Windows 10 Taskbar Not Working? 6 Fast Fixes

Ben Stegner Updated 28-01-2019

Is your Windows 10 taskbar not working? Microsoft gave the humble Taskbar new tricks in Windows 10. But this introduced frustrating errors.


Below we’ll discuss what’s changed about the Taskbar with the advent of Windows 10, as well as offer some fixes for the most common issues that plague 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 With the Windows 10 Taskbar?

Like much of the operating system, the Taskbar was given an aesthetic and functional makeover when Windows 10 launched in 2015.

The biggest change is the addition of the search box, which doubles as a method of interacting with Microsoft’s personal assistant, Cortana. If you don’t like this bar, right-click the Taskbar and choose Cortana > Show Cortana Icon for a much less invasive icon, or Hidden to remove it entirely.

the Windows 10 Search Bar can help when the Windows Task Bar isn't working


To the immediate right of the search bar is the Task View icon. This powerful functionality allows you to see all the windows you currently have open at a glance. It also offers an easy way to create virtual desktops.

Virtual desktops allow you to separate different windows and applications into individual instances. For instance, you might want to create a work desktop separate from the one you use to browse the web and listen to music on your lunch break.

Windows 10 Multiple Desktops can help when the Task Bar isn't working

Task View also lets you access Windows 10’s Timeline feature. This provides a history of everything you’ve done recently so you can easily jump back into a previous task.


windows 10 timeline 2 can double as a replacement for the Windows Task Bar

Windows 10 offers a great level of control over the new Taskbar. We’re going to focus on fixing issues below, so check out our complete guide to Taskbar customization Windows 10 Taskbar Customization: The Complete Guide Here's how to customize the Windows 10 taskbar with built-in settings, handy tricks, and third-party software. Read More if that’s what you’re looking for.

1. Restart Windows Explorer

A quick first step when you have any Taskbar issue is to restart the explorer.exe process. This controls the Windows shell, which includes the File Explorer app as well as the Taskbar and Start Menu. Restarting it can thus clear up any minor hiccups.

To restart this process, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to launch the Task Manager. Click More details at the bottom if you only see the simple window. Then on the Processes tab, locate Windows Explorer. Right-click it and choose Restart.


Restarting Windows Explorer can sometimes fix Windows Task Bar not starting issues

You’ll notice your Taskbar goes away for a minute, then comes back. This is normal, and when it returns, it will hopefully be back to normal.

If this doesn’t work, you can also try signing out and back in of your user account. Don’t forget that restarting your PC is always a good idea if you haven’t done so in a while.

2. Windows 10 Taskbar Not Hiding

When you’ve enabled the auto-hide functionality of the Taskbar, it’s annoying if it doesn’t work properly. If restarting the Explorer process doesn’t work or the issue happens frequently, you can try some other fixes.


First, make sure you actually have auto-hide enabled. Head to Settings > Personalization > Taskbar and make sure Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode is enabled. It’s worth disabling and re-enabling this while you’re here, too.

Your Windows Task Bar might not work because it's being auto-hidden

One of the most common causes for the Taskbar failing to retract automatically is an app requiring your attention. While this often comes accompanied with a glowing app icon, it’s not always 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 alerts waiting for you. Your browser can switch to this “attention” state if a website displays a notification, for example, or WhatsApp might have just received a new message.

If checking your open apps doesn’t fix this, take a look at the apps in your System Tray. One of them, running in the background, may be calling for attention.

Should you run into this problem on a regular basis, try adjusting notifications for the app that keeps getting stuck—open Settings > System > Notifications & actions or check inside the app’s own settings. Failing that, reinstalling the app may fix the problem.

Windows 10 Notification Options might fix problems with Windows Task Bar problems

3. Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing

If your Taskbar is missing its icons and the System Tray at the bottom-right doesn’t show the clock and other functions, you might have to dip into the command line to remedy your issue. Fortunately, this isn’t as intimidating as it might sound.

First, use the Windows + X shortcut (or right-click the Start button) to open the Power User menu. From here, you can launch a Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Admin) window. From either of these, you can access a few tools that can perform the fix.

Windows Power User Menu has additional features that can fix a task bar

In the resulting prompt, you should first try an SFC command, which runs the System File Checker utility to patch up Windows issues. Use this command to do so, then reboot once it’s complete:

sfc /scannow

If this doesn’t fix the issue, you can try another utility. Enter the following command to invoke Disk Image Servicing and Management (DISM), and you should find that your Taskbar returns to its normal state after a reboot:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

4. Windows 10 Taskbar Frozen

If your Taskbar is present, but you can’t click on any of the icons, you can try a few PowerShell fixes.

unclickable taskbar

There is a relatively easy process that should clear up this predicament with a non-invasive command. Type PowerShell into the Start menu, then right-click its entry and choose Run as administrator.

