How To: Fix Tooltips hide behind taskbar

Applies to: Microsoft Windows XP

Symptoms

Tooltips for system tray (notification area) icons and task bar buttons start showing behind the taskbar so they are hidden or only partially visible.

Cause

This appears to be a bug in Windows. It's caused by a conflict between windows that want to be the topmost window (in other words, appear in front of everything else.) Tooltips always want to be topmost, but if you have the Taskbar property "Keep the taskbar on top of other windows" selected, then so does the taskbar. Sometimes the messages that make the windows topmost arrive in the wrong order, so the taskbar sticks in front of the tooltips.

Solution

There is no known solution to this problem. It is caused by a bug in Windows. None of the "fixes" found elsewhere on the Internet actually work.

There are some workarounds:

If you do find tooltips are showing behind the taskbar, the key combination Shift+Windows+M may fix the problem.