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.