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How to Fix Taskbar Problems in Windows 10 (Simple Steps!)

by Lisa Hayden
How to Fix Taskbar Problems in Windows 10

Windows 10 has numerous features and components designed to enhance productivity and overall user experience. However, this high performance is not a 100% guarantee, particularly if one of the components or features stops working correctly.

Fortunately, most of the common Windows 10 issues have simple solutions and learning how to fix them can save you both time and money. This guide discusses the common Taskbar related issues and how you can resolve such issues on your own.

4 Common Taskbar Problems in Windows 10

The taskbar allows you to access and launch applications through the start menu or search box, minimize active programs and pin programs for quick access. It also hosts the notification area from where you can manage notifications, modify system date and time as well as view the network and battery status. The common taskbar related issues that you may experience include:

  1. Taskbar Completely Missing - Cannot see the taskbar at all
  2. Missing Icons in Taskbar - Taskbar only shows the Start button and other icons missing
  3. Taskbar Frozen - does not respond when you click
  4. Auto-hiding Not Working - taskbar remains even when you hide it in settings

Causes and Solutions to Taskbar Issues

There are many possible causes of taskbar issues in Windows 10 including minor system file issues, running applications, Windows updates errors and so on. This makes it hard to pinpoint a single cause as the culprit. If you have issues with your machine taskbar, you may try out the following solutions, one at a time, until the problem is resolved.

Solution 1: Restart Your PC to Fix System Issues

Restarting your PC fixes any minor system issues and can work magic in resolving common issues including taskbar problems.

Close all active programs and save all your unsaved files.

Go to the Windows Start menu, click the power button and select “Restart”

Restart

Once the computer reboots, confirm whether the taskbar is now working correctly.

Solution 2: Restart the Windows 10 Explorer

The Windows explorer is a navigation app that controls the Windows shell containing the Taskbar, File Explorer and the Start Menu. Restarting the explorer.exe app resets these navigation features and could fix your taskbar. 

If the taskbar is clickable, right-click it and select “Task Manager” from the resulting context menu.

If the taskbar is unresponsive, you can launch the Task Manager in two other ways:

  • Use the ‘Ctrl + Shift + Esc’ keyboard shortcut or
  • Press the ‘Win + X’ keys to open the Start context menu and click “Task Manager”
TaskManager

Under the “Processes” tab, look for and select “Windows Explorer”.

  • At the bottom-right of the task manager window, click the restart button.
RestartExplorer

Alternatively, you can right-click “Windows Explorer” and click “Restart'' at the top of the menu that appears.

AltMethod

The Windows Explorer will close and disappear from the processes list and then reappear in a few seconds, fixing your taskbar.

If the taskbar is still not working, proceed to the solutions below. 

Solution 3: Resolve Windows 10 Updates Related Issues

Windows components may fail to function correctly due to update issues including missing updates or installed updates errors.

Step 1: Check and Install Windows 10 Updates

Navigate to “Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update” and click the “Check for updates” button to check for available updates

UpdateCheck

Let Windows look for updates and if available, download and install them. You may have to restart your PC to install the updates.

Once the updates have been installed successfully, test the taskbar to see whether it is now working.

Step 2: Uninstall Recent Windows 10 Updates

If the taskbar issues started after installing updates, you should uninstall the recent updates to fix the issue.

Launch the “Control Panel” and under the “Program & Features” click the “View installed updates” link.

ViewUpdates

Click the “Installed On” tab to sort the updates based on their installed date. 

Click the updates that you suspect could have caused the taskbar issue and then click the “Uninstall” button at the top of the listed updates.

UninstallUpdates

Wait for the updates to uninstall and then restart your machine to undo the updates.

Solution 4: How to Fix Taskbar Auto-hide Problem

The auto-hide setting allows you to hide the taskbar to minimize distractions or enlarge your display area. If the taskbar is not auto-hiding, you can try the following fixes.

Step 1: Check and Enable the Auto-hide Setting

If the taskbar is not auto-hiding, you should first check whether the feature is enabled.

Visit the “Settings > Personalization > Taskbar” settings window or right-click the Taskbar and select “Taskbar setting”.

TaskbarSettings

Ensure that the switch below “Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode” is switched on. If the switch is already on, try to switch it off and on again.

EnableAutoHide

Now check if the taskbar can hide in desktop mode.

If you want to hide the taskbar while working in tablet mode, turn on the auto-hide switch for the tablet mode.

Step 2: Check and Resolve Application Interferences

The taskbar may fail to hide if there is an active program that requires your attention or action.

Inspect all open programs for error prompts or any other alert that may require your action.

Resolve the alerts or error messages which could prevent the taskbar from auto-hide and check whether the problem has been fixed.

You also need to check for interruptions coming from background apps. To do so, open the system tray, the up-facing arrow located at the right side of the taskbar, and check if there is any notification from the background programs or processes.

Step 4: Disable Persistent App Notifications

If the app alerts keep appearing, causing the auto-hide issue, you can disable the app’s notifications.

  • Go to “Settings > System > Notification & actions” and click the “Focus assist settings” link.
NotificationSettings

Here you can choose to receive prioritized notifications based on a custom list of apps or alarms only.

FocusAssist

Under “Automatic Rules” you can switch on and off your preferred rules.

You may also scroll down the “Notification & actions” and turn off notification from the troubling app under the heading “Get notifications from these senders” 

SwitchOffNotifications

Conclusion

The Windows 10 taskbar is a convenient component that enables you to navigate the various sections of the computer with ease. If the Taskbar is not working correctly, it can cost you time and overall productivity.

We hope that the above guide will help you fix common taskbar issues and restore your machine to optimal performance. The best way to apply the suggested solution is to try each one at a time, checking whether the issues have been resolved before you try the next one.

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