Steps To Fix Your Windows 10 Taskbar Not Working

Steps To Fix Your Windows 10 Taskbar Not Working

/ James Masterson

The Windows 10 Taskbar, which was initially just one of the minor features of the Windows operating system, has gained new functionality with Windows 10. The new components turned it into a feature-rich application that is pleasing aesthetically and useful. However, with the added feature, users had some vexing errors this that guide is designed to fix.

Automatically Repair Windows Taskbar Errors

Windows 10
System Information
  • Your machine is currently running Windows 10
  • This Repair Utility is compatible with your operating system.

Recommended: To repair Windows 10 Taskbar Errors, use this software package; Restoro System Repair. This repair tool has been proven to identify and fix these errors and other Windows problems with very high efficiency.

Norton Digicert
  • 100% safe as confirmed by Norton.
  • Only your system and hardware are evaluated.

The Search function turned out to be the biggest attraction in this new makeover attempt. It serves a dual purpose of searching for the programs and of interacting with the Windows built-in personal assistant– Cortana.

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Another exciting new addition to the taskbar is the Windows 10 Task View feature. When you click on this icon, you can see all the windows you currently have open. It quickly creates virtual desktops. You can build a desktop for your work, one for web browsing, another for listening to music, and so on.

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All in all, the Windows 10 Taskbar gives you greater control over your system. You can customize the features, add custom taskbar icons and change them to suit your specific needs.

When there is a problem with the taskbar, it prevents you from enjoying all the benefits it has to offer until that problem is resolved. Here is a guide to fixing the various issues that you could face with the Windows 10 Taskbar.

Check out our Guide on: Windows 10 Kernel Security Check Failure Error

What Kind of Issues Can You Experience With the Taskbar?

Given the multitude of functions that the Windows 10 Taskbar has, it can be quite crippling when you are unable to use it. Some of the problems that you might experience with your Windows 10 Taskbar include:

  • An unclickable taskbar: The taskbar icons can no longer be clicked, rendering the taskbar unusable.
  • Frozen taskbar: The taskbar stops responding to your commands.
  • Right-click does not work: This will prevent you from accessing some programs and other features on the taskbar.
  • The thumbnails stop working.
  • Pin stops working: The taskbar’s pin feature does not work making it difficult to access the programs you want quickly.
  • Search feature stops working: You are no longer able to use the text and audio elements of the search bar.
  • The Taskbar fails to initiate: The Taskbar does not work from the moment you boot up the system.
  • Jumplist failure: The Jump List feature does not work.
  • Cortana failure: Cortana does not work.
  • Missing icons: Icons you have pinned to the taskbar are no longer there.
  • Unresponsive icons: The icons do not respond to your commands.
  • Auto-hide/lock feature failure: The auto-hide or auto-lock does not work.

Possible Causes of a Malfunction Windows 10 Taskbar

One of the most common reasons why this issue happens is an outdated display driver. When your display driver is not updated, it will have a conflict with the rest of the drivers that are up to date. Although this may sound complicated, the steps on updating a display driver is pretty straight forward. We will discuss those steps in this article and we will provide you detailed steps on how to update your display driver.

Another reason that may cause this issue is a corrupt system file. This too can also be fixed by running a system file checker by Windows.

Fixing the Taskbar by Restarting Windows Explorer

This is a simple solution for restoring the taskbar to its original condition. Restarting Windows Explorer through the Task Manager will help restore the taskbar functionality. Here are the steps needed:

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Step 1:

Press [Ctrl], [Shift] and [Esc] together.

Open Task Manager from the menu that appears by clicking on it.

windows explorer end task

Step 2:

In the ‘Processes’feature, find the ‘Windows Explorer‘ app icon option and use right-click. Now choose ‘End Task.’ Don’t mind if the task manager flickers as it is normal.

Step 3:

You will find the task re-launch itself in a few moments. Check your taskbar as well as the taskbar icons to see whether it is back to its full functionality after Windows Explorer is restarted.

The above steps are a stopgap measure only. If you find the issue returning, try our next solution.

Run the System File Checker (SFC)

The Windows System File Checker (SFC) can be used to scan system files. It can also fix any corrupted system files including display adapters. Follow these steps to perform a scan with the SFC.

Step 1: Hold down the “windows” key and press “R” and type “cmd” in the run command line. Hold down both the “ctrl and shift” keys together and press enter. Click “OK” on the next window to grant administrator permissions.

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Step 2: In the command prompt window, type “sfc /scannow” and press enter. Wait for the SFC to complete the scan and restart the computer. Once done, continue on with the next step.

