Fix: Taskbar not working in Windows 10, 8, or 7

By: Ivan Jenic
8 minute read

Problems with the user interface are common not just in Windows 10, but in all previous Windows operating systems. This time, we’re going to talk about fixing the problem with the taskbar in Windows 10, and I hope this article will be helpful to you, if you’re facing this issue.

Taskbar not working on Windows 10? Here’s how to fix it

There are many issues with Taskbar that can occur, and in this article we’re going to cover the following problems:

  • Unclickable Taskbar Windows 10 – Many users reported that their Taskbar is unclickable. This can be a big problem since you won’t be able to use your Taskbar at all.
  • Windows 10 Taskbar frozen – Sometimes your Taskbar might stop responding. In fact, several users reported that their Taskbar is completely frozen.
  • Right click Taskbar not working – Several users reported that right click on their Taskbar isn’t working. However, you should be able to fix this problem by using one of our solutions.
  • Taskbar thumbnails not working – According to users, it seems that Taskbar thumbnails aren’t working. If you have this problem, the Taskbar preview won’t work for you at all.
  • Pin to Taskbar not working – Users tend to pin their favorite applications to the Taskbar in order to access them faster. However, many users reported that this feature isn’t working for them.
  • Lock the Taskbar, autohide Taskbar not working – Another problem with Taskbar is the inability to lock or automatically hide the Taskbar. This is a minor problem, but you should be able to fix it using our solutions.
  • Taskbar search not working in Windows 10 – Users reported that the search feature isn’t working for them. This can be a big problem, especially if you use the search feature frequently to access applications.
  • Taskbar not working on startup – Several users reported that issues with Taskbar occur right on startup. This means that you won’t be able to use your Taskbar at all on Windows 10.
  • Taskbar jump list not working – Several users reported that Jump lists aren’t working on their PC. This can be a problem if you use Jump lists frequently to open recently used files.
  • Cortana Taskbar not working – According to some users, it seems that Cortana isn’t working on their Taskbar. Cortana is an integral part of Windows 10, and not being able to use it can be a big problem.
  • Taskbar buttons not working – Another relatively common problem with Taskbar. Few users reported that Taskbar buttons aren’t working, but you should be able to fix this problem using one of our solutions.

Solution 1 – Restart Windows Explorer

Before we get to some ‘system-messing’ solutions that include Command Prompt and PowerShell, let’s try one simpler. A simple restart of the Windows Explorer will restore the functionality of taskbar, and other user interface features, so if your taskbar problem is not that serious, this solution should work just fine. Here’s exactly what you need to do:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc and choose to open Task Manager.
  2. Under Processes, find Windows Explorer, right-click on it and select End task.Unclickable Taskbar Windows 10
  3. The task will re-launch itself after a couple of moments, so check if everything is okay with your taskbar now, after you restarted the Windows Explorer

This solution might solve the problem, but only temporarily, so if the problem returns, try the solution below.


Solution 2 – Perform a PowerShell fix

Okay, so if restarting Windows Explorer didn’t get the job done, or it just temporarily solved the issue, you can try with some more advanced solution.

This solution will require you to use Windows PowerShell, so if you’re not familiar with working in this environment, you should ask someone better informed for help. Just follow these steps to perform the PowerShell fix:

  1. Right-click on the Start Menu button and choose Command Prompt (Admin) from Win + X menu.
    Windows 10 Taskbar frozen
  2. In the Command Prompt enter the following command and press Enter: PowerShell.
    Right click Taskbar not working
  3. Now paste the following command in the Administrator: Windows PowerShell window and press Enter key:
    • Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”}
      Taskbar thumbnails not working
  4. Now, close PowerShell, and go to the following folder:  C:/Users/your_username/AppData/Local/.
  5. Locate and delete TileDataLayer folder.
    Pin to Taskbar not working
  6. Now check if your taskbar is working, you don’t even have to restart your computer.

Solution 3 – Reinstall apps or ShellExperienceHost and Cortana

If you don’t want to reinstall all of your apps, your best bet is to just re-register Cortana, and ShellExperienceHost. And here’s exactly how to do that:

  1. Right-click the Start Menu, and choose Windows PowerShell (Admin). If you don’t have this option available, repeat steps 1 and 2 from the previous solution.
  2. Enter the following commands (each command resets one feature) into PowerShell, and press Enter:
    • Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost | foreach {Add-AppxPackage -register “$($_.InstallLocation)appxmanifest.xml” -DisableDevelopmentMode}
      Lock the Taskbar not working
    • Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | foreach {Add-AppxPackage -register “$($_.InstallLocation)appxmanifest.xml” -DisableDevelopmentMode}
      Taskbar search not working in Windows 10
  3. Wait for the process to finish.

