Don’t be alarmed – this fix is very easy. BUT I do feel in cases like this there is more than just the Tasks Bar. This is a Registry Issue (i.e. I’m going to the park but my brain (registry) forgot how to get there). So I usually think it’s more.
1. Save this: XP_CommonTasks.zip
3. Should get a message “The value below is incorrect, repairs are needed.”
5. Log off & Log back in
SO THAT’S IT
So here’s the deal… you say “WHY” and I say “Heck if I know!” – – I figure that if ANYTHING changes your registry it was something you did, downloaded, changed or whatever… The worse case is that there is most likely another issue you have like being unable to double-click on a folder, or go to Control Panel. If that is the case you have more issues and it’ll take a technician to play around. I wouldn’t fear so munch Virus or Malware – the damage is done.
What now? A tech normally would just re-os the machine. (Fresh install of Windows). But if you don’t have any more problems – do make sure you have an Anti-Virus like AVG to keep you protected.