The Windows taskbar is home to the clock and date display and battery icon. Sometimes they are missing. Here are some tips to help you restore missing icons on the taskbar.
At the right side of the taskbar in Windows 10 and 11 are several system icons like the speaker icon for adjusting the sound volume, the battery on laptops for checking the charge level, the network icon to access Wi-Fi settings, and the clock and date display.
Software installed on the computer can put additional icons here, so you may see more than just the basic system icons.
What if icons that should be at the right side of the taskbar are missing? It is a rare problem, but not that rare and at some point you may experience this little bug in Windows. It is useful to know what to do when you come across it on your computer.
I will be using Windows 10 for this, but Windows 11 is very similar.
Hide and show icons on the taskbar
When you discover that there are icons missing from the taskbar, like the clock, date, battery or something else, check that little popup panel on the taskbar.
Icons that should be on the taskbar could have somehow had their settings changed so that they are hidden in the popup panel. Click the up arrow button (^) button on the taskbar to show the hidden icons.
Can you see the icon you want? If an icon is hidden in that popup panel, click and drag it to the taskbar and drop it. It is moved out of the panel and onto the taskbar.
The reverse of this is possible too. Click and drag an icon at the right side of the taskbar to the ^ and then drop it in the panel when it appears. You will see a little vertical line, which shows the position it will be added.
Configure the taskbar notification area
There is another way to set the location of taskbar icons in the notification area at the right-hand side. Press Windows+I to Open the Settings app and click Personalization followed by Taskbar.
There are two items of interest here: Select which icons appear on the taskbar and Turn system icons on or off. Click Turn system icons on or off.
There could be up to a dozen system icons listed here and each of them has an On/Off switch. If a system icon is missing, make sure that it is switched on here.
It may help to turn a missing system icon off, restart the PC, return here and turn it back on. Then restart the PC again. Missing icons sometimes magically appear again.
Step back to the previous section and click Select which icons appear on the taskbar. The On/Off switches here determine whether the icons are actually on the taskbar itself or hidden in the pop-up panel.
If there are icons you want to see on the taskbar itself, turn on the switches next to them. Off, means hide them in the popup tray. As before, it may help to turn off the missing icon, restart Windows, return here, turn it on, then restart Windows.
This might be worth trying first, before you fiddle around with anything else. It is quick and easy and solves all sorts of problems. For example, if you do not immediately see any changes after configuring the taskbar notification area, restart Windows. Do not power off and then power on because this may not change anything. Restart Windows instead.
Check for Windows updates
A Windows update may have introduced a bug preventing notification icons from appearing and the next update may fix it. Open Settings and click Update & Security. Either check for updates or install updates if they are waiting.
This is an extreme step that could fix the problem of missing taskbar icons, but it might reset things you don’t want resetting, like personalization settings, Wi-Fi settings and so on. Just make sure you know how to access passwords, website logins, Wi-Fi login and so on.
Open Settings and click Update & Security. Select Recovery in the sidebar and then click the Get started button under Reset this PC. You will be asked if you want to keep your files or delete them. Select the option to keep them.
It is recommended that you back up the PC’s disk before you do this. Nothing should go wrong, but it is always best to have a backup.
This solution to missing taskbar icons is even more extreme and is recommended only if you are an expert and know what you are doing. Reinstall Windows on the PC by downloading a copy of the Windows .iso file (Windows 10 download, Windows 11 download). Right click the .iso file after downloading it and select Mount.
It creates a virtual disk, which can be browsed in File Explorer. Double click Setup.exe and reinstall Windows over the top of itself. It is recommended that you back up the PC’s disk before you do this.