Having your taskbar display your favorite apps is a great way to access them quickly, but sometimes your icons will disappear from the taskbar without any warning. While it isn’t a major issue and doesn't prevent you from using your PC, it's still a huge inconvenience, and you likely want your colorful icons back.
If your taskbar icons are missing, keep reading as we walk you through the process of getting the taskbar back to normal.
1. Restart Windows Explorer
First up, let's try restarting Windows Explorer. Before you follow these steps, be sure to save your work to prevent any loss of data. Then, close all opened windows and apps.
Once you're ready to restart Windows Explorer, here's how to do it via Task Manager:
- Right-click Start and select Task Manager. Or use the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keyboard shortcut.
- Open the Processes tab and right-click Windows Explorer.
- Click Restart.
This will terminate the process and should solve the missing icons issue. However, if your icons are still missing from the taskbar, move on to the next solution to sort it out.
2. Check Taskbar Settings
If Windows 10 doesn’t display certain icons within the taskbar, you should check your taskbar's settings. Here is how you can do that:
- Click Start, then head to Settings > Personalization.
- From the left-hand menu, select Taskbar.
- Turn off the toggle below Automatically hide the taskbar in tablet mode.
- From the Notification section, click Select which icons appear on the taskbar.
- Turn on the toggle for the icons you want to appear on the taskbar.
3. Update Display Driver
An outdated or corrupt display driver might cause Windows 10 to stop showing taskbar icons. While drivers update automatically, you can also update them manually. Follow these steps to update your drivers using Device Manager:
- In the Start menu search bar, search for device manager and select the Best match.
- Expand the Display adapters list
- Right-click the driver and select Update driver.
4. Run the Disk Cleanup Tool
This Windows tool will scan your computer for files you no longer need, such as temporary files, cached data, or files that you've deleted and are now in your Recycle Bin. You can use the tool to clean up your system files, hopefully removing whatever keeps your icons from showing in the taskbar.
- Right-click Start and select File Explorer. Or use the Win + E keyboard shortcut.
- Select the (C:) drive.
- Open the Drive Tools tab and click the Cleanup icon.
- Run the tool using its default settings to avoid other problems.
- Click the Clean up system files button to start the process.
Note: If the laptop or PC you are using belongs to your employer, you might not be able to run the Disk Cleanup tool.
5. Delete the Icon Cache
A corrupted App Icon Cache might be the reason why your app icons are missing from the taskbar. Follow these steps to delete the Icon Cache via File Explorer:
- Press Win + R to bring up a Run dialog.
- Type appdata, then click OK.
- Select the View tab and check the Hidden items options to make sure all files are visible.
- Locate and delete IconCache.db.
- Restart your computer and check if the taskbar is now displaying the icons.
6. Use the Registry Editor
The Windows 10 Registry Editor contains all the settings and configurations for components, apps, and services. As such, it’s a great tool to use for troubleshooting problems with your system,. Here is how to use the Registry Editor to fix missing icons on the taskbar:
- In the Start menu search bar, search for registry editor and select Run as administrator.
- Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT > Local Settings > Software > Microsoft > CurrentVersion > TrayNotify.
- Locate IconStreams and delete it.
- Restart your computer.
- Now, you will have to delete pasticonstreams. Follow the same path from step 2.
- Delete pasticonstreams.
- Restart your computer.
Your Favorite Apps Shown on the Taskbar Once More
You can quickly solve this problem by checking taskbar settings and selecting which icons should appear on the taskbar. If you can’t find anything wrong while checking taskbar settings, you should try some more complex solutions, such as re-registering the taskbar or editing the registry.