How to Fix a Frozen Windows 10 Taskbar

Some Windows users who recently upgraded to Windows 10, have made complaints of the tasks bar completely freezing multiple times. When this happens, users cannot click on any element on the taskbar, i.e. start menu, icons, notifications. Also, shortcuts like Windows + R and Windows + X don’t work.

This issue has not root cause as it’s very common on Windows. Some, however, have linked it to Dropbox and a couple of malfunctioning applications. In this article, we’ll explore the various options by which we can solve this problem. This includes running an SFC scan, uninstalling certain applications, starting explorer, among others.

Method 1: Restarting Windows Explorer

  1. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to launch the Windows Task Manager.
  2. In the Task Manager, click on File > Run new task. Type explorer in the open box and then check the box “Create this task with administrative privileges” and click OK.

Alternatively, you can:

  1. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to launch the Windows Task Manager.
  2. Search for Explorer in the processes tab
  3. Right-click on the Explorer entry and select Restart.
  4. Explorer will restart and the taskbar should start working again

Method 2: Running an SFC Scan

  1. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to launch the Windows Task Manager.
  2. In the Task Manager, click on Start > Run new task. Type cmd in the open box and then check the box “Create this task with administrative privileges” and click OK.
  3. In the command prompt, type the following commands, and hit Enter after each command:
    sfc /scannow
    
    dism /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
    

    This will run a system file check and repair all corrupt system files on your computer.

  4. Restart your PC and check if the frozen taskbar has ceased.

Method 3: Powershell Fix

Use this Powershell command to unfreeze the frozen taskbar using these steps.

  1. Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to launch the Windows Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details, select the Services tab and make sure MpsSvc (Windows Firewall) is running.
  3. Press the Windows + R key to open the Run prompt. Type powershell in the prompt and hit Enter.
    If the Run prompt fails to open, press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to launch the Windows Task Manager, click on Start > Run new task. Type powershell in the open box and then check the box “Create this task with administrative privileges” and click OK.
  4. In the Powershell window, paste the following command and hit Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}.
  5. Your taskbar should be fully functional after this.

Method 4: Enable the User Manager

A disabled User Manager may result in a frozen Windows 10 taskbar. Try re-enabling the User Manager with these steps.

  1. Press the Windows Key + R, type services.msc and click OK. This opens the services console.
  2. Search for User Manager and double-click it.
  3. Set the Startup type to Automatic and Start the service if it’s been stopped. Click OK.
  4. Restart your PC and the taskbar should function perfectly at this time.

Method 5: Uninstall Applications

Certain applications have been identified by some users which caused the taskbar from functioning properly. These applications are Dropbox and Classic Shell. If you suspect there are any applications causing this, you can remove it as well.

  1. Press the Windows + R keys to open the run prompt. Type appwiz.cpl and hit Enter.
  2. Locate the application in the installed applications list and then double-click it. Now, follow the prompts to complete the uninstallation.
  3. Reboot your PC and then check if the taskbar functions properly now.

Method 6: Disabling Recently Opened Items

Recently opened items can slow down the list launch. Disabling them makes it faster and prevents any freezing. Follow these instructions to disable recently opened items.

  1. Press Win + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Personalization > Start
  3. Slide the toggle button next to Show recently opened items in Jump Lists on Start or the taskbar to turn it off.
  4. Your taskbar shouldn’t freeze on boot upon the next reboot

Method 7: Reset Default Windows 10 Services

If at this point none of the above methods have worked, try running this script as an administrator by right-clicking on it and selecting Run as administrator. If for some reason your WiFi doesn’t work anymore, follow the steps here (at Method 3 – Step 2: Option 2) to fix the WiFi issue.

Method 8: Create a new User Account

In some situations, the error might be triggered if your user account settings or configurations have not been properly set and also if there is any corruption in this configuration data. Therefore, as an alternative, you can try to create a new user account on your Windows 10 machine and then import the data from the older account later if it fixes the issue. In order to do so:

  1. Press “Windows” + “I” to open settings and click on the “Accounts” option.
  2. In the accounts option, click on the “Family and Other Users” button from the left side.
  3. Select the “Add Someone Else to this PC” option from the menu.
    Add Someone Else to This PC
  4. Click on the “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information” button in the next window.
  5. Click on the “Add a user without a Microsoft Account” option from the new window that pops up.
    Add a user without Microsoft Account
  6. Enter the user account’s username and assign it a password.
  7. Enter the security questions, answer them, and then click on the “Next” option.
  8. After creating this account, click on it and then select the “Change Account Type” option.
  9. Click on the “Account Type’ dropdown and then select the “Administrator” option.
  10. Save your changes and login to this account.
  11. After logging into the account, run Steam and check to see if the game runs.

