Occasionally the clock in the notification area of the taskbar stops working. If I hover over it I can see the analog clock view is correct but the digital readout is frozen. Today I tried to hide the clock and then re-show it but that seems to have made things worse. The icons in the rest of the task bar are shifted over and clicking on them doesn't seem to bring the correct window to focus. I have a Lenovo ThinkPad with some wireless connection and system update software installed that takes over some of the taskbar which may contribute to these problems.
If I log out of Windows or restart my machine, everything seems to be fine for awhile. However that means I need to close down everything I am working on, restart, etc.
Is there a way to restart the taskbar without exiting Windows? I know Windows does this occasionally when the taskbar stops responding but is there a way that I can force it to happen?
A quick and dirty way to restart the taskbar is to simply kill and restart the explorer process.
Ctrl+Shift+Esc go to the processes tab and look for explorer.exe. End the process, and select File > New Task (Run...).
Enter explorer.exe into the field (specifically the filename "explorer.exe", you do not need to enter the full path and it may not work properly if you do), accept, and your taskbar will re-appear.
Try restarting explorer.exe in any event of crashing of your desktop appearance. Kill explorer.exe from your task manager (assuming you are able to access it). Then start it again (new task option in task manager).
By this way you don't need to restart the PC.