Auto-hiding the taskbar is a great way to add extra space to your desktop and make it look spacious. Occasionally, it can be stubborn and refuse to hide when it is supposed to. When you are using the auto-hide feature of Windows taskbar, it will stay hidden until an application prompts you. The applications will flash whenever an event occurs.
In case of background icons, there are two cases which forces your taskbar to stay visible. The first is when you have a badge on an icon (for example a cross on Windows Defender icon to show that there was a problem updating definitions. The second when an actual dialogue box pops up which needs to be read. For simple scenarios, the solutions is very simple: just attend to the applications or close the dialogue box. This will cause the taskbar to hide again.
In some cases, this doesn’t happen and the taskbar stays visible. Here are some of the workarounds which work.
Solution 1: Verify that Auto-Hide Taskbar is Enabled
First things first, we need to verify that the auto-hide feature is indeed enabled from your settings. The taskbar will always stay visible if this option isn’t enabled.
- Right-click on the taskbar and select “Taskbar Settings”.
- Make sure that the two options are enabled (“Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode” and “Automatically hide the taskbar in tablet mode”).
If you are experiencing a problem, just turn it off and then back on. If it was a minor bug, it will fix automatically using this way. If it doesn’t get fixed, proceed with the following solution.
Solution 2: Restarting Windows Explorer
Another workaround which worked for many people was restarting the Windows Explorer. For a moment after restarting, the taskbar will disappear for a couple of seconds after which it will come back online.
- Press Windows + R to launch the Run application. Type “taskmgr” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
- Once in the task manager, navigate to the “Processes” tab and look for the entry “Windows Explorer”. Click on it and select “Restart”.
Wait for a few moments before Windows Explorer restarts itself and start populating all the items on your screen again.
Solution 3: Checking Hidden icons which need your Attention
In some cases, the applications which require your attention are present in the hidden icons section of your taskbar. As we explained earlier, taskbar can also fail to hide if there are some applications which need your attention. Click on the “arrow” present on the taskbar to expand all the hidden applications.
Now check if all the applications are attended to and there are none present with a small red cross or exclamation mark over them. If there are, attend to them or shut their process if attending to them isn’t helping.
Note: If some applications are prompting you again and again. You should close them or navigate to their preferences and disable their notifications. This way they won’t be able to notify you and the taskbar will always remain hidden from sight.
Solution 4: Using the Search Bar to Refresh
Another small workaround which worked for the majority of the users was using the Cortana’s search box once and then closing it again. Reason being that whenever you access the search bar, the whole search bar pops up and when you close it the taskbar refreshes and the countdown begins after which it should auto-hide itself.
Press the search box (or button) and type anything in it. After you have typed, click anywhere on your Desktop. Hopefully in a matter of seconds, the taskbar should auto hide itself.