If doing so fixes the issue on your computer, make sure to import the user account data from the previous account onto this new one and continue to use it normally.

Method 9: Diagnosing in Safe Mode

Sometimes, you might have installed some third-party applications on your computer that might be preventing you from being able to properly run the taskbar or its associated services. In addition to that, it is possible that even a Windows’ or Microsoft’s service is preventing the proper functioning of the computer. Therefore, in this step, we will be diagnosing this issue in the safe mode and then we will check to see if it can be fixed. For that:

  1. Press “Windows”+ “R” to launch the run prompt.
  2. Type in “MSCONFIG” and press “Enter” to launch the Microsoft configuration window.
    msconfig
  3. In this window, click on the “Services” tab and uncheck the “Hide all Microsoft Services”
  4. After unchecking this option, click on the “Disable All” button and click on “Apply” to save your changes.
  5. After that, click on the “Startup” tab and then click on the “Open Task Manager” button to launch the task manager.
    Opening the Task Manager
  6. In the Task Manager, click on each application that has been enabled and then click on the “Disable” button to prevent it from launching at startup.
  7. Restart your computer to now boot into the safe mode.
  8. In the safe mode, check to see if your taskbar freezes after some time or even at startup.
  9. If the taskbar doesn’t freeze inside this mode, it means that a third-party application or service was causing this issue.
  10. Start enabling the applications one by one and check to see which one makes the issue come back.
  11. If all the applications are fine, start enabling the services one by one and check to see which one makes the issue come back.
  12. Keep the problematic service/application disabled or try to reinstall/update it.

Method 10: Performing System Restore

Some users found that performing a simple restore to an earlier working date fixed their issue but you will have to carefully select the restore point to which you will be restoring. It is recommended that you manually go through this process instead of using the automatic restore. In order to perform this step, follow the guide below.

  1. Press “Windows” + “R” to open the Run prompt.
  2. Type in “rstrui” and press “Enter” to open the restore management window.
    Opening the System Restore wizard via Run box
  3. Click on “Next” and check the “Show more Restore Points” option.
  4. Select a restore point in the list that is older than the date on which this issue started occurring on your computer.
  5. Click on “Next” again and follow the on-screen instructions to restore everything back to the date which you selected from the restore window.
  6. Check to see if doing so fixes the issue with the frozen taskbar.

Method 11: Toggle System Icons

It is possible in some cases that the system icon setting might be glitched on your computer due to which this issue is being triggered. Therefore, in this step, we will be toggling these icons and then we will check to see if doing so fixes the issue. For that:

  1. Press “Windows” + “I” to open the settings and click on the “Personalization” option.
    Personalization - Windows Settings
    Personalization – Windows Settings
  2. From the left side, click on the “Taskbar” button.
  3. Under the “Notifications Area” heading, click on the “Turn System Icons on or off” button.
  4. Toggle all of the icons in the next window one by one by turning them off for a couple of seconds and then turning them back on.
  5. After completing this process, navigate back to the desktop by closing out of this window.
  6. Check to see if doing so has fixed the issue.

Method 12: Run Windows Maintenance Troubleshooter

It is possible that there might be some leftover files on your computer due to which there is a shortage of system paging memory or if there are leftover shortcuts from certain applications, that can also prevent the taskbar from functioning correctly. Therefore, in this step, we will be running the Windows Maintenance Troubleshooter and then check to see if doing so fixes this issue. For that:

  1. Press “Windows’ + “R” to open the Run prompt.
  2. Type in “Control Panel” and press “Enter” to launch the classical control panel interface.
    Accessing the Classic Control Panel interface
  3. Click on the “View By:” option from the top and select the “Large Icons” option from the menu.
    Viewing Control Panel using Large Icons
  4. In the next window, click on the “Troubleshooting” option and then click on the “Run Maintenance Tasks” button.
  5. In the window that pops up, click on the Next button, and provide administrative privileges to successfully run this task.
  6. Wait for the Maintenance to be completed and check to see if doing so has fixed the issue with the frozen taskbar.

