Has your Windows taskbar disappeared?

Do you go to click on a program on your Windows taskbar and realize it’s missing? Sometimes the taskbar disappears and you don’t see anything at the bottom of the screen and sometimes only the Start button remains but everything else is gone.

So how do you get your taskbar back? Well, there are a number of ways that you can restore the taskbar, but it is also a good idea to know what can cause the taskbar to disappear.

In my experience, there are four main reasons why your taskbar might disappear:

1. The taskbar is set to auto-hide and is not visible
2. The explorer.exe process has crashed and the taskbar is completely gone
3. The display resolution or main display changed and caused the taskbar to go off the screen

Let’s go through all the possible solutions first, starting with the simple items.

Method 1 – Unhide Taskbar

If your taskbar is hidden, it should appear automatically when you move your mouse to the very bottom of the screen. However, if something went wrong and it no longer works, you can disable auto-hide.

To do this you would normally need to right click on your taskbar, but since it’s missing we’ll have to go through the Control Panel and click on Taskbar and Navigation

taskbar and navigation

That will open the taskbar properties dialog where you want to proceed and uncheck it Auto-hide the taskbar box.

auto-hide taskbar

Just in case, you should also check if the taskbar is at the bottom of the screen. If it’s on auto-hide and on the left or right side of the screen, you may not have noticed.

Method 2 – Change View

If you regularly connect your computer to external displays or docks, your problem may be related. In Windows, you can just press the Windows key + P or go to Control Panel, click Display and then click Adjust resolution or Change display settings

windows 7 display

In Windows 7, you’ll get a pop-up window with some choices like Computer Only, Duplicate, Extend, etc. You’ll want to make sure it’s set to Computer only

In Windows 8 and Windows 10, you get pretty much the same options in the sidebar that pops up on the right side of the screen.

windows 10 display

For Windows 10, you want to choose: PC screen only from the list. Hopefully, if the taskbar problem was related to the presentation view, this should fix the problem.

Method 3 – Restart Explorer.exe

This is probably the only method that will solve the problem for most people. Explorer.exe is the process that controls the desktop and taskbar. You may also notice that in addition to the lack of the taskbar, you desktop icons are missing at!

Since they both run under explorer.exe, they both disappear at the same time. To fix this problem, you need to open the Task Manager in Windows.

Check out my previous post 8 Tips for Using Task Manager to learn all the different ways you can open the Task Manager in Windows. Once you’ve opened it, click File and then Run new task or New Task (Run)

run new task

In the box, go ahead and type in explorer.exe and press Enter. This will restart the explorer process and hopefully get your taskbar back. If you see a new Windows Explorer pop-up instead, it means that the explorer.exe process was already running fine.

explorer exe

If none of these options worked for you, there are some rarer issues that can cause the taskbar to disappear. Hopefully one of them will work if nothing else has worked.

Other solutions

Sometimes you will see this problem when you come back from sleep mode. This could be due to hardware drivers that are not compatible with Windows 7. It is best to upgrade as many drivers for your computer as possible, especially video drivers.

Even though I don’t recommend updating your BIOS normally this can be a case where the problem can be fixed. If none of this works, you may be dealing with something like a virus or malware. I recommend that you immediately run an antivirus or anti-malware program at this point.

You can also try to run System File Checker in Windows in case system files are corrupted, damaged or deleted. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoying!

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