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Perform a Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) Scan

After performing the SFC, performing a DISM scan is recommended to do a Disk Image Check.

Step 1: Press the “windows” key and then press “R”. A small window will appear where you can type “CMD”.

Step 2: The command prompt window will open, type in “DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth” and then press “enter”. This command will run disk image check.

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Step 3: DISM utility will start scanning and fixing any errors. Once completed, restart your PC and check if the Windows 10 taskbar is working properly. We also suggest opening any problematic apps to make sure everything is working.

Perform a Clean Boot

By performing a clean boot on your computer, you are disabling unnecessary or problematic apps and drivers from running in your background. The only drivers and applications that will be running are the ones that are needed for your operating system to properly function.

Step 1: In your keyboard, press the “Windows” key and the letter “R”. This will open the Run window. Type in “msconfig”.

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Step 2: Click on the “Services” tab. Make sure to tick “Hide all Microsoft Services” and click “Disable All” and click “Apply”

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Step 3: Next, click on the “Startup” settings tab and click “Open Task Manager”.

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Step 4: In the Startup settings, select all of the unnecessary applications that have their startup status enabled and click “Disable”. In our example, we have clicked on one app icon and simply click disable on the lower right corner of the window. Don’t mind if the Task Manager flickers, just continue on doing the steps.

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Step 5: Close the window and restart your PC. Once your computer is back on the login screen, check if everything is working fine. Check the desktop icons, the start menu and the taskbar. Click on any app icon on your screen to make sure everything is working.

Re-register the Taskbar

If the above two solutions provided just a temporary relief to your taskbar issue and you find it returning or if the solutions did not solve the problem, you have to use Windows 10 Powershell.

The Powershell feature is identical to the commonly used command prompt. It can be launched by using CMD prompt. It helps to configure the system settings. This step is a bit complex and requires careful execution of steps:

Step 1:

In the Search box, enter, ‘Windows Powershell.’ and click on the Windows Powershell app icon.

run powershell as administrator

You can also open Powershell using CMD prompt by typing Powershell command and press enter. Both methods can be used as they do not cause any difficulty in executing the other steps in this method.

powershell command prompt

Step 2:

Now copy the command given below and paste it in Command Prompt and press Enter.

Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”}

appxpackage allusers

Step 3:

After the above command is executed, visit the directory below, which is part of Windows Explorer.

C:/Users/name/AppData/Local/

Use the username in your Account for the Name part.

delete username

Step 4:

In the list, find the folder named TileDataLayer. Delete the folder.

Now check whether your taskbar is functioning normally.

Repopulate the Taskbar Using the Command Prompt (CMD)

If the icons in your taskbar are missing and the taskbar tray present on the right bottom of the taskbar does not function, you have to use the CMD prompt feature for resolving the issue. Here are the steps to reproduce or repopulate taskbar using command prompt:

If the icons in your taskbar are missing and the taskbar tray on the right bottom of the taskbar does not function, you have to use the CMD prompt to resolve the issue. Here are the steps to repopulate the taskbar using the CMD prompt:

Step 1:

Open the ‘Quick Link’ menu using [X] and [Windows] keys together.

Step 2:

Launch the Command Prompt window that has (Admin) next to it. You must open the CMD prompt as an Administrator to use the DISM (Disk Image Servicing and Management) feature you need for this method.

command prompt admin 1

Step 3:

When the CMD prompt appears, enter the command below:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth

After hitting [enter], the icons should be back on your taskbar, and its functionality should be fully restored.

Check Your Drivers

The taskbar problem you have may be related to out-of-date drivers. This process can be used to solve taskbar issues and many other issues you have with your computer. Here are the steps:

Step 1:

Many drivers could cause taskbar issues if they need to be updated. In general, you should look at standard drivers, such as those for audio and graphics. Even if you cannot find the cause, you can download software like ‘Driver Talent’ to automatically update the driver.

Automatic driver update tools will properly identify your system and choose the right driver based on the Windows 10 variant and specific hardware you have. The software will then install the driver on your PC for you.

update drivers

Manually Update Your Display Driver

You can update your drivers manually through the device manager. There are cases that the Taskbar malfunctions such as an unresponsive taskbar or you could see the taskbar icons flashing due to outdated display drivers. You can easily fix it by manually updating your display drivers.

Aside from using a third-party tool to update your driver, you may also use the Windows Update tool to search for new updates for your display driver. Follow these steps to use the Windows update tool to update your display driver.

Step 1: Press the “Windows” key on your keyboard and press “R” to bring up the run dialog box and type in “control update” in the search box and press enter to open the device manager directly. This command will send you directly to the Windows update window instead of going to the control panel.

