Unresponsive taskbar


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Hello,

Recently I have run into an issue with the windows taskbar. After some time it becomes unresponsive, normally when I'd hover over the pinned programs on the taskbar it would highlight them and clicking on them would launch the program. Right now it does not highlight them when hovering nor opens the programs when clicked. Same with windows menu button. Only with pressing the windows logo on the keyboard opens the menu but again clicking does not do anything only using my keyboard appears to work. It can't be a mouse issue since it does not even highlight the buttons when hovering over. I can't shut down or anything. The only way I was first able to get around it was pressing the windows logo on the keyboard typing "logoff" and pressing enter. Now I found out that pressing "crtl+alt+del" and signing out and then back in makes the taskbar work again, but after some time it freezes up. The same thing is with programs when the taskbar freezes the 3 buttons on the left upper corner become unresponsive too, that means I can't minimize windows nor resize nor close them.

First I thought it was some kind of update issue so I updated from version 1903 to version 1909, the issue wasn't fixed so I thought it might be a virus so I ran 3 different antiviruses, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes and Hitman Pro. They were of no help. Then I ran a scan with the cmd to see if there are any corrupted files, it did not find any corrupted files on the system. I also looked into youtube which suggested me to run a PowerShell command which I did but it didn't fix the issue. Lastly, I thought it might be a drivers issue so I update all my drivers it seemed to fix it completely but on the next day, it became unresponsive again.

I hope someone is able to help me with this problem.
 
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Regedit32

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Hi and Welcome to the Forum OkayMan.

There are two processes associated with the Start Menu and Taskbar which need to be running I a healthy state to allow the User to interact with full functionality:
  1. ShellExperienceHost.exe
  2. SearchUI.exe
Based on your post you may have already opened an Administrator: Command Prompt and run the System File check ( sfc /scannow ).

You also mentioned you ran a PowerShell command, but did not state what command precisely.

If your issue is being caused because of an issue with the above two processes, then their are two specific PowerShell commands you can run, that would potentially resolve this issue. Try the following, and let us know how you go:
  • Press your Windows key once to give focus to the Cortana search field
  • Now type PowerShell then press Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys together
  • You should see a User Account Control prompt. Click yes to allow an Administrator: Windows PowerShell window to open.
  • At the prompt ( inside the Administrator: PowerShell window ) type or copy & paste the following command:

    Code:
    Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost | foreach {Add-AppxPackage -register "$($_.InstallLocation)\appxmanifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode}
    Press Enter key to execute, then type or copy & paste the following command:

    Code:
    Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | foreach {Add-AppxPackage -register "$($_.InstallLocation)\appxmanifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode}
    Press Enter key to execute.

  • When done, type exit and press Enter key to close the Administrator: Windows PowerShