Full Fix: Minimize, Maximize and Close Buttons Disappear

Ivan Jenic By: Ivan Jenic
7 minute read

Home » Full Fix: Minimize, Maximize and Close Buttons Disappear

Windows user interface is changing through the years and in every version of Windows, but Minimize, Maximize and Close buttons are present in every version of Windows, and they’re one of the most important aspects of the user interface of any Windows. But what if these buttons disappear? Don’t worry, there’s a way to make these icons visible again.

Minimize, maximize and close buttons missing, how to fix them?

Windows interface is simple to use, but sometimes certain issues can appear. Speaking of interface issues, users reported the following problems:

  • Close, minimize, maximize buttons missing Firefox, Chrome, Excel, Internet Explorer – Sometimes this problem can appear in various applications such as Firefox, Chrome, and many others. To fix it, open the affected application and restore its settings to default.
  • Minimize and close buttons gone – Several users reported that minimize and close buttons are gone from their PC. To fix this problem, be sure to try some of our solutions.
  • Close, minimize, maximize buttons not working – In some cases, close, minimize and maximize buttons won’t work at all. This is most likely caused by a corrupted user profile, so you might have to create a new user profile.

Solution 1 – Restart Desktop Window Manager

The reason why Minimize, Maximize and Close buttons disappeared is probably because of some kind of error with dwm.exe (Desktop Window Manager), and resetting this process should solve the problem. But before we give you precise details about the solution, let’s talk a little about Desktop Window Manager itself.

Windows’ Desktop Window Manager is a built-in file in your system which manages the visual effects in Windows operating systems. For example, this process allows your Start Menu to be transparent, and it was also managing Aero environment in Windows 7. It also manages other User Interface elements, such as our missing buttons. So an error in the running of this process could cause various visual issues, and disappearance of Minimize, Maximize and Close buttons is just one of them.

Now that you know which service causes the problem, and all you need to do is to restart it, and Minimize, Maximize and Close buttons should show up as normal. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to start Task Manager.
  2. When Task Manager opens, locate Desktop Windows Manager, right click it and choose End Task.
    Close, minimize, maximize buttons missing Internet Explorer
  3. The process will now restart and the buttons should appear again.

Solution 2 – Roll back to the older drivers

According to users, sometimes a problematic graphics card driver can cause this problem to appear. If that’s the case, we advise you to roll back to the older version of your graphics card driver. This is relatively simple, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu and choose Device Manager from the list.
    Minimize and close buttons gone
  2. Locate your display adapter in Device Manager and double click it to open its properties.
    Close, minimize, maximize buttons not working
  3. Go to the Driver tab and click the Roll Back Driver button.
    Close, minimize, maximize buttons missing Chrome

Keep in mind that Roll Back Driver option might not be always available. If this option isn’t available, you might want to try removing your driver and using the default driver instead. There are several ways to do that, but the best is to use Display Driver Uninstaller.

If the default drivers don’t work, you can also try updating your graphics card driver and check if that helps. We wrote a guide on how to update your graphics card driver, so be sure to check it out. We recommend using this third-party tool (approved by Microsoft and Norton) to automatically update your drivers.


Solution 3 – Make sure that you’re using a standard Windows theme

Many users like to customize their Windows with custom themes, but some themes might not be fully compatible with Windows 10. As a result, minimize, maximize and close buttons can disappear from Windows.

This can be an annoying problem that can interfere with your work, but in order to fix it, it’s recommended to switch back to a standard Windows 10 theme. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Right click your desktop and choose Personalize.
    Minimize and close buttons gone
  2. Settings app should now appear. Navigate to Themes section in the left pane. In the right pane, select one of the default themes such as Windows or Windows 10.
    Close, minimize, maximize buttons not working

After doing that, Windows 10 will switch back to the default theme and the problem should be resolved.


Solution 4 – Remove problematic third-party applications

There are many great third-party applications that can customize the look of Windows 10. Using these apps you can add various features and enhance the look of Windows 10. However, some third-party applications can cause certain problems to appear.

If minimize, maximize and close buttons are missing, the problem might be a third-party application. To fix the issue, be sure to remove any application that allows you to change the look and functionality of your user interface.

To ensure that the problematic application is completely removed, we advise you to use uninstaller software. These types of applications are great since they will remove the desired application as well as all files and registry entries associated with it.

If you’re looking for a solid uninstaller application, the most popular uninstaller applications are Revo Uninstaller, IOBit Uninstaller, and Ashampoo Uninstaller, so feel free to try any of them.


Solution 5 – Make sure that you’re not using the Tablet Mode

Windows 10 is optimized for touchscreen devices, so it comes with a special Tablet Mode that mimics the look of a tablet interface. In Tablet Mode there are no minimize, maximize and close buttons available for Universal apps.

If these buttons are missing, you need to turn off the Tablet Mode. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Action Center by clicking its icon in the Taskbar. Alternatively, you can open it quickly by pressing Windows Key + A.
    Minimize and close buttons gone
  2. Now look for Tablet Mode option, and click it to disable it. If Tablet Mode isn’t available, first click on Expand to reveal the Tablet Mode option.
    Close, minimize, maximize buttons not working

After disabling the Tablet Mode, the issue should be resolved and the buttons should appear again.


Solution 6 – Check the application settings

Many users reported that minimize, maximize and close buttons are missing from certain applications. This is usually caused by the application settings. Many applications allow you to customize their user interface, and sometimes you can hide the title bar or these buttons by accident.

If this problem appears only in specific applications, be sure to open the affected application and change its user interface settings to default. After doing that, the problem should be completely resolved.


Solution 7 – Change your graphics card configuration

Your graphics card comes with its own configuration software that allows you to change various features. According to users, this problem usually appears with AMD graphics cards and it’s related to Catalyst Control Center.

According to users, their graphics card was configured to work in High Performance mode in Catalyst Control Center which caused this error to appear. To fix the issue, you need to change your mode from High Performance to Standard performance in Catalyst Control Center. After doing that, the issue should be completely resolved.

Another problem can also be Dual Graphics option. This option will force your PC to use both dedicated and integrated graphics at the same time. As a result, certain issues, such as missing buttons, can appear.


Solution 8 – Change your Project mode to Extended

If you’re using a dual monitor setup, you might be able to switch between several different Project modes. If the minimize, maximize and close buttons are missing, you might be able to fix that simply by switching to the Extended Project mode. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + P to open the Project panel.
  2. List of projects will appear. Select Extend from the list, and the issue should be resolved.
    Close, minimize, maximize buttons missing Excel

Several users reported that this solution worked for them, so you might want to try it out.


Solution 9 – Make sure that Windows is up to date

According to users, if minimize, maximize and close buttons are missing, the problem might be related to a Windows 10 glitch. To fix the issue, it’s advised to check for updates and keep your PC updated. By default, Windows 10 will automatically download the missing updates, but sometimes you might miss an important update.

However, you can always check for updates manually by doing the following:

  1. Open the Settings app. You can do that quickly by using Windows Key + I shortcut.
  2. When Settings app opens, navigate to Update & Security section.
    Minimize and close buttons gone
  3. In the right pane, click on Check for updates button.
    Close, minimize, maximize buttons missing Firefox

Windows will now check for available updates. If any updates are available, they will be downloaded automatically in the background.

That’s all, Minimize, Maximize and Close buttons should show up after using one of our solutions. If you have any questions or comments, or you maybe know some other solutions for this User Interface problem, please write it down in the comments.


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


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