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Step 2: Click on “Check for Updates” in the Windows Update tab. If there are no updates available then you should get a message saying “You’re Up to Date”

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Step 3: If the Windows Update Tool finds a new update, let it install it and wait for it to complete. You may be required to restart your computer in order for it to install.

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Step 4: If the updates have been installed, check if the task bar issues such as the taskbar icons flashing has already been fixed. Don’t worry if the task manager flickers as it is normal during display driver updates.

Manually Updating Your Display Adapters Through the Device Manager

Remember, screen flickering issues are normal when updating your display driver. Once you have successfully updated your display driver, we suggest to restart your computer.

Step 1: Press “Windows” and “R” keys to bring up the run dialog box or the search box. Type in “devmgmt.msc” and press “enter” to bring up the Device Manager.

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Step 2: Look for the “Display Adapters” driver tab and right click on your display adapters and click “Properties”

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Step 3: In the display adapters properties, click on “Driver” on the driver tab and click on “Roll Back Driver”

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Step 4: Wait for Windows to install the older version of your display adapters. Once it is complete, restart your computer and check if the issue persists.

Making a New User Account

If you did not have any success with the above methods and find that the task bar is still not functioning properly, you try making a new user account that is bound to work regardless of the reason for it.

You can create a new user account to get rid of any Windows 10 taskbar issues. A local user Windows account can solve your problem. Here is how you do it:

Step 1:

Open the Settings window by pressing [I] and the [Windows] key.

Step 2:

Open ‘Accounts’ and choose ‘Family and Other Users’ option from the menu in the left panel.

family and other users

Step 3:

In the ‘Other Users’ option, choose  ‘Add Someone Else to this PC,’ and follow the on-screen instructions.

If you are replacing your user account, it is best to choose options such as, ‘Add a user without a Microsoft account’ or ‘I do not have this person’s sign in information.’ This will help prevent confusion with the original account.

Fixing the Taskbar’s Auto-Hide Feature

To repair the Windows 10 Taskbar’s and system tray auto-hiding feature, you can use a couple of methods. Both are below:

Method 1:

The typical reason for the taskbar to fail to retract on its own is due to the presence of an application in need of the user’s attention. This is not usually completely obvious when this problem occurs. Here is what you need to do:

Step 1:

Browse through the apps you have open by using the up arrow icon on the system tray. Determine whether there are any error messages present, any other pop-ups or notifications that might be causing the issue.

fix auto hide

Step 2:

If the auto-hide issue occurs frequently, you have to conduct a complete check to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

Method 2:

This method is similar to the restarting the Windows Explorer method explained in the initial part of this guide.  Press Ctrl+Shift+ESC to open Task Manager →Processes tab → Windows Explorer. Once Windows Explorer is highlighted,  click on the ‘Restart’ button at the bottom right side of the Task Manager window.

Repair an Unclickable Taskbar

If you find that you cannot click on any of the taskbar features, you have to follow the steps below to resolve the issue. Note: While this process is an easy one, it has a significant drawback. All the apps in your Windows 10 system will be erased entirely:

Step 1

Open the ‘Quick Link’ menu using [X] and [Windows] keys together, and click Command Prompt option that has (Admin) next to it. You must open the CMD as an Administrator.

Step 2:

Type the following command on the CMD prompt page:

Get-AppxPackage | Remove-AppxPackage Get-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online | Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage–online

Step 3

Press Enter to execute the command. When it is finished, restart the computer.

Conclusion

With the above troubleshooting tips, we hope your taskbar issues are permanently solved. Your taskbar should now be restored to a pristine working condition. The above methods should be sufficient to take care of the majority of issues you face with the Windows 10 Taskbar.

There is one final method you can try if your Windows 10 is relatively fresh and you do not have too many programs in it: You can reinstall the system to get rid of your taskbar issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my taskbar not working on Windows 10?

Your taskbar may stop working if Windows Explorer or File Explorer encountered an error and closes while Windows is still running. Your taskbar may become unresponsive or disappear from your screen.

How to fix Windows 10 taskbar not working?

You can fix your taskbar by restarting the File Explorer using the Task Manager.

Step 1: Open the Task Manager on your computer.

Step 2: Now, click on Processes and select Windows Explorer.

Step 3: Lastly, click on Restart.

James Masterson
Meet the author

James is a software engineer and an information architect with keen attention to detail. He focuses on data-driven decisions, making sure that all decisions are backed up by reliable facts. His key interests include enhancing find-ability and usability of our content related to Windows 10; troubleshooting errors; and tech news. Robert is also enthusiastic about structured data, which he believes will help the world make better sense of their information in the digital age.