Enter the following command to re-register all apps:

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

After this, navigate to C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Local. Find the TileDataLayer folder and delete it. Hopefully, after a moment, this will fix your Taskbar up.

TileDataLayer Folder Windows

There is a second, more invasive fix. Unfortunately, this one comes at a cost as it will also remove all Windows 10 apps, including the Store, from your system.

To try it, open PowerShell with admin credentials as demonstrated above. Then input this command:

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

Afterwards, restart your system and hopefully, you’ll have everything fixed. Follow Winaero’s guide if you decide that you want the Windows Store back.

5. Check for Driver and Windows Updates

This is broad advice that’s applicable to many PC problems, but it’s solved Taskbar strife for some. Outdated drivers, especially display drivers, can cause all sorts of issues. Thus, updating them is worth a look if you’re still at a loss as to what’s affecting your system.

There’s a chance that Windows 10 could have caused your driver dispute. Its rollout of automatic updates carries over to drivers, but the implementation of this feature isn’t perfect. We’ve shown how to get control of your driver updates back if you’re concerned.

Of course, you’ll then need to make sure your drivers actually get updated. Follow our guide to updating Windows drivers safely How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers Your drivers might be outdated and need updating, but how are you to know? Here's what you need to know and how to go about it. Read More and see if this clears up your issue.

While you’re at it, make sure you’ve installed all Windows updates at Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. Sometimes the latest Windows patches can clear up issues like this.

6. Try System Restore or Create a New User Account

Tried everything above and still can’t manage to make your Taskbar behave as it should? You can try a System Restore point How to Factory Reset Windows 10 or Use System Restore Learn how System Restore and Factory Reset can help you survive any Windows 10 disasters and recover your system. Read More , if you have one, to go back in time before the issue started.

Failing this, you can create a new Windows user account Fix Windows Issues by Creating a New User Account Have you been troubleshooting a Windows issue to no avail? Creating a new user account could be your last resort. It's tricky, but we'll show you how to do it right. Read More to clear up the problem. Though this is fairly inconvenient, of course.

To create a new user account, open up the Settings app (Windows + I) and navigate to Accounts > Family & other Users. Under the Other Users section, select Add someone else to this PC.

Windows 10 Add New User

You can then work your way through the account creation process. If you’re replacing your own user account, you should choose the I don’t have this person’s sign-in information, then Add a user without a Microsoft account to avoid any confusion with your original login.

Long Live the Windows 10 Taskbar

Hopefully, you’ll never run into issues with your Windows 10 Taskbar (again). We hope one of these tips helped you fix any annoying problems.

For more, check out the best free tools to fix any Windows 10 problem The Best Free Windows 10 Repair Tools to Fix Any Problem If you're running into system problems or rogue settings, you should use these free Windows 10 repair tools to fix your PC. Read More . If you’re facing problems with the app marketplace in particular, try our fixes for Microsoft Store issues 8 Tips to Fix Microsoft Store and App Issues in Windows 10 Do you have issues with the Microsoft Store or its apps not downloading? Follow these troubleshooting steps to fix the problems. Read More .

Related topics: Troubleshooting, Windows 10, Windows Taskbar.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. J
    May 16, 2020 at 5:02 am

    Thank you so much the first tip really helped

  2. Mike
    May 9, 2020 at 10:18 am

    Great! You guys are wonderful

  3. han
    April 27, 2020 at 1:46 am

    this seriously just saved my butt. thank you so much.

  4. Anumeha
    October 10, 2019 at 1:38 am

    Restarting windows explorer helped. Thanks a lot.

  5. Britney
    August 12, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    This was really helpful ! thank you.

  6. Lee Jackson
    May 14, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    The sfc /scannow worked to restore my taskbar..thanks my friend.

  7. saha
    April 20, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    This article was helpful to me! Taskbar wasn't working, restarted explorer using this instructions and it worked! Thanks!

  8. tom
    March 14, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    i restarted the explorer and it’s taking too long. i’m kinda scared. how long does it take? can i just turn off my pc in the middle of the process? please help

  9. Kate
    January 12, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    yessss finally!!!!! Restartig my windows explorer fixed the problems I've been having for 2 weeks. THANK YOU!

