Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing

Fix Windows 10 taskbar icons missing issue

The Taskbar located at the bottom of your screen is one of the most important and useful elements of Windows 10. However, Taskbar is not all that perfect and encounters a fair share of issues from time to time. One such problem is the sudden disappearance of icons. Either system icons or application icons, or sometimes both disappear from the Taskbar. While this issue or Taskbar Right Click Not Working issue would not entirely cripple your PC, it does make it slightly difficult to operate if you are used to the leisure of taking a quick peek at the information displayed on the taskbar, double-clicking on the shortcut icons to launch an application quickly, and so on. Well, do not worry! This guide will help you fix Windows 10 taskbar icons missing issue.

Fix Windows 10 taskbar icons missing issue

How to Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing

  • Usually, on the extreme right, Taskbar houses the date & time information, volume & network info, battery percentage in laptops, displays icons of applications running in the background, etc.
  • While on the left are the Start menu icon and Cortana search bar to perform broad computer searches.
  • In the middle of the Taskbar, we find a bunch of shortcuts of application icons for quick launch along with app icons of the ones that are currently running. This makes it easy to switch between them.
  • Taskbar itself can be further customized to our liking on Windows 10 PCs.

But, when you face Windows 10 Taskbar icons missing error, all of these icons disappear.

Why are Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Not Showing?

  • Usually, your taskbar icons go on a stroll due to a temporary glitch in the explorer process.
  • It could also be because of icon cache or system files getting corrupt.
  • Apart from that, sometimes you might have accidentally switched to the tablet mode which does not display app shortcut icons on the Taskbar by default.

Method 1: Enable System Icons

The clock, volume, network, and the other icons present on the right end of your taskbar are known as System icons. Each of these icons can be manually enabled and disabled. So, if you are looking for a specific system icon and are unable to find it in the Taskbar, follow the given steps to enable it:

1. Right-click on an empty area on the Taskbar and click Taskbar settings from the menu.

Right-click on an empty area on the Taskbar and click Taskbar settings from the menu

2. Scroll down to the Notification area and click on Turn system icons on or off.

Scroll down to the Notification area and click on Turn system icons on or off. How to Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing Problem

3. Switch On the toggle for system icons (e.g. Volume) that you would like to see on the Taskbar. 

Toggle on the system icons you would like to see on the taskbar.

4. Next, go back to the Taskbar Settings and click on Select which icons appear on the taskbar.

Next, go back and click on Select which icons appear on the taskbar.

5A. Switch On the toggle for Always show all icons in the notification area option.

5B. Alternatively, Select which icons appear on the taskbar individually.

You can either enable Always show all icons in the notification area option or manually choose which active app icon should be displayed on the taskbar.

Method 2: Disable Tablet Mode

Touchscreen laptops allow you to switch between two different user interfaces viz the normal desktop UI and the tablet UI. Although, tablet mode is also available in non-touchscreen devices. In tablet mode, a few elements are rearranged/reconfigured for ease of use and a touch-friendly interface. One such reconfiguration is the hiding of application icons from your taskbar. So, to fix Windows 10 taskbar icons missing issue, disable tablet mode as follows:

1. Launch Windows Settings by pressing Windows + I keys simultaneously.

2. Click on System settings, as shown.

Click on the System settings. How to Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing Problem

3. Click on the Tablet mode menu which is on the left pane.

select Tablet Mode in Systen Settings

4. Select Don’t ask me and don’t switch option in When this device automatically switches tablet mode on or off section.

select do not switch tablet mode

Also Read: How to Change Desktop Icons on Windows 11

Method 3: Disable Controlled Folder Access

To disable the Controlled Folder Access security feature, follow the below-mentioned steps:

1. Launch Settings as earlier and click on Update & Security, as shown.

Open the Settings application and click on Update and Security.

2. Go to Windows Security and click on Virus & threat protection.

Go to Windows Security and click on Virus and threat protection. How to Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing Problem

3. Scroll down and click on Manage ransomware protection, as highlighted.

Scroll down and click on Manage ransomware protection, as shown.

4. Finally, switch Off the toggle in Controlled folder access to disable this feature.

Finally, toggle off the switch under Controlled folder access to disable the feature.

5. Restart your Windows 10 PC and check if the taskbar icons are visible now If not, try the next fix.

Method 4: Update Display Driver

Often, outdated or bugged display drivers might cause Windows 10 taskbar icons missing problem. So, it is advisable to update display drivers to avoid any and all similar issues.

1. Press the Windows key, type device manager, and click on Open.

press windows key, type device manager, and click on Open

2. Double-click on Display adapters to expand it.

3. Then, right-click on your driver (e.g. Intel(R) UHD Graphics 620) and select Update driver, as shown.

double click on display driver and right click on driver and select update driver

4. Then, click on Search automatically for updated driver software to update the driver automatically.

click on search automatically for updated driver updates

5A. Now, the drivers will update to the latest version, if they are not updated. Restart your PC and check again.

