The humble Taskbar was given plenty of attention while Microsoft was working on Windows 10 — but along with some useful new functionality, some frustrating new errors were brought into the fold.
The following guide will clue you in to what’s changed along with the advent of Windows 10, as well as offering up some straightforward fixes for the most common issues plaguing the Taskbar.
With these tips in tow, you should be well on your way to having a fully functional Taskbar once more.
What’s New in Windows 10?
Like much of the operating system (OS), the Taskbar was given an aesthetic and functional makeover when Windows 10 launched in 2015. The biggest change is the addition of a search bar, which doubles as a method of interacting with Microsoft’s handy personal assistant Cortana.
To the immediate right of the search bar is the Task View icon. This powerful new piece of functionality allows you to see all the windows you currently have open at a glance, as well as offering an easy way of creating virtual desktops.
Virtual desktops allow you to separate different windows and applications off into individual instances — for instance, you might want to create a work desktop that’s separate to the one you use to browse the web and listen to music on your lunch break.
One of the best things about the new Taskbar is the level of control users have over it. There are plenty of ways to customize it to suit your needs, so it’s well worth tinkering around until you’re completely happy with the results.
How to Fix the Windows 10 Taskbar
1. Repopulate the Taskbar via Command Prompt
If your Taskbar is missing its icons and the tray at the bottom right is missing functionality like the clock, you might have to dip into the command interface to remedy your issue. Fortunately, this isn’t as intimidating as it might sound.
First, use Windows key + X to open the Quick Link menu. From here, you can launch a Command Prompt with administrator credentials, which is required to open the Disk Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool that we’ll be putting into action to make this fix.
Use the following code in the resulting prompt, and you should find that your Taskbar returns to its normal state:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
2. Fix an Unclickable Taskbar
If your Taskbar is present, but you can’t click on any of the icons, you may well have to resort to some desperate measures to fix the issue.
There is a relatively easy process that should clear up this predicament, but unfortunately it comes at a cost. This method will also remove all Windows 10 apps, including the Store, from your system.
To get underway, open up a Command Prompt with administrator credentials as demonstrated above. Then, input this string into the window that you’re presented with:
Get-AppxPackage | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online | Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -online
Afterwards, restart your system and you should see things put back to normal. If you decide that you want the Windows Store back, you can use this guide to replace it.
3. Remedy Auto-Hide Issues
Some users have reported that the auto-hide functionality of the Windows 10 Taskbar can sometimes stop working, with very little indication given as to what the problem is. Apparently, a fix is in the works as we speak, but until then there’s a couple of ways that you can solve the problem for yourself.
The first method hinges around restarting Windows Explorer. First, open up the Task Manager using CTRL + SHIFT + ESC and head to the Processes tab. Select the app labelled Windows Explorer and click Restart.
However, it may well be that there is a simpler solution to your auto-hide woes. One of the most common causes for the Taskbar failing to retract automatically is an app being placed in a state that requires the attention of the user — and it’s not always completely obvious when this is the case.
Cycle through the apps that you have open and make sure that there are no error messages or other similar pop-ups that might be causing complications. If you’re seeing this problem on a regular basis, a thorough check might be all you need to prevent future headaches.
4. Check Your Drivers
This is relatively broad advice that’s applicable to many PC problems, but it’s been proven to solve Taskbar strife for some users. Outdated drivers can cause all manner of issues, so updating standard drivers, like the graphics and audio drivers, is a good place to start if you’re at a loss as to what’s affecting your system.
First things first; there’s a chance that Windows 10 might be the cause of your driver dispute. Its rollout of automatic updates carries over to drivers, but the implementation of this feature isn’t quite perfect. It might be worth disabling the functionality altogether.
Of course, this puts the impetus on you to make sure that your drivers are up to date. Fortunately, the MakeUseOf guide to the subject should give you all the necessary know-how to keep things ticking over.
5. The Last Resort: Create a New User Account
If you’ve tried everything else and still can’t manage to make your Taskbar behave as it should, there’s one method that’s something of a silver bullet, even if it comes with a caveat. Creating a new local user account seems to remedy these issues in most cases, but it’s obviously a little inconvenient.
To create a new user account, open up the Settings app (Windows key + I) and navigate to Accounts > Family & Other Users. Under the Other Users section, select the option that reads Add someone else to this PC.
You can then work your way through the account creation process — although if you’re replacing your own user account, you might want to choose the I don’t have this person’s sign-in information and Add a user without a Microsoft account options to avoid any confusion with your original login.
Long Live the Taskbar
Hopefully, you will never run into issues with your Windows 10 Taskbar (again). And if you already have and were looking for a fix, we hope you found it here.
Are you having Taskbar trouble? Do you have information on a fix that might help other users? Share your knowledge or ask for some help in the comments section below.