  10. Dragon Heart
    December 4, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Thank you... Got my task bar back..

  11. albig
    November 13, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Do I lose all my files if I upgrade to Windows 10?
    Ex I dont want to go back to Windows 7.Do I still have to do the back up?

    • Ben Stegner
      November 13, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      When you install Windows 10, it gives you the option to keep your personal files or start from scratch. While the option to keep everything should keep your files safe, it's still wise to have a backup as something could go wrong.

  12. albig
    November 13, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Do I lose all my files if I upgrade to windows 10?
    Ex I dont want to go back to Windows 7.Do I still have to perform the back up?

    Thank you

  13. Jack
    November 2, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    I am still having a problem with the size of the task bar. I like it to be double high so I can see the time, day an date on the right end when I pop it up (my bar is at the bottom). I unlock the taskbar, set it to two then lock the taskbar again. It works fine during my session. However, when I turn off the computer and open it later, the taskbar is back to single height and I have to go through the process again each time. There must be a way to permanently set this.

  14. Polo
    October 21, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Yes it worked like a magic trick

  15. Jav
    August 13, 2018 at 11:34 am

    To open taskbar when taskbar is not working use:Windows + I shortcut

  16. Oli Gerber
    July 10, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    1. This is a bad website. You really shouldn't serve more than one article per page, I nearly entered the comment under a wrong topic! It's just a mess
    2. Get-AppxPackage is not available in Commandline editor!! You'll have to use Powershell for that...
    3. Thanks for the rest, hope i will find a solution to this some time. I think a windows update wasn't able to install and now nothing seems to be working regarding the taskbar and besides that I have a lot of little bugs like copy&paste not working etc...

  17. Grant Loehndorf
    March 17, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    i have what i will call a ghost icon in my task bar. i can hover over it its a light grey.
    i can hit the icon and my mail will open up. it seems to be just missing its icon symbol.
    Any solutions
    Thanks Grant

  18. Northwere
    February 26, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    thanks!!! worked for me!!!

  19. Tugiono
    February 8, 2018 at 8:42 am

    thks,, Get-AppxPackage | Remove-AppxPackage
    Get-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online | Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -online

    its help me

  20. April Lucero
    February 1, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    i need help i don't know anything about computers i barely know how to use the internet. my windows 10 on the bottom i guess the task bar wouldn't click and now after a while the apps doun there are gone also there's a popup notification on the right hand bottom corner that i cant exit out of because the exit corner don't click. dose anybody know what i can do to fix it? i'm going crazy here aaaaaaa SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!

  21. Sal
    November 27, 2017 at 6:41 am

    I shouldn't have to do all this stuff (far too technical for my small brain) just to use my bloody computer when it decides not to work... Can't click on my taskbar ad all the things I had pinned to it are gone since the new update. Thanks a lot Windows 10!!!

    • Jeffrey
      January 1, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Windows 10 has been around quite a while now. It's ridiculous that Windows has not come out with an update to fix this very common and time-consuming problem after so much time. It leads me to believe that the company does not care about user experience. I use it because I have to. Given the choice, I'd switch to a less obtrusive operating system with more responsive customer service.

  22. Sav
    November 20, 2017 at 3:48 am

    My taskbar was unclickable at first and then the icons completely disappeared. I used #2 but I typed the command in powershell instead of command prompt. All icons are back and taskbar working perfectly. Thanks!!
    To access powershell, you can open task manager, select 'File' and 'Run new task'. type in 'powershell' and select the admin privilege. then just copy and paste the command given in #2

  23. Bill Steinmetz
    October 31, 2017 at 2:14 am

    My Windows 10 task bar only shows ghost images that are hardly recognizable...this after a total reset (reinstall) of the OS. Help!

  24. Mike
    June 13, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    i found the best way to fix the issues with windows 10 is to install windows 7
    there is nothing good about windows 10 in any way shape or form
    it is just windows 8 with all its issues with a start menu that is terrible
    if you must use windows 10 disable the multiple monitor taskbar
    install classic shell and ultramon or displayfusion for the taskbar

    The best option is to not use windows 10 so Microsoft gets the point and stops trying to push a bad phone OS on us.

  25. Paul Smith
    May 31, 2017 at 3:00 am

    Thanks for this. Option 1 worked perfectly. The taskbar re-populated at around 12% of the way through the process and I let the tool carry on to completion. About an hour overall, I'd say.

  26. Serene
    May 17, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    whenever I click on any icon on the task bar, my laptop shuts down. What do I do?

