The icon labeled "Safely Remove Hardware" has disappeared from the right side of my Taskbar. How can I get it back?
The Safely Remove Hardware icon that crops up on the Taskbar is part of the plug-and-play tools that started with Windows ME and continue into XP. In Windows ME, the display of the icon is hard-wired and not removable for a good reason: If you yank something out of the USB port while data is being written to it, the sudden removal might make things like USB hard drives and thumb drives unusable.
Still, in Windows XP, Microsoft responded to complaints about cluttering the tray with icons by enabling users to dump the icon for safe hardware removal and many other notifications. The commands are in the Taskbar Properties menu, which can reached by right-clicking the Start button and picking Customize.
There you will find a list of all of the gadgets and software registered to display notification icons when attached to the computer. Each is accompanied by commands for stopping or starting their display. In your case you'll want to add a check in the box for the Remove Hardware icon to restore it.
Let me remind you how to remove non-notification icons from the tray. Click on Start and then Run, then type msconfig. A menu will appear, including a tab for the start-ups that place icons in that tray. You can remove the check beside each that you don't want to appear automatically on bootup.
This command dates to Windows 98.
The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. James Coates can be reached at jcoates@ tribune.com.