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after i start/restart my Win8.1 laptop with an external monitor on HDMI, the taskbar is on both monitors. The only difference is that on the laptop display, the notification area, a.k.a. "the tray" is also present.

randomly, the taskbar will disappear from the laptop's screen while remaining on the external display ... to get the laptop's taskbar back, i shut down and restart.

is there a way to do this without rebooting?

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The following should fix it without a reboot, however I don't think it will fix the root cause. Could use more details for that.

Start>run>explorer.exe

Or

Ctrl+shift+esc>file >new task>explorer.exe
  • What are your output settings? Mirrored displays, extended desktop, etc. – Snow Mar 31 '15 at 0:22
  • Snow, interesting idea ... however, usually when Explorer crashes, there is a message to that effect (at least in previous Windows versions) ... the next time this happens, i'll try your fix and report back. That may be a while because this event is random. BTW, i extend my desktop. thnx – gerryLowry Mar 31 '15 at 1:43
  • I usually kill explorer.exe and then relaunch, might be why I don't see any error messages in 8.1. From what I understand then, you have your main desktop and the extended one, and the "main" magically turns into an extended type display without your hdmi taking over as the main? (If so I'm not sure explorer has anything to do with it anymore)... – Snow Mar 31 '15 at 1:54

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