Windows 10 introduced some interface changes in comparison to previous systems such as Win 7, 8, and Vista. One of these changes was the inclusion of a visibly different taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Many users aren’t aware of the fact that they can hide the taskbar and make room for more icons, etc. Furthermore, disabling it may be of some use for people who like to keep their desktop as minimalistic as possible.
Hiding the taskbar is completely the same as in the previous operating systems. The fastest way to hide it is to navigate to Settings > Personalization > Taskbar. There, the users will find the option to check the auto hide feature. They can either choose to hide it in the desktop or tablet mode. The former works for all computers and notebooks, while the latter only works for devices similar to tablets.
The taskbar usually hides automatically, but it can be brought up by hovering with the cursor next to it.
Is the Taskbar Not Hiding?
There could be a number of reasons why Taskbar doesn’t hide automatically. However, the first one that always comes to our mind is that there’s an app that’s using it at the moment. What do we mean by this? Well, there might be a blinking notification somewhere within the taskbar that requires the user’s attention. These notifications are usually something that’s urgent such as malware detection reports, calls, emails, etc. That’s why the Taskbar refuses to go away until the notification is dealt with.
Programs that constantly change their taskbar icons are often the culprits in these situations. For example, the messenger changes its icon to display the number of new messages. Each time there’s a new message, it changes the number in the icon in order to display the exact number of new messages. In return, the notification pops up and remains visible along with the taskbar until the user takes notice of it.
There are several quick fixes for these notifications, and they’re pretty easy to do. However, there are instances where no program is using the taskbar at the moment and it’s still visible. Here’s how to address both situations.
A Simple Fix
Restarting the Windows 10 Explorer might always be the best idea when it comes to these Taskbar hiding issues. Here’s what you need to do.
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to bring up the Task Manager.
- Click on Details.
- Scroll down until you see Windows Explorer.
- Right-click on it and select Restart.
An alternative way to do the same is to use the Command Prompt. By typing in the following commands, the user can either end the entire process or restart it.
- Press Windows Key + R button on the keyboard.
- In the dialogue box type ‘cmd’.
- Type taskkill /im explorer.exe /f in the Command Prompt.
- Now, type explorer.
- Finally, type exit.
Troubleshooting the Problem
When it comes to troubleshooting the issue, the first thing to do is to check that the user isn’t doing something wrong. First of all, the user needs to make sure that the mouse cursor isn’t anywhere on the Taskbar. Moreover, clicking anywhere on the screen will tell the user whether the Taskbar was in use or not. When the Taskbar finally hides it means that there’s no longer an ongoing process in the background. If it doesn’t hide, then the problem lies somewhere else.
If that’s the case, the user should move on to checking the preferences settings. There’s a slight possibility that the user forgot to save the changes in the settings. Alternatively, they maybe didn’t change them at all but thought that they did. Sometimes, Windows 10 system updates can be the cause of that. There are reports of the preferences resetting after each important Windows 10 update. The users on various forums have claimed that they had to set the preferences each time after an update. Microsoft probably already addressed that issue, but it’s still worth checking.
Locate the Source of the Problem
We’ve only scratched the surface with the fixes in the previous section. In most cases, the problem is something entirely different. That’s why it’s important to dig deeper and research the potential cause of the problem.
As discussed in the previous section, Windows Taskbar depends on certain icons. When it’s visible on screen, it means that there’s an icon somewhere that calls for its presence. However, there are multiple instances where these icons are invisible themselves. That way, it’s extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact program that prevents the Taskbar from hiding automatically. However, some of these programs are a bit easier to track down. There are many icons that hide behind the little arrow in the right corner of the Taskbar.
If the users can’t figure out which programs and icons are causing the issue, they can try opening the Preferences again. To do that, follow these steps:
- Press Windows key + I button on the keyboard.
- Navigate to the “Select which icons appear on the taskbar’’ option.
- Check “always show all icons in the notification area’’.
That gives the users an insight into which icons are displayed and helps them track down the culprit. The users should be able to see which program is causing the issue because there won’t be any hidden icons anymore. Keep in mind that this method adds a lot of icons to the Taskbar, and it can fill up space quite fast. However, that is only for a short period of time because the users can revert back to the previous settings once they find the solution.
Some programs can still cause problems even after you’ve used the method above. The reason for that is that they push notifications to the user regularly. In this situation, the user can simply disable the notifications for that particular program and fix the issue that way. This is the way to do it:
- Navigate to Settings — System — Notifications & Actions.
- Find the Show app notifications option. Turn it off.
The users can use the Show app notifications option to turn off notifications for all programs or for each one individually.
The user also has access to various Windows 10 policies which can be of great help when it comes to dealing with the hiding Taskbar. To open them, follow these steps:
- Press Windows key to open up the Start Menu.
- Type ‘gpedit.msc’ into the dialogue box.
- Hit Enter.
That opens up the Group Policy Editor which will list all the available policies for users to modify. We’d like to divert the user’s attention to the following policies, as they are extremely useful:
- To lock the Taskbar settings, open User Configuration, then go to Start Menu and Taskbar and select Lock all taskbar settings.
- If you want to disable the notification balloons, open User Configuration, then go to Start Menu and Taskbar and select Turn off all balloon notifications.
- To turn off automatic icons in the Taskbar, open User Configuration, then go to Start Menu and Taskbar and select Turn off automatic promotion of notification icons to the taskbar.
- For shutting down the advertisement balloons, open User Configuration, then go to Start Menu and Taskbar and select Turn off feature advertisement balloon notifications.
- To turn off incoming calls when ‘Quiet Hours’ is active, open User Configuration, then go to Start Menu and Taskbar, then Notifications and select turn off calls during Quiet Hours.
- To turn off toast notifications in the Taskbar, open User Configuration, then go to Start Menu and Taskbar, then Notifications and select Turn off toast notifications.