In addition to the desktop context menus that sometime appear under the taskbar, there’s another long-time bug in Windows 10 that keeps happening on various devices out there (and that we personally experienced some time ago): taskbar icons go blank all of a sudden.
If this bug occurs, the taskbar icons are not removed, and you can still interact with them, that rather than the icon a specific item is blank taskbar space.
It doesn’t really matter what Windows 10 version you’re running because similar problems happen to be reported on old and new OS releases – for instance, quite a few users come across exactly the same issue on Windows 10 November 2019 Update (Windows 10 version 1909), the latest version, however i previously experienced it within the April 2018 Update too.
There are many methods to (attempt to) fix this, and also the best technique is actually to free up disk space.
When you are running out of disk space, the icon cache is no longer correctly loaded, so ensure that you have at least 1GB of free storage on your device. Remove temporary or unnecessary files and reboot the device and so the taskbar icons ought to be there. In some cases, a system restart isn’t even required, because the icons return following a computerized refresh.
Actually, rebooting the system isn’t necessary even if you want to get rid of the explorer process. This can be a workaround that forces the taskbar to reload the icons it must display, and doing this is obviously much faster and much more convenient than rebooting the pc because you’re not losing anything and you can continue working following the problem is fixed.
You will find multiple methods to do this, and one of these involves this (press enter after each command):
taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
You may also restart the explorer process by pressing:
CTRL + SHIFT + Right click taskbar > Exit Explorer
Next, you have to click:
Task Manager > File > Run new task > explorer.exe
After killing the explorer process, you need to see the taskbar going away completely featuring like Night light disabling.
Removing certain software may also help, as quite a few users claim that Google Drive File Stream is renowned for causing such issues. I can’t confirm this, however, as I’ve never experienced issues with Drive File Stream, but if this works, make sure you drop us a line at the end of the article.
Oftentimes, a simple reboot fixes the bug, but it then keeps returning simply because the reboot itself only removes the temporary files and therefore releases some disk space. When the disk gets full again, the bug returns, so freeing up space manually is the very first thing you should attempt.
Scanning the drive for errors is another recommended step, as corrupt files, such as the icon cache, may also cause similar problems. Some said that the taskbar icons come back after a few minutes, however this obviously doesn’t occur to everybody, and waiting is clearly not a solution.
All in all, there’s no guaranteed fix for this problem since it has different causes, however the aforementioned steps could prove useful when trying to cope with it. As I said, the bug happens on all Windows 10 versions, and judging from reports posted by users online, it occurs mostly on devices with limited storage, which once again confirms that creating more space is once easy way to resolve it.