Is the Windows 11 Taskbar empty? Here’s how to fix it

by Claudiu Andone
Claudiu Andone
Claudiu Andone
Windows & Software Expert
Oldtimer in the tech and science press, Claudiu is focused on whatever comes new from Microsoft. His abrupt interest in computers started when he saw the first Home... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Many users start their PC just to find the Windows 11 Taskbar empty and unusable.
  • The reason for this issue seems to be a small component called IrisService.
  • Microsoft issued a workaround, so we propose other solutions while waiting for a permanent fix.
Fix Windows 11 empty taskbar

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Windows 11 is finally here but that doesn’t mean that the bugs disappeared overnight. In fact, this issue is pretty serious.

It seems that after an update or even a simple restart, a lot of users looked at their Taskbar only to find it completely empty and unusable.

Nothing on the Windows 11 Taskbar

The Taskbar problem is doubled by a missing Start button which makes things a lot worse because you can only use shortcuts to get to the menus.

Microsoft has issued a workaround for this problem but it’s still a matter of fixing this before doing more harm. We also added some solutions that worked for our readers so read below and try them out right now.

What causes the empty Taskbar issue in Windows 11?

Judging by the workaround supplied by Microsoft which you will find in our first solution below, this problem was caused by a small component called IrisService.

It’s a file that is part of the Windows Spotlight service that is used to bring you some tips, suggestions, and promotions on the Lockscreen window.

The background is also brought by IrisService

That’s why the registry change suggested by Microsoft is basically blocking the IrisService from the Registry.

So, a small cloud service can completely mess up your Taskbar and other more important settings and features.

What can I do if the Taskbar is missing in Windows 11?

1. Make a change in the Registry

  1. Press the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys on your keyboard and select Task Manager.
  2. Click on the More details option from Task Manager.
  3. Select File and choose Run new task.
  4. Type cmd and press Enter or click OK.
  5. Paste the following command and press Enter to run it: reg delete HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\IrisService /f && shutdown -r -t 0
  6. The PC should reboot after this command, and after restarting, the Taskbar should be restored.

2. Uninstall recent updates

  1. Press the Windows key + I to start the Settings app.
  2. Click on Windows Update from the left pane, then select Update history from the right.
  3. Scroll down and click on Uninstall updates.
  4. Next, select the update that caused this problem and select Uninstall, then click OK to confirm your choice.

3. Roll back to an earlier build

  1. Press the Windows key + I to start the Settings app.
  2. Click on Windows Update from the left pane, then select Update history from the right.
  3. Scroll down and select the Recovery option.
  4. In the next window, click the Go back button.
  5. Check a box with a reason to go back and click Next.
  6. Now is the time to decide if you want to go through with the rollback or not. If you didn’t check for updates before, you can click the Check for updates button. If you allready know that are no new updates, go for the No, thanks button.
  7. In the next window you are prompted about the implications of this rollback. The apps and changes you made after the latest update will be obviously lost. Click Next if you’re OK with that.
  8. Go on with the rollback and after the restart, the Taskbar should be restored and functional.

4. Change Time and Date settings

  1. Press the Ctrl + Alt + Del shortcut and select Task Manager.
  2. Select More details from the bottom of the Task Manager window.
  3. Click on File and then select Run new task.
  4. Type control panel and press Enter or click OK.
  5. Choose Clock and Region.
  6. Click the Set the time and date button.
  7. Click the Change date and time settings button.
  8. Select a date in the future, then click OK.
  9. Switch to the Internet Time tab and click on the Change settings button.
  10. Turn off the Syncronize with an Internet time server option, then click OK.

In a strange way, changing the Date and Time settings in Windows 11 can fix the empty taskbar problem.

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How to create a Windows 11 USB bootable drive?

If this problem becomes more serious, you will also need to reset or reinstall the OS and you can easily do that after you create a Windows 11 bootable USB drive. You will need a USB with at least 8 GB in capacity for this solution.

Let’s see how you can easily do that by following some easy steps below.

  1. Go to the dedicated Windows download page and click on Download Now under the Create Windows 11 Installation Media section to get the Media Creation Tool.
  2. After you download the executable, run the file to start Media Creation Tool and click on Accept to go forward.
  3. Now you can either go with the recommended settings or uncheck the corresponding box and set your own language preference in the field above.
  4. Select the USB flash drive option and hit Next.
  5. Click on the USB device of your choice and select Next.
  6. The process will take a bit of time. Click on Finish when the process is done.

Done! Now you have a working, bootable USB stick that you can use to restore, reset, and reinstall a fresh copy of Windows 11.

Store it safely because you never know when you may need it again. You can also download the Windows 11 ISO and then make a bootable USB media using a third-party app like Rufus.

Also, do not hesitate to learn how to create a Windows 11 bootable USB drive. If the solutions above didn’t work for you, this one might help.

We hope that our guide helped you fix the empty Taskbar issue in Windows 11 and now you’re using your new OS in normal conditions.

For more information, follow our start menu and taskbar issues fix that is similar to the problem presented in this article.

If you have any other suggestions or you need more information, don’t hesitate to access the dedicated comments section below to leave us a line about that.

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