Solution 4 – Check drivers

Although it seems unlikely, there’s a chance a bad driver is causing the problem. It is known that incompatible drivers can make quite a mess in Windows 10, and a disrupt taskbar is one of the possible issues.

So, make sure all your drivers are up to date, and update any outdated driver. This is a simple procedure, but if you don’t know how to perform it, check out this article.


Solution 5 – Update your system

If you’re running an older version of Windows 10, there’s a chance some of the system components might get corrupt. That’s exactly why Microsoft advises its users to always have the latest version of Windows 10 installed on their computers. To check for updates manually, do the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Now go to Update & security section.
    Taskbar not working on startup
  3. Now click on Check for updates button.
    Taskbar jump list not working

Note: This especially applies if you’re in the Windows Insider program, because the Preview builds you’re testing are, most of the time, pieces of an unfinished puzzle that is the next major update for Windows 10. Builds tend to be quite troublesome, and issues with Windows components, such as the taskbar are the common sight.


Solution 6 – Perform System Restore

If some of the system files on your computer got corrupted, sometimes the most suitable solution is to perform System Restore. This feature will bring your system back to the previous working state, without affecting your files and data. Therefore it’s a much safer option than performing the clean install.

To perform System Restore, follow these steps:

  1. Type Recovery in the Search bar and select Recovery from the list.
    Taskbar jump list not working
  2. Select Open System Restore.
    Cortana Taskbar not working
  3. System Restore window will now open. Click on Next to proceed.
    Taskbar buttons not working
  4. If available, check Show more restore points. Select the desired restore point, and click on Next.
    Unclickable Taskbar Windows 10
  5. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the restoration process.

Keep in mind that you’ll need a valid Restore Point in order to perform System Restore. If you don’t have any, there’s no point in performing System Restore at all. Of course, don’t create a Restore Point while your taskbar is not working, because you certainly don’t want to get back to that.

However, you can create a Restore Point once you’ve dealt with the problem (hopefully, you’ll find a proper solution here). If you don’t know how to create a Restore Point, check out this article.


Solution 7 – Use Troubleshooter

Windows 10 Creators Update brought a useful feature called Troubleshooter. This feature will help you solve various system-related problems in Windows 10. Using Troubleshooter is much easier than entering code in PowerShell or Command Prompt.

Now, we’re back to our possible problems with Windows apps, that might interfere with the taskbar. You can use Troubleshooter to deal with potential issues with Windows apps, and you’ll see that it’s easier than the solution 3.

Here’s exactly what you need to do:

  1. Go to the Settings app and go to Update & security section.
  2. Select Troubleshoot from the menu on the left. In the right pane, select Windows Store Apps. Now click on Run the troubleshooter.
    Windows 10 Taskbar frozen

If there are any problems with Windows apps, Troubleshooter will detect and solve them. However, if the taskbar is still unresponsive after performing the troubleshoot, move on to the next solution.


Solution 9 – Start Application Identity Service

There are some reports that suggest starting the Application Identity service will fix the taskbar issue. So, we’re going to try just that. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to Search, type services.msc, and open Services.
    Right click Taskbar not working
  2. Find Application Identity serviceTaskbar thumbnails not working
  3. Right-click on it, and choose Start.
  4. (There’s no need to restart your computer).

Solution 10 – Use DISM

DISM is an acronym for the Deployment Image Servicing and Management. The main purpose of the DISM is to scan and fix corrupted files on your computer, including the taskbar.

Here’s what you need to do to run DISM:

    1. Press Windows Key + X and start Command Prompt (Admin).
    2. In the command line type following command: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

In case the DISM can’t obtain files online, try using your installation USB or DVD.

  1. Insert media and type following command:
    • DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:RepairSourceWindows /LimitAccess
      Pin to Taskbar not working
  2. Be sure to replace ”C:RepairSourceWindows” path of your DVD or USB.
  3. The operation should last no more than 5 minutes.

Solution 11 – Perform Clean install

And finally, if nothing worked out and you’re trapped in cycles trying to figure out what’s the reason for the taskbar to stay unresponsive, your final solution is the clean reinstall.

Yes, it may seem like a time-consuming action when we have in mind that you’ll need to backup your data and setup again all those settings. However, this is your last resort and we advise you to take it into consideration.autohide Taskbar not working

You can check out about the whole procedure in this article.

That’s all for this article, I hope at least one of these two solutions helped you to restore the functionality of your taskbar. If you have any comments, questions, or maybe some other solution for this problem that I didn’t manage to find, please write that down in the comments section below, we and our readers would love to read it.

Also, if you have any other Windows 10-related issues you can check for the solution in our Windows 10 Fix section.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2015 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


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