How to Troubleshoot System Icons Missing on the Windows 7 Taskbar

Every version of Windows has a taskbar, and every taskbar has a notification area that displays icons for running programs, as well as system icons, and all the notifications they generate. The various system icons in the taskbar notification area include volume, power, network, and action center icons, each of which serves as a shortcut to access various settings. For this reason, the system icons in the system tray are extremely important for everyday computer use by the average user.

However, these system icons – especially the volume and network icons – tend to disappear from their place in the system tray/notification area. This small trend is becoming an extremely annoying and serious problem that was first reported to Windows users around the world in the days of Windows Vista. The successor to Windows Vista, Windows 7, and subsequent versions of the Windows operating system has also been affected by this problem.

Users suffering from this problem are sometimes temporarily relieved when they restart their computer and find that the missing system icons are back in place, but this relief is usually temporary, as after a while one or more system icons disappear again. Fortunately, this problem can be eliminated in a way that is not annoying. Here are some of the most effective solutions to this problem:

What is the cause of missing system icons on the Windows 7 taskbar?

The cause of this problem does not seem to be known, as different groups of experts have different opinions about it. But the problem seems to be caused by corrupt registry entries of IconStreams and PastIconsStream keys, which seem to conflict with Windows and make the system icon disappear from the taskbar.

So, without wasting any time, let’s see how to fix missing system icons on the Windows 7 taskbar using the guide below.

How to fix missing system icons on the Windows 7 taskbar?

Restart Explorer.exe

  1. Press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC.
  2. In Task Manager, on the Processes tab, click the explorer.exe process, then double-click End Process.
  3. On the File menu, click New Task (Run), type explorer, then click OK.
  4. Exit the Task Manager.

Restoring missing system icons using the registry editor

  1. In the details pane, click the IconStreams registry entry.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Delete, then click Yes.
  3. In the details pane, click the PastIconsStream registry entry.
  4. On the Edit menu, choose Delete, and then click Yes.
  5. Exit the registry editor.

Make sure that the icon setting is set to ON

  1. Open the Taskbar and Start Menu control panel.
  2. On the Taskbar tab, in the Notification Area section, click the Configure button.
  3. In the “Notification area” window, find the “Enable or disable system icons” link.
  4. Click the link and make sure that the icons you selected are enabled.

Frequently Asked Questions

Open the Applications tab and click the New Task button in the bottom right corner of the window. In the message window that appears, type explorer.exe and click OK. Explorer.exe will restart and the missing icons should reappear in the system tray where they belong.

  1. Hold down or right-click an empty space on the taskbar, click or click Settings, then go to the Notification area.
  2. Under Notification area: select the icons you want to display on the taskbar. Select specific icons that you do not want to display on the taskbar.

  1. Turn off tablet mode.
  2. Restart Windows Explorer.
  3. Clear the application icons cache.
  4. Delete temporary files.
  5. Reinstall the taskbar applications.
  6. Run an SFC command.
  7. Restore a system image.
  8. Use system restore or create a new user account.

  1. Go to Settings (keyboard shortcut: Windows key + i).
  2. Go to personalization.
  3. Go to the taskbar.
  4. Go to the notification panel and select Enable or Disable system icons.