Monday night I had to restart my computer. When it booted back to the desktop, I noticed that more than half of the Notification Area icons were missing. I also couldn't open any of the programs that had missing icons. Two of the missing icons are Malwarebytes and Peerblock. I tried opening them from the Start Menu as well as their program folders, but they won't open. They appear to be running since they are listed in Task Manager. Since it was late, I shutdown the computer and went to bed.
So about 12 hrs later, I turned on the computer and am having the same problems. If I right click the Taskbar, click Properties, and select customize the Notification Area, I'm given a list of programs and icons that are typically shown in the Notification Area. However, some of the programs listed do not have icons. All I see is a little blue box. Those that don't have icons are the ones missing from the Notification Area.
I tried doing a virus scan with Avast, but it kept getting hung up at 33%. So I decided to try updating it with the latest virus definitions. It's currently still downloading them (I'm on dialup).
Any ideas as to what is wrong and how to fix it?
In case it's important, I have not installed any Windows updates since I got this computer in December. Being on dialup, it's a royal pain to do updates - it takes forever. I was going to look into doing manual updates, hoping I could download them at a relatives's house onto a flash drive.