  27. Joshua Graham
    May 9, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I tried a couple of these solutions 2nd nothing seemed to work. I guess I will have to bring it to best buy and have geeksquad look at at.

  28. Joshua Graham
    May 9, 2017 at 9:35 am

    I cannot open anything on my taskbar. Nothing will respond and it acts s if it were locked or something.

  29. samuel aranez
    April 11, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    the app on the task bar cannot be open because you have something read only in your C: folder
    try to uncheck the Read Only option

  30. Marni
    April 7, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you so much! #3 Restarting worked within seconds.

  31. D. Smith
    April 3, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Thanks a lot! #1 worked for me!

  32. Andrew Somerville
    March 3, 2017 at 3:16 am

    I tried step 3 and it worked for a few seconds but then explorer stopped working altogether. Does anybody know what to do in this situation?

  33. Faizi
    February 20, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    What is meant by "All Windowws 10 apps", so which apps are these? Stated in this article by typing this command into cmd:

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

    Will the programs and software be deleted by doing this?
    And if all the Windows 10 apps could be deleted, then how can we restore them all without deleting private data?

  34. Leigh Ann Smith
    February 8, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Step #3 (Restart Windows Explorer) worked for me. Thanks so much!

    My problem was that if I had my Internet browser (Chrome) open, then clicked on an icon in the taskbar, it would open that program, but Chrome did not minimize. I had to manually minimize it to see the program I had just opened.

  35. Eddie
    January 24, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    When jumping between different apps, clicking on the app in the taskbar does not open the app. The problem is that it is not consistent, one day I can jump around by clicking on the app in the taskbar and the next day I have to minimize everything to get the required app to open the window that I was working on. The same goes for different windows of the same app. Sometimes I can click on the particular file when it pops up when hovering over the app icon and it will open, the next day I have to minimize everything to get it to open the file I want, including having to minimize another file of the same app.
    This is EXTREMELY frustrating and there is no apparent reason for this working on one day and not on the next day. If I did not buy this laptop with Win10 pre-loaded, and it wasn't such a lot of trouble to get all my apps and programs to run again, I would have dumped Win10 a long time ago!!!!!

    • Heather
      June 28, 2017 at 3:38 am

      Did you find a fix for this? When I hover over an app in the taskbar and it opens, I always have to minimize everything else to open the file I want.

      • Eddie
        June 28, 2017 at 7:32 am

        I unistalled Win10, went back to Win7 and have no more problems. I miss the quick start up and shut down of Win10, but would rather live with slow start up than having to minimize all other applications before I am able to work.

  36. William
    January 16, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    All tray icons had disappeared, restarted multiple times, tried this and that , the dism, etc ... Creating a new user switching to it and then switching back resolved all the tray icons missing.

  37. NotBuyingIt!
    January 4, 2017 at 9:48 am

    THANK YOU! Number 3 (Remedy Auto-Hide Solutions) fixed my problem :) My Windows Start icon, Cortana, Microsoft Edge (Internet Explorer) icon and Action Center icon were not working on my taskbar. Now everything works again! Great advice!

  38. Josh
    December 30, 2016 at 5:58 am

    Thank you so much, I had the auto hide not working glitch and it was super annoying, I'm very thankful that the trick recommended worked for the glitch, thanks again. XD

  39. Matthew Schwartz
    December 29, 2016 at 3:03 am

    Regarding #2
    'Get-AppxProvisionedPackage' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
    operable program or batch file.

    • Lol
      January 3, 2017 at 12:28 am

      The author forgot a sort of important detail: type in "powershell" (without quotes), then press enter. Then type that in.

      • Bytossen
        February 2, 2017 at 1:54 pm

        Even with "powershell" added at the front of the line, this does not help me..
        The command did do a lot of stuff, but nothing was recognized and it didn't fix the unclickable taskbar issue after reboot

        • Daniel
          May 29, 2017 at 3:39 am

          "powershell" is a line of its own. Type "powershell" hit enter than type the lines (or copy and paste).

  40. JBH
    November 23, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    I tried to fix my frozen taskbar with the DISM fix you suggested but it wasn't recognised. Any advice?

  41. Joel
    November 10, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    I have an unusual problem with the system tray on my HP Windows 10 laptop, that I can't seem to find an answer for. The tray is sliding from left to right over and over again, just to the right of the time display, everything works as it should, its just a little annoying seeing this movement outta the corner of your eye down there. It doesn't matter if the task bar is locked or not. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • specialk
      December 12, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      I am having the same problem. Did you find a fix for this?

