to this number.

The fix is to delete a couple of Registry data entries and restart explorer.exe (or reboot). Logout/login may also be sufficient.

Here are the details:

  • Back up the Registry by creating a restore point.
  • Press the Windows key, type regedit, and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  • Navigate to and select HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify.
  • Delete both IconStreams and PastIconStream in the right pane.
  • Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete and select Start Task Manager. Or use the (secret) combo: Ctrl-Shift-Escape.
  • Select the Processes tab, choose explorer.exe, and click End Process.
  • Choose the Applications tab, click New Task, enter explorer.exe in the text box, and press Enter.

Here is the Notification Area after the icons came back (especially Ditto – a free Clipboard manager):

Notification Area


Chrome auto-updates without asking

Just looked at the Chrome version I was using (Tools | About Google Chrome). It immediately started looking for upgrades (with the usual Windows 7 swirling “wait” logo). Then it said it was “Installing new version…”:

Chrome Auto Updates

What a nerve!

Ztree — Top 10 Program (even for Windows 7)

I usually open all sorts of files from within Ztree by hitting the letter “O”. Files like html files and gifs etc.

But, I couldn’t open .bmp files.

This has been bugging everyone for years (at least since 2004).

Here is a long-lost [ pixellated ] reply from the past:

Ztree Can't Open BMP Files

Find the BMP.BAT file in the ZTW directory (usually c:\ztw for XP or c:\users\loginname\ztw for Windows 7) and rename it to bmpx.bat (or anything).

Now the .bmp files will open properly.

I think Ztree was trying to open PaintBrush (huh ?).

Show Hidden Icons (Fixed — Or Maybe Not)

In Windows 7, the Notification Area has a little chevron icon (a vertical-pointing triangle) that you click to show hidden icons (like the Volume or Network etc).

Over a period, I noticed that the chevron would overlap the first visible icon in the area (typically the Action Centre Flag icon) and no matter how you tweaked the icons from hidden to visible and back again, the chevron kept overlapping the first visible icon.

Then a mention of the “Notification Area Icons” under Control Panel (in an internet search) took me again to the familiar “configuration” window. However, this time I noticed the  unticked box “Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar”. So, after ticking and OK’ing that, there was now just a string of icons (not including the original chevron button, of course).

Back to the Control Panel, unticking the above-mentioned box and amazingly, all the icons are now spaced correctly with no more overlapping.

Not Fixed:

Show Hidden Icons NOT FIXED


Show Hidden Icons FIXED

Unfortunately, it is not a permanent fix. A reboot or moving the Desktop Toolbar will un-fix it again. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

The OS (Windows 7) is Dead. Long Live the OS.

The Windows 7 Beta and RC1 versions have now expired. I did not want the Windows actions of 2-hourly shutdowns for a month before finally being unable to access my data.

Very nasty, Microsoft.

I have now dropped Windows 7 completely, as I’m sure others will too — refusing the extortionate $400 pricetag.

My OS of choice is now Fedora (a totally modern, free 64-bit Linux OS). It has pleasant surprises at every turn, like displaying the local weather when hovering over the time display —

Scattered Clouds

Automatic reboot – how Linux does it

A few minutes ago, my Fedora 11 box asked if it could install 11 updates (and it listed updates to Firefox and other browsers).  I said OK. Then the little red indicator appeared. Hover over it; take a screen-shot:

Fedora 11

Fedora 11 with restart message

It’s in the middle of more calculations at the moment, so I’ll wait 30 minutes or so until I can interrupt it. Then restart Fedora. Then resume the calculations.

That’s how a sane OS behaves.

Automatic reboot – Windows 7

The outrageous feature of Windows XP automatically rebooting after some important Microsoft Updates continues with Windows 7.

It happened early this morning, July 30 2009, after the installation of the “Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 8 for Windows 7 Release Candidate (KB972260). As one paragraph says:

Security issues have been identified that could allow an attacker to compromise a computer running Microsoft Internet Explorer and gain control over it. You can help protect your computer by installing this update from Microsoft. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer. [Bob: Underline added]

A 2 ½ hour calculation solving a 1,500,000 × 1,500,00 linear matrix was interrupted. Luckily this was not a 60 hour calculation (220 digit factorisations often take this long on the matrix inversion step).

List of updates after reboot

Windows 7 64-bit pricing

No mention of different prices for 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Seems that both will be provided in the boxed set, but you only get the Product Key for the one you pay for.

Makes sense.

Interesting to see what the Australian prices will be. At 80 cents US to $1 AUD, the Full Ultimate price of $US 319, gives $AUD 398 – a very convenient (large) number.

Windows 7 prices announced by Microsoft

June 25 2009, Microsoft releases the U.S. retail prices for Windows 7.

For full retail versions:

  • Home Premium Full: $199
  • Professional Full: $299
  • Ultimate Full: $319

For retail upgrades:

  • Home Premium Upgrade: $119
  • Professional Upgrade: $199
  • Ultimate Upgrade: $219

At these prices, I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to buy.

When my RC1 version of Windows 7 Ultimate runs out next March 2010 I’ll be upgrading to the most stable Linux version I’ve ever used (Fedora 11).