Method 13: Use DDU to Perform a Clean Install

In some cases, it is possible that the Graphics Card installed on the system might have a faulty driver installed due to which this issue is being triggered. Therefore, in this step, we will be performing a Clean install of the Graphics Driver by uninstalling the Driver using DDU and then we will check to see if doing so has fixed the issue with the Taskbar. For that:

  1. Make sure to back up any important data before performing this step in case something goes unexpected.
  2. Download the DDU software from this website.
  3. After downloading the software, extract the zip file and open the folder where it has been extracted.
  4. Run the “.exe” file inside the folder and it will automatically further extract inside the same folder.
  5. Open the newly extracted folder and click on the “Display Driver Uninstaller.exe”.
  6. Click on the “Select Device Type” dropdown and select “GPU”.
  7. In the other dropdown, select the manufacturer of your GPU and then click on the “Clean and do not Restart” option.
    Selecting the correct options
  8. This will uninstall the device driver for your GPU and it should automatically shift to the Microsoft Basic Visual Adapter.
  9. After uninstalling this software, download the GPU driver from your manufacturer’s website by specifying your exact make and model.
  10. Install this software on your computer and then check to see if doing so fixes the taskbar freezing issue on your computer.

Method 14: Stopping Windows Service

In some situations, it is possible that a certain Windows service might need to be stopped from the task manager. Therefore, in this step, we will be preventing it from running in the background as it has likely hanged due to which the taskbar is being frozen. In order to stop this service:

  1. Press “Windows’ + “R” to open the Run prompt.
  2. Type in “taskmgr” and press “Enter” to open the Task Manager.
    Running the Task Manager
  3. Click on the “Processes” tab and from the list, click on the “Service Host: DCOM Server Process Launcher” service.
  4. Click on the “End Task” button and close out of the task manager.
  5. After closing out of the task manager, check to see if doing so has fixed the frozen taskbar situation.

Method 15: Stop Microsoft Edge and Remove it from Taskbar

In some situations, the default browser that comes installed with Microsoft Windows might just be the culprit behind this whole issue. If you are using another browser as your go-to default browser, you might see that using the Microsoft Edge browser causes issues with the taskbar. Therefore, in this step, we will be stopping Microsoft Edge from the Task Manager and then we will remove it from the taskbar. For that:

  1. Press “Windows’ + “R” to lauch the Run prompt.
  2. Type in “taskmgr” and press “Enter” to open the Task Manager.
    Running the Task Manager
  3. Click on the “Processes” tab and from the list, click on the “Microsoft Edge” browser.
  4. Click on the “End Task” button and close the task manager.
    End Task in Task Manager
  5. If the Taskbar is still frozen, restart your computer and repeat this process.
  6. After doing so, right-click on the Microsoft Edge icon in the taskbar.
  7. Select the “Unpin from Taskbar” option to remove Microsoft Edge from your taskbar.
  8. Check to see if doing so fixes the issue.

Method 16: Remove Outdated References

It is possible that your Registry might be plagued with outdated references to an old operating system that you might’ve upgraded from. Even if you have removed the Windows.old folder from your computer, some driver and registry files might still be associated with the “Windows.old” folder which practically doesn’t exist on your computer and this misconfiguration might prevent your computer from working properly. Therefore, in this step, we will be removing it from the registry editor. For that:

  1. Press “Windows’ + “R’ to open the Run prompt.
  2. Type in “regedit” and press “Enter” to open the registry editor.
    regedit.exe
  3. Press “Ctrl” + “F” to open the finder and type in the “c:\windows.old” line and press “Enter” to find any registry related entries.
  4. Delete or remove any such entries that refer to this and run an SFC scan to check for any missing files.
  5. Make sure to install any missing drivers using Driver Easy and then check to see if the Frozen Taskbar issue has been fixed.

Method 17: Rollback Updates

In some situations, Windows might’ve acquired some updates that are preventing your computer from functioning properly and due to this, the taskbar feature has been broken. Therefore, in this step, we will be rolling back some recently installed updates and then we will check to see if doing so fixes the frozen taskbar issue. In order to do that:

  1. Press “Windows’ + “I” buttons on your keyboard to open the Windows settings.
  2. In the Windows Settings, click on the “Update and Security” button and from the left pane, select “Windows Update”.
    Clicking on the “Update and Security” option
  3. On the next screen, select the “Update History” button and it should lead to a new window.
  4. In the new window, there should be an “Uninstall Updates” button and by clicking on it, a prompt should open that should enable you to be able to uninstall an update.
    Uninstall Updates
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to be able to fully remove the update and check to see if the issue persists after doing so.

