Fix Windows 10 Taskbar Icons Missing [Blank Square]

Otherday, while I was busy working on my Windows 10 PC, all of sudden pinned applications icons disappeared from the taskbar. For the moment it felt like the display issue, and I thought refreshing desktop would fix it, but as you can guess it, that didn’t happen. I had to mess around a lot before I got the fix for missing taskbar icons on Windows 10, and that’s what this guide is all about.

The typical issue is, on Windows 10 taskbar you will see blank black squares instead of applications icons. You can still launch the applications by clicking on these blank squares but you can not see what application you are launching as the icons are missing.

Note: Check out our fix for Windows 10 Start Menu Missing Icons.

Please keep in mind this guide is about missing icons on taskbar and not the missing taskbar which is also another issue faced by many Windows 10 users. Although, our issue got fixed easily but, that may not be the case for you, hence we have covered all possible fixes that you can try to get back the taskbar icons.

Missing Taskbar Icons on Windows 10, How to Fix it?

Clearing Icon Cache files & Rebuilding

Relaunching Windows 10 Taskbar

Restarting Explorer.exe

Running SFC (System File Checker)

Microsoft App Troubleshooter

Solution 1 – Clearing Icon Cache files & Rebuilding

Icons Cache file aka IconCache.db is the simple file used by Windows 10 to store application icons images which in term is populated everywhere including Windows 10 start menu, taskbar and desktop. Often this icon cache file gets corrupted or fails to load and that results in issues like missing icons on taskbar and disappearing start menu icons.

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Thankfully the fix for this is very simple. All you need to do is follow below steps

  1. Download Clear_Icon-Cache.bat file. It is a simple Windows batch script created to run the commands to forcefully clear iconcache.db file on Windows 10.
  2. Now right click on downloaded file and click on Run As Administrator.
  3. Click on Yes when you get the UAC prompt to allow the app to make changes.
  4. Now follow the instructions displayed on the command
  5. At the final step, you will be prompted to restart your system, you may press ‘n’ to skip it.

If icon cache clear works all well, you will instantly see the icons back on your Windows 10 taskbar.

Solution 2 – Relaunching Windows 10 Taskbar

Yes, you can relaunch Windows 10  Taskbar without restarting or rebooting your Windows 10.

  1. Press Win + X keyboard shortcut to launch the quick menu.
  2. Click and run Command Prompt (admin). You may need to enter admin password if you have set one for yourself.
  3. Follow the UAC prompt to allow the app.
  4. Now copy and paste the following command at the command prompt and press enter key.

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

It will take some time for the process to complete the task. You should see the task progress and your system may become unresponsive for some time. Wait for the process to complete. In the end, you will see “The Operation completed successfully” message. That’s it, now reboot your system and let the changes take effect.

Solution 3 – Restarting Explorer.exe

Just like you can relaunch taskbar, similarly, you can also restart Windows 10 explorer, which potential fixes most of the display related glitches and issues, including  Windows10 Taskbar icons.

  1. Right click on the taskbar and launch task manager or you can use the Ctrl+Shift+ESC keyboard shortcut.
  2. Click on More Details to see a list of all the processes owned by the user as well as Windows.
  3. Now locate Windows Explorer usually located in the Windows Processes section of the process list.
  4. Right click on Windows Explorer and click on Restart option.
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Now let the Windows restart explorer.exe which should fix your taskbar missing icons.

Solution 4 – Running SFC (System File Checker) scan

SFC – System Filer Checker is small utility offered by Microsoft to let users scan their system for corruptions related to Windows system file. It not just scans and reports corrupted files but also lets you repair & fix corrupted Windows 10 system files.

  1. Start Command prompt in admin mode via Win + X quick launch
  2. Now type the following command and press enter.

sfc /scannow

  1. SFC scan will now scan your system and report any corrupted files as well as try to repair it with a cached copy of that file stored in a compressed form saved at Windows 10 system32 folder.
  2. Make sure to wait till the verification is 100% complete. You will receive the final message depending on the scan result.

Sometimes sfc scan fails to repair corrupted files, if you receive such message, then you have to manually repair a corrupted file by replacing it with the known good copy of that file.

Solution 5 – Microsoft App Troubleshooter

In our one of our article to fix file system error on Windows 10, we had mentioned about Microsoft App troubleshooter. The same app also helps you to fix missing icons on the taskbar.

  1. Download Microsoft App Troubleshooter from here.
  2. Run that file and click on Next Button.
  3. At this stage, Microsoft App Troubleshooter will scan your system to identify potential errors related to installed apps, will also attempt to fix it.
  4. The final screen of an app troubleshooter will display all the issues and its fixes. The unfixed issues will have to be handled manually.
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Video Guide to Fix Taskbar Missing Icons on Windows 10

Let us know in comments if our fixes helped you to get back taskbar missing icons. If you know of any other solution that worked for you or someone else, then do let us know, we will gladly add it to the above list.

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