Windows Tip Sheet

The Case of the Vanishing Tooltips

Keep your Taskbar tooltips visible with this batch file.

Here's something that bugs me: Taskbar tooltips that appear behind the Taskbar in WinXP. My own system does this from time to time, and it's frustrating, because it only seems to happen when I have a lot of applications open and need the tooltips to see which Taskbar button is which.

Fortunately, JSI FAQ offers a batch file, which should correct it. It modifies HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop in the registry, changing a complicated UserPreferenceMask value (in which each bit of the value controls a particular setting) to correct the problem.

The batch file is written to undo the change, as well, so you've got a recovery option. Keep this one in your arsenal for when users call the help desk complaining that their tooltips aren't working correctly near the Taskbar, and you'll be able to fix the problem in a jiffy.

About the Author

Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is an Author/Evangelist for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at

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