How To: Fix Tooltips hide behind taskbar
Applies to: Microsoft Windows XP
Tooltips for system tray (notification area) icons and task bar buttons start showing behind the taskbar so they are hidden or only partially visible.
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.
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:
- Avoid using the Show Desktop shortcut (Windows+D) as this often causes the problem to occur. Use Minimize All Windows (Windows+M) instead.
- Don't use "Keep the taskbar on top of other windows". Right-click the taskbar, select properties, clear the check box for this option and then click OK.
- If you prefer to keep the taskbar on top of other windows, then deselecting this option as described above, and then reselecting it again, restores the correct window order and brings the tooltips back to the front, until the next time!
If you do find tooltips are showing behind the taskbar, the key combination Shift+Windows+M may fix the problem.