Sorry, I thought you'd realise it was LXDE as that's what all my postings have been about lately.
I have no real idea what caused this, I've just been exploring all the options, basically to see what they do. It has only happened since a recent update, and other strange things are happening too. The icons in the applications launch bar appear with a white square background on the blue strip, when the background in appearance is set at Image with background.png. If I switch to "solid colour with opacity" there is a transparent background, and if I switch back to image as above I the white squares do not re-appear - until I log on next time.
I haven't tried to fix my missing icons problem as I don't know enough. As I said I checked everything in the "panel preferences" comparing with an installation that doesn't have the problem on another computer, and it all seems the same.
At first I thought LXDE was for me, I liked its simplicity, but I am having rather a lot of problems. My main justification was that you need people like me to really test its robustness! But, I am thinking of going back to KDE3.5 as my default installation on this computer as I am spending too much time trying to get LXDE to work. If I don't stop soon I'll miss my plane tomorrow.