Get Windows task bar and Start button to show again


May 30, 2002|By James Coates | James Coates,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I lost the icons on the Windows 98 task bar. Sometimes I see them for a bit, but when they appear, the icons have become quite small. I have talked to computer people and tried potential solutions but without success.

I'll never know why Microsoft refuses to fix this confusion over apparently lost task bars. It's caused by a feature designed to hide the entire line across the bottom of the screen that holds the Start button and quick-launch icons in the left corner and the system tray and time display at the right.

Press Control + Esc. This keyboard shortcut will bring up the missing Start button. Scroll up to Settings. Click that and pick Taskbar and Startup. In the next display you will find a choice for Auto Hide. Uncheck that and your task bar will return.

Recently, I've begun to get a "Spool32 has performed an illegal function" message when trying to print. What causes this and how do I fix it?

That error message tells you nothing. Long-standing computer terminology describes storing data and then sending it to a printer as "spooling," and Windows handles printers using 32-bit processes. The Spool32 error message thus says only that your printer doesn't work.

It's possible that software you've added is conflicting with the printer data, so you might try uninstalling such programs to see if the Spool32 messages stop.

However, the most likely fix for this is to reinstall your printer drivers.

Here's hoping you still have the original disks or CDs that came with the printer.

James Coates is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. He can be reached at

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