On windows 11, sometimes after a reboot when I plug in my second monitor to my laptop the icons go missing on the second screen.

Below are screenshots from the two screens, the first image is the main monitor and the second image from the second monitor.

main screen icons secondary screen icons

If I kill windows explorer.exe and restart it through task manager the icons appear correctly as long as the monitor is still plugged in. If I restart the explorer.exe process while the monitor is unplugged OR I set windows to "PC screen only" the icons will not appear when I plug the monitor back in or if I change the display settings to extend my screen.

Does anyone know how to fix this without having to restart the explorer process?

2 Answers 2


Here is the solution which worked for me:

  1. While connected on 2nd screen Right click on taskbar on the 2nd screen and then Got Taskbar settings-> Check the Auto hide taskbar settings.

    enter image description here

  2. Now disable the auto hide settings by unchecking it.

  3. Disconnect your HDMI and reconnect.

  • Amazing! It seems to have worked, I'll report back if the bug reappears! Jan 24, 2022 at 8:45
  • did not work for me on fully updated W11
    – Radek
    Oct 7, 2022 at 9:51

Microsoft seems to have addressed the bug in release KB5008353: https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/topic/january-25-2022-kb5008353-os-build-22000-469-preview-920e6297-567b-4b95-afe9-35d17de02c3a

  • Updates an issue that might prevent icons from appearing on the taskbar of a secondary display.

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