Method 18: Signing out of Account

It is possible that the Windows Taskbar is getting frozen due to a glitch during the account login. Therefore, we can test this out by simply signing out of our account and then signing back in to ensure that the account is logged in properly and that it is properly registered with the Microsoft Servers. In order to do so:

  1. Press “Ctrl” + “Alt” + “Del” buttons on your keyboard to open up the account options.
  2. Click on the “Sign out” option from the screen to log out of your account.
  3. Wait for Windows to completely sign you out of your account and confirm any prompts on your screen to complete the sign-out process.
  4. Select your account and sign back into your account from the next screen by entering your login details.
  5. Check to see if doing so has fixed the frozen taskbar issue on your account.

Method 19: Creating Batch File

Most people found that restarting the Windows Explorer fixed their issue but for some of them, it kept coming back after a while. Therefore, in this step, we figured out a way for the people that can solve it by restarting but all they will have to do is click on a batch file present on their desktops. For that:

  1. Right-click anywhere on your desktop and select the “New>” option.
  2. Click on the “Text Document” option and a new text document will be created on your desktop.
    Right-Clicking on the desktop and selecting “Create New Text Document” option
  3. Open this text document and paste the following lines inside of the text document.
    taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe
    start explorer.exe
    exit
  4. Click on the “File” option at the top left of the window and select the “Save As” option.
  5. Enter the “TaskMRestart.bat” as the file name and select “All Files” from the “File Type” dropdown.
  6. Save this file on your desktop and exit out of the document.
  7. Now, double-clicking on this newly saved file should automatically restart File Explorer which should fix the Frozen taskbar issue within a second.
  8. You can just click on the file whenever the taskbar freezes and it should fix itself.

Method 20: Perform an Update

The frozen taskbar issue was a very famous topic on most Microsoft forums and apparently a lot of Microsoft officials took note of it. Therefore, it is possible that this issue might’ve been fixed for some people in recent updates released by Microsoft. Therefore, in this step, we will be checking for any available updates from Microsoft and installing them on our devices. For that:

  1. Press “Windows” + “I” to open the settings.
  2. In the settings, click on the “Update and Security” option and then select the “Windows Update” button from the left side.
    Clicking on the “Update and Security” option
  3. In the Windows Update, click on the “Check for Updates” button and a prompt will be registered that will automatically check for any newly available updates.
    Check For Updates in Windows Update
  4. Install these updates on your computer by following the on-screen instructions and restart your computer.
  5. Check to see if installing these updates fixes the issue on your computer.

Method 21: Unpinning Items from Start Menu

Some people like to pin important items to the start menu for ease of access and increased productivity. However, as it stands, some Windows users have been facing the frozen taskbar issue due to these pinned items. Therefore, in this step, we will be unpinning some items from the start menu and the taskbar and then we will check to see if doing so fixes the frozen taskbar bug.

  1. Press the “Windows” button on your keyboard to launch the start menu.
  2. Inside the start menu, right-click on a tile on the right side of the start menu.
  3. Select the “Unpin from Start Menu” button to remove the item from the Start menu tiles.
    windowslatest.com
    Start menu unpin group
  4. After removing some items, check to see if the bug is fixed.
  5. Try removing all the items that can be removed if the bug comes back and check again.
  6. For a more accurate removal, try removing all the programs from the taskbar and the Start menu that try to connect to the internet, for example, Microsoft Edge, Cortana, News, etc.

Method 22: Disable Items from Bios

It is possible in some cases that the computer’s Bios has been improperly configured due to which the Windows Taskbar is getting frozen time and time again. Therefore, in this step, we will first be booting inside the Bios from which we will disable an option that should get rid of this problem if it was based around the Bios. In order to do so:

  1. Press the “Windows” button on your keyboard and click on the “Power Button” icon.
  2. Select the “Restart” option from the list and wait for your computer to prompt a restart.
    Restarting the Windows computer
  3. When the computer shuts down and starts booting up, start pressing the “Del”, “F12” or “F11” key depending upon your motherboard to boot inside the computer’s bios.
  4. From the bios, navigate through different settings until you find the “iGPU Multi-Monitor” feature.
  5. Disable this feature inside the Bios and boot back into Windows.
  6. Check to see if disabling this feature worked and fixed the frozen taskbar error.
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

How to Fix a Frozen Windows 10 Taskbar

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