For all its hiccups, Windows 10 is a pretty decent operating system. In our opinion, it’s leagues ahead of Windows 8 and Vista, though not quite as high up in the power rankings as the all round excellent Windows 7 and the famously reliable XP. While modern, stylish and largely convenient, it’s those aforementioned hiccups that stop me from being completely infatuated with Microsoft’s latest operating system.
One of those recurring issues is the mystery of the Windows 10 taskbar not working. It’s an utterly nonsensical issue that stops users accessing the Start menu and renders the search bar unuseable. Not exactly what you want, especially when you’re just trying to open a program that you haven’t set a desktop shortcut for. If this is an issue that’s been doing your nut in since Windows 10 launched last year, we have some tips to help you out.
Restart your system
It might seem obvious, but the first thing to try is restarting your computer or laptop. If you’re Windows 10 taskbar isn’t working, to restart your system, you’ll have to press ‘CTRL + ALT + DELETE’ on your keyboard. In the next screen click the power button in the bottom right hand corner and choose ‘restart’. Restarting your PC may be a bit time consuming, especially if there are a lot of files on your system, but it’s the first you need to try.
Uninstall your Windows apps
This sounds drastic, but in actuality it doesn’t harm your machine in the slightest, removes apps that are still experiencing a multitude of issues, and takes mere moments to do. To start, open your Command Prompt program, and copy/paste the following line of code:
Get-AppxPackage | Remove-AppxPackage
Get-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online | Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -online
Hit Enter and restart your system. Upon logging back in, your Windows apps will have been removed and your taskbar looking less cluttered. It will also be much less likely to show you up in the middle of a press conference. Now, if you do want to get your Windows apps back, you can redownload the Windows Store using Windows PowerShell. Check out this handy guide to get it back in no time.
As I’ve mentioned, this is not as rash a method to restoring your taskbar as it seems; those Windows apps include Mail, Edge (their rebranded Internet Explorer), OneNote and Sway, all of which are non-essential. Mail is naturally Outlook, which can be accessed in any browser, Edge is (in our opinion) a slightly less rubbish version of Internet Explorer and still inferior to Chrome, Opera and Firefox. OneNote is actually quite nice and is basically a more developed version of Notepad...you get the idea.
Check your system for corrupted files
One reason your taskbar could be on the blink lies in its necessary files being corrupted. Now don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your machine is riddled with viruses; files can be corrupted for a number of reasons. If there are too many processes running on your machine, each individual process becomes slower to load. As your computer struggles to prioritise processes, the chances of files not loading properly increases, thus leading to corrupt files. Think of it like a traffic jam.
In any case, it’s possible to search for and repair any corrupted files quite easily. It will require diving back into Windows PowerShell. PowerShell is much like the Command Prompt window we've grown accustomed to, but aimed primarily at programmers, developers and the like.
Assuming your taskbar isn’t working, hit Ctrl+Alt+Del on your keyboard. Click "Task Manager" on the screen that appears. On the Task Manager pop-up, click on File in the top left, and hit Run new task. In the prompt that appears, type “powershell” into the text box.
When PowerShell loads up, type in “sfc /scannow” and Windows will scan your system for any corrupted files. This could take a while so hang in there! If you’re returned a message along the lines of “Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and repaired them” then you’re golden.
As great as Windows 10 is, we can’t stress how much it often, well, stresses us! As an operating system still technically in its infancy, we can expect silly bugs and issues like this to be a part of many users’ experience. For the most part, Windows 10 is smooth sailing and the development team have done a cracking job ironing out the issues. But if you’re a relatively new adopter of Windows 10, do expect a few bumps in the road along the way.