How to Show Network Icon on Taskbar in Windows 7, 8 or 10

You might be wondering where the network connection icon in your notifications tray went to. When this happens, you usually have an internet connection but cannot see the Wi-Fi signal bar, the ethernet icon, or the connection status icon. In some other cases, you cannot access the internet and there’s no icon to access the Network and Sharing Center.

This can be caused by several reasons: it’s either the network connection status icon is missing, the network service isn’t running, or an issue from Windows Explorer. In most cases, the missing icon can be brought back by enabling it in the notification tray settings. If that doesn’t work for you, you can try the other methods provided in this guide.

Method 1: Enabling the Networking Icon to Appear in the Notifications Area

Windows 7:

  1. Right-click on the taskbar and select ‘Properties
  2. On the Taskbar tab, click on ‘Customize’ under the ‘Notification Area’ segment.
  3. Click on ‘Turn system icons on or off

Also, make sure under Icons and Behaviours, ‘Network’ matches with ‘Show icon and notifications

  1. Locate ‘Network’ under the System Icons and select On from the drop-down menu of Behaviours
  2. Click OK to exit.

Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10:

  1. Right-click on the taskbar and select Settings
  2. Scroll down to the Notification area section and select ‘Turn system icons on or off’’
  3. Look for Network and toggle the switch next to it on.

Method 2: Restarting the Network Services

  1. Press the Windows + R, type ‘services.msc’ and then hit Enter.
  2. Look for the following services
Remote procedure call - This service must be started for other services to work.
Network Connections - This service depends on RPC to work
Plug and Play
Com+ Event System - This service depends on RPC to work
Remote Access Connection Manager - This service depends on Telephony to work
Telephony - This service depends on RPC service and the PnP work
  1. Make sure these services are started by right-clicking on the service name and then clicking Start.

Method 3: Restarting Windows Explorer

  1. Launch the Windows Task Manager by using the keyboard combinations Ctrl + Shift + Esc or right-clicking on the taskbar and then selecting ‘Task Manager’
  2. In the ‘Processes or Details’ tab, find ‘Explorer’
  3. Right-click Windows Explorer or explorer.exe and then select Restart. In Windows 7 select End Process.
  4. Click on File > Create New Task/New Task
  5. Type explorer.exe in the field and then press enter.

Method 4: Resetting the Icon Cache

  1. Right-click on an empty space on your desktop and choose Display Properties
  2. Depending on the layout of your Display properties, find the Color Quality from 32 to 16 bit
  3. Click Apply, change it back to 32 bit, and then restart your computer.

Method 5: Using the Registry

Proceed with this step only if you’ve tried the earlier methods or you’re conversant with the Windows registry.

  1. Press the Windows + R, type ‘regedit’ to open the registry editor, and then hit Enter.
  2. Navigate to the following registry key
  3. Under this key, locate the Config entry, right-click on delete it. Don’t panic if you didn’t see this entry, it’s perfectly fine.
  4. Restart your computer. The config entry will automatically be reconstructed during a reboot.

If you don’t see Config, ignore this method because it is for those who have their settings customized manually or by a third party program.

Method 6: Forcefully Restarting Explorer.exe and Changing Registry

If none of the above methods work, as a last resort, we can try deleting some registry keys and force restarting Explorer.exe from the command prompt.

  1. Press Windows + R, type ‘command’ in the dialogue box, right-click on the result and select ‘Run as administrator‘.
  2. Now, execute the following commands one by one:
    REG DELETE "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer" /V HideSCANetwork /F
    REG DELETE "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer" /V HideSCANetwork /F
    taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
    start explorer.exe
  3. Now try accessing the network icon and see if the issue is resolved.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.