Fixing the stupid TaskBar that stops auto-hiding in Windows 10

I hadn’t planned on writing another “how to fix shit in Windows 10” post, but this thing has been annoying me for months. Fucking months.

I always set my Windows taskbar to auto-hide. I like it hidden because it just takes up screen real estate that is better utilized in whatever program has focus. But, my taskbar auto-hides for a while, and then just stops. There isn’t a valid case for it to do this as some other program has focus; nothing is flashing on the taskbar; it just fucking stays there, meaning that I can no longer see things like my source control options in the Visual Studio IDE, or the watches or breakpoints and a whole bunch of other things. Things that I would really fucking like to see, if only the stupid fucking taskbar wasn’t just fucking sitting there. (Windows is smart in that maximized programs can get the visible “workspace” size, which excludes the taskbar if it is always shown, and includes the space taken by the hidden taskbar, because it’s supposed to be, you-know… hidden. So all the programs are behaving as designed… That is Windows is “telling” them the work area includes the taskbar space because it is supposed to be hidden. Except it’s not. There it is – on top of them.) It doesn’t matter what I do… I can click all the programs on it one by one, maximize, minimize, restore, shout at them, beg them, fucking plead, smack my head against my desk, pray… Nothing works. That taskbar just sits there, mocking me as it were… “Nah nah-nah-nah na! Fuck you”.

Long story short… Just kill and restart the explorer process. You can use the built in Task Manager, or write a program to do it, and come to think of it I do have source code for killing and resuming other processes, but the easiest thing to do is use Process Explorer, and just restart explorer.exe from there. Problem solved, at least until the taskbar decides to fuck around again…


This post was brought to you by my frustration.

I have this problem on my home and work machines, although it happens less often on my home machine. I have no idea if the problem is the explorer process itself, or some rogue program that “extends” it. (Probably badly written third party software. It almost always is.) One thing that annoys me about Windows is it allows programs to be registered shell extensions, and that kind of development it not difficult to get wrong, such that you end up with rogue, badly written, misbehaving programs installed and invoked by the Windows shell. It always happens… The longer you have a Windows installation, the more crap programs install themselves into the Windows shell. And it’s not obscure software that’s guilty… Your average programmer who writes applications to be used in the office isn’t going to package his or her software with twenty tray icons that do jack shit and shell extensions that fire every time you hover your mouse cursor over a directory… It’s the popular software that does this. The shit that everybody installs. Otherwise I actually like Windows 10.


About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
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3 Responses to Fixing the stupid TaskBar that stops auto-hiding in Windows 10

  1. Dirk says:

    Thanx . This was super helpfull … friggin Windows is driving me nuts..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John Bury says:

    Doesn’t work for me. In my case it stops working as soon as I start up Word or Powerpoint. As soon as I close them down it starts working again. Tried lots of stuff but that’s how it stays.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jerome says:

      Yes, these new versions of Office suck. Besides that, I’ve found that Skype does it too. I think sometimes it’s a hidden window… an invisible notification window associated with some crapware that’s autoupdating. Then the start menu goes into that state to show you that the invisible window has focus (which of course is impossible) and then it won’t go away.

      Sometimes killing the explorer process works; sometimes it doesn’t. My volume control sometimes disappears from the tray and doesn’t come back until I restart explorer.exe two or three times. It’s fucking annoying.


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