      • Joel
        December 13, 2016 at 3:34 am

        It actually stopped doing it shortly after I posted this. I wish I could tell you why it stopped but it just did, I don't know if it came through a MS update or not but everything works fine now. Good luck with yours.

  42. Prof59
    October 23, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    So the taskbar that won't appear when using auto hide issue... This article says MS is working on it. This article is 6 months old. How's that coming along?

    • Josh
      December 30, 2016 at 6:00 am

      If it's not appearing I don't know, but if you meant it's not disappearing just do what is says, but the Windows Explorer may not be under apps.

  43. TMH
    October 6, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I have a microsoft surface book hooked up to a second monitor. When I go to change programs the preview screen shows up and disappears faster than I am able to click a new program. Any thoughts on how to deal with this?

  44. Jesse Harpe
    October 5, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Regarding step 3: Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I've tried all sorts of crazy things suggested by random sites to fix this problem, and finally this one actually works!

  45. Richard Down
    September 29, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    My problem at times is getting it out the way . I thought one could reduce the width of it by dragging from the border. This though does not seem to work. At times it is seriously irritating in that depending on where you put it you lose things from whatever page you are on, Bells and whistle top or bottom on certain apps, the scroll bar on the right if I place it there . I hate the way it comes back into sight if you place the cursor where it is meant to be hidden. How do I just reduce it to where it was on windows 7

  46. Thentlyq
    September 27, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    I am using nvidia suround and lost toolbar. I had to turn suround off and on again to make it come back.

  47. ola
    September 27, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Step 3 worked for me! Thanks!

  48. Michael Orr
    August 10, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    None of these was relevant, but I did find a fix
    1. press START button, and click "Settings" button
    2. Type 'taskbar' in search box
    3. Select "Taskbar and Navigation" item
    4. Change any settings in the resulting popup and press Apply or OK

    you're welcome

    • Tayvl
      September 23, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      Glad it fixed yours; mine hasn't responded to that yet. So far, the only fix is reboot. Win 10 is a pile of excrement in some areas.

  49. Fiza
    July 24, 2016 at 4:31 am

    I can't even launch the command prompt .. Nothing happens when I press windows key + X so I can't proceed with any of the solutions . I'm having the first and second problem (taskbar icons missing even the clock and unclickable taskbar)

    • George Martinez
      October 7, 2016 at 12:28 am

      Same thing is happening with me... I tried the steps and had no success...

      • VergilTheHuragok
        October 9, 2016 at 2:26 am

        Was having the same problem (still am to a lesser degree). If you press ctrl + shift + esc it should bring up the task manager. Press alt + f and enter to open a run dialogue. Type "cmd" and check the box saying "create this task with administrator privileges." Then press enter.
        Admin CMD without any broken windows/menus (hopefully).

  50. bipneet singh
    July 18, 2016 at 6:31 am

    step no 2 says that windows does not recognise get app as internal or external!

    • Eric L
      November 10, 2016 at 11:16 pm

      step needs to run from a powershell prompt, if you in a command window just type 'powershell' and hit enter.

  51. Mark Wilkins
    June 13, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    I'm using dual monitors and have the show task bar on all monitor checked. The problem is on my left hand monitor, the task bar is see-through. Invisible. No icons, no color. I've been having problems with the task bar not auto-hiding all day.

  52. hocine haddalene
    June 13, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks the god all what i try didn't work but but now it's work 100%

  53. Andre
    May 9, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    OK Everyone here is your Fix to the cortana and search box not working issue:

    Im 100% sure this will help you.

    reply and let me know was it good for you.

    O.K. Everyone ive found the fix for cortana and search box not working.

    Try THIS troubleshooter

    For guided support, try the After you’ve completed the troubleshooter, restart your device.

    • Kere
      June 12, 2016 at 7:25 am

      u know something ? i tried all the ways to fix it but didn't work .... it is the only one that really worked !! really thanks dude :)

    • Marty
      February 27, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      The troubleshooter ran a long time, then said "Required programs not installed correctly - Problem not fixed". When I clicked the link to provide feedback on the troubleshooter it closed.

  54. Anonymous
    April 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    If anybody is having issues where they have more than one monitor and the taskbar won't auto-hide on one or more of them, then ensure you have the search icon visible. I repeatedly had this problem when I set the icon to not be present in my taskbar.

    I have no idea what the connection is, but it's the only solution that worked for me.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 2, 2016 at 7:53 am

      That sounds odd. One for the list of funny Windows issues. :) Thank you for the tip, Tom!