5B. If they are already updated, then you will receive the message: The best drivers for your device are already installed. Click on the Close button to exit the window.

click Close after updating driver

Also Read: How to Restore Missing Recycle Bin Icon in Windows 11

Method 5: Restart Windows Explorer Process

The explorer.exe process is responsible for displaying most of the User Interface including Taskbar. So, if the startup process doesn’t transpire properly, the explorer.exe process may glitch and not display all the desired elements. However, this can be easily resolved by restarting the process manually, as follows:

1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys simultaneously to open Task Manager.

2. In the Processes tab, right-click on Windows Explorer and choose the End task option, as illustrated below.

right click on Windows explorer and click on End task

3. Now, to restart the process, click on File at the top-left corner and choose Run new task.

run a new task in Task Manager. How to Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing Problem

4. Type explorer.exe and check the box marked Create this task with administrative privileges, shown highlighted.

type explorer.exe and click on OK in Create a new task

5. Click on OK to initiate the process. 

Method 6: Run SFC & DISM Scans

System files are prone to getting corrupt if the computer is infected with malicious programs and ransomware. A new update containing bugs can also corrupt system files. The SFC and DISM command-line tools help repair system files & images respectively. Therefore, fix a plethora of issues including the taskbar icons missing problem at hand by running DISM & SFC scans.

1. Click on Start and type Command Prompt. Then, click on Run as administrator.

Type Command Prompt and click Run as Administrator option on the right pane. How to Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing Problem

2. Now, type sfc /scannow and press Enter key.

Note: The scanning process will take some time. You can continue working in the meanwhile.

type sfc scannow and press Enter. How to Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing Problem

3A. Once the SFC scan is completed, check if your taskbar icons are back. If yes, you do not need to run DISM scan.

3B. If not, execute the following commands and press Enter key after each command.

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-image /RestoreHealth

Note: You should have a working internet connection in your system to execute these commands.

If not, execute the following command. How to Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing Problem

Also Read: Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Search Not Working

Method 7: Reset Icon Cache

A copy of all the application and file icons we use on Windows 10 computers are stored in a database file named IconCache.db. Storing all the icon images in a single cache file helps Windows quickly retrieve them, as and when required. It further, prevents the PC from slowing down. If the icon cache database gets corrupt, the Windows 10 taskbar icons will go missing or Taskbar begins showing on fullscreen. or Taskbar begins showing on fullscreen.. Hence, reset Icon Cache from Command Prompt as follows:

1. Open Command Prompt as administrator as shown in Method 6.

Type cmd in the Search Bar and launch the Command Prompt with administrative privileges. How to Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing Problem

2. Type the given command to change your location and hit Enter key.

cd %homepath%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer

Type the below command to change your location in command prompt

3. Now, type dir iconcache* and press Enter to retrieve a list of icon cache database files.

Type dir iconcache and press enter to retrieve a list of icon cache database files. How to Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing Problem

Note: Before we delete and reset the icon cache, we will need to temporarily terminate File Explorer process.

4. Hence, type taskkill /f /im explorer.exe & hit Enter.

Note: The Taskbar and Desktop will disappear. But do not panic, as we will get them back after deleting the cache files.

5. Next execute del iconcache* command to delete the existing IconCache.db file, as depicted below.

Finally, type del iconcache and hit Enter to delete the existing IconCache.db file

6. Finally, restart the explorer process by executing explorer.exe command, as shown.

Restart the process by executing explorer.exe, How to Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing Problem

7. Windows OS will automatically create a new database for app icons and bring the Taskbar icons back in place.

Also Read: How to Add Show Desktop Icon to Taskbar in Windows 10

Method 8: Reinstall Taskbar

Ultimately, if none of the above solutions brought back the icons on your Taskbar, reinstall this system element altogether. The process is easy as you need to execute only a single command. This will restore the taskbar to its default state and fix taskbar icons missing issue as well.

1. Hit the Windows key and type Windows PowerShell  Then, click on Run as Administrator, as shown.

Note: Click on Yes in the User Account Control pop-up, if prompted.

Type Windows PowerShell in the Start Search bar and click Run as Administrator option in the results.

2. Copy & paste the given command in Windows PowerShell window and press Enter key to execute it.

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

Copy and paste the below command in the PowerShell window and press Enter to execute it. How to Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing Problem

Pro Tip: Windows Update

Once the taskbar is restored, you can proceed to add system icons and app shortcuts, display CPU and GPU temperatures, and keep track of internet speed. The customization possibilities are endless. If the Taskbar icons continue to be missing or disappear frequently, install new updates available or roll back to the previous one.

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We hope that this guide was helpful and you could fix Windows 10 taskbar icons missing problem. Let us know which method worked for you the best. Also, if you have any queries/suggestions regarding this article, then feel free to drop them in the comments section.

Posted by
Elon Decker

Elon is a tech writer at TechCult. He's been writing how-to guides for about 6 years now and has covered many topics. He loves to cover topics related to Windows, Android, and the latest tricks and tips.

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