Missing Notification Area Icons in Windows 7

Almost after every other system boot (Windows 7 on my Dell laptop), some notification area icons tend to disappear (while the corresponding processes/services are running issue-free). The “champions” are the volume and the power icons, although they are not the only ones affected. And I’m not talking about those “show icon and/or notification” modes which you can configure ad liberum. My icons are configured to be displayed all right — which is exactly the reason it’s so annoying when they disappear.

Windows icons

Now, as opposed to the insanity of fixing a “corrupted user profile”, the solution that works like a charm in my case is a simple restart of Windows Explorer.

Pull up the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc). On the “Processes” tab, find the process named explorer.exe. Select it, then click End Process. The taskbar should now disappear. Switch to the “Applications” tab, click New Task and enter explorer in the small window that should pop up. Confirm with OK.

Whee, look who’s back!


12 comments to Missing Notification Area Icons in Windows 7

Jean replied on June 3, 2013 at 21:44

Man, what an expeditive AND effective solution you provided me. GREAT! Thanks a thousand. — Jean.

Mario replied on October 9, 2013 at 13:34

In my laptop this problem occurs very often.
I like this sentence:
“The “champions” are the volume and the power icons, although they are not the only ones affected.”, is very true.
I have searched everywhere for a definitive solution without success
I tried with specific fix, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/945011, without success.
Also deleting IconStreams and PastIconsStream key on registry is no permanent solution.

If someone found a DEFINITIVE solution, please let us know.


Oldie replied on November 2, 2013 at 01:12

Mario, ain’t the solution described above definitive enough for you? I mean, it does work like a charm: kill the explorer and then revive it, where’s the uncertainty?

Spamlet replied on December 1, 2013 at 04:00

all very well, except I use process explorer and it is one of the things that disappears…
ie. ctrl-alt-del = zilch because it is already running but invisible.

Oldie replied on December 1, 2013 at 19:47

Spamlet, you can also call up the Task Manager by clicking the “Start” button, then “Run” (or with “Windows + R” shortcut); in there, you type in “taskmgr”, this should pass by the Process Explorer’s override.

rishant arora replied on April 17, 2014 at 16:57

hi! i use windows 7.my Bluetooth icon disappeared from my system tray. in panic i dont know what i did.now my system tray is missing. i dont have that “small white arrow” which contained all the icons in the right side of the taskbar. is there anyway i can can get it back..plz help… 🙁

thomas replied on May 6, 2014 at 11:42

Bingo – and thanks.
Couldn’t get my task manager back in systray after update – this helped!

SloppyGoat replied on May 10, 2014 at 08:21

That’s BS!!! It’s just as temporary as Microsoft’s so called fix. So, how many times a day do you have to restart explorer? I’m guessing almost every time you boot or reboot your machine, right? Who has the real solution for this horrible annoyance???

Oldie replied on May 16, 2014 at 19:19

SloppyGoat, you are absolutely right about the frequency, it is indeed necessary almost every time the machine is rebooted. Which is approximately once a week in my case. Which takes 15 seconds to perform. Which, after having spent several desperate hours looking for a solution, I am perfectly happy with.

NITIN replied on September 16, 2014 at 19:14

thanks a lot yrr

Alain Gheysens replied on November 27, 2014 at 10:41

…Notification area icons missing at startup or disappear after startup…

I found a much easier and efficient solution.

Start your “Task Manager” by pressing ‘Ctrl’+’Shift’+’Esc’ and select the “Users” tab
Select Current Active User
Select Close Session

The session will restart and all icons will show again.
I don’t know why icons disapear at normal PC startup, neither do I understand why they all show up again after this procedure.
But… It works!

Let us hope Microsoft will come with a sound answer about this some day…

The problem exists since 2009 and ever since they never came up with an explanation why it occurs and how to get rid of the problem once and for all.

Oldie replied on November 27, 2014 at 23:36

Thanks, Alain, but I can’t see anything like “Close Session” on my machine, I’ve only got “Disconnect” and “Logoff”…

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