OK, I could do away with the tabs, but then that is all that mattered when I upgraded to IE7.
All of a sudden the tabs disappeared and was left wondering what went wrong. No simple solutions from googling worked this time.
Alas it occured to me! A quick try to find some malware helped me. NOADWARE software worked its charm and killed one W32.Mydoom worm. Again went back to IE Tool>I. options>TAB Settings—reset to default.
Try first, if at all anything goes unsual with your Windows XP.
No!, NOADWARE people do not pay me 🙂