How to Fix a Frozen Windows 10 Taskbar

Bottom bar not responding? One of these tips should get things back on track

A woman with a frustrated facial expression is using a laptop computer

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When the Windows 10 taskbar isn’t working, it may manifest in one of several different ways:

  • Clicking on the taskbar has no effect.
  • Icons don’t show up.
  • Keyboard shortcuts don’t work.

The instructions in this article apply only to Windows 10.

Cause of Windows 10 Taskbar Not Responding

The Windows 10 taskbar may be frozen for a variety of reasons, including an incomplete operating system update, an update bug, corrupted system files, or corrupted user account files.

The procedures we outline rely on launching tasks through Task Manager, but if you can execute them through the Start menu or through other shortcuts, use that method instead.

How to Get a Windows 10 Frozen Taskbar to Work 

  1. Use Task Manager to restart Windows Explorer.

    1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager.
    2. If needed, click More Details to see all the tabs.
    3. Select the Processes tab and click Windows Explorer.
    4. With Windows Explorer selected, click Restart at the bottom of the window. 
  2. Run an SFC scan.

    Press Win+X to open the Power User menu, then select either PowerShell (Admin) or Command Prompt (Admin). Run the command sfc \scannow.

  3. Use Powershell. This is a two-part process. First, enable the Windows Firewall.

    1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
    2. If needed click More Details to see all the tabs.
    3. Select the Services tab and, under Name, look for mpssvc (Windows Firewall).
    4. Make sure the Open Services icon is displayed next to it. If it’s not, right-click on it and select Start.

    Press Win+R. In the Run dialog box, type powershell, then press Enter. At the prompt, type the following command, then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}
  4. Run DISM image management command.

    1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager.
    2. Select File > Run a new task.
    3. In the Create new task dialog box, type explorer, then click OK.
    4. Within File Explorer, open C:\Windows\System32.
    5. Find cmd.exe, and right-click it.
    6. From the menu, select Run as administrator > Yes.
    7. In the next window, at the prompt, type Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth, then press Enter. Wait until verification is 100 percent complete. 
  5. Enable the User Manager.

    1. On your keyboard press Win+R.
    2. In the Run dialog box, type services.msc, then press Enter.
    3. Under Name, find and double-click User Manager.
    4. From the Startup type menu, select Automatic and click OK.
    5. Restart your computer. 
  6. Disable recently opened items.

    1. On your keyboard press Win+I to open Settings.
    2. Select Personalization.
    3. In the left column, choose Start.
    4. Toggle the switch for Show recently opened items in Jump Lists on Start or the taskbar to Off
  7. Run System Restore.

    1. Press Win+R.
    2. In the Run dialog box, type sysdm.cpl, then press Enter.
    3. In the System Properties dialog box, choose System Protection > System Restore.
    4. On the next screen, select Next, and choose a system restore point.
    5. Follow the on-screen instructions to continue, and then restart your system. 
  8. Create a new user account.

    1. Press Win+I to open Settings.
    2. Select Accounts > Family & other people.
    3. Choose Add someone else to this PC.
    4. Choose I don’t have this person’s sign-in information, then Next.
    5. Select Add a user without a Microsoft account, then Next.
    6. Type the username and password for the account, then select Next.

    Sign in to the new user account. If the taskbar works, then transfer your files to the new account and delete the old one. 

  9. If, after all that, you’re still having problems, consider consulting with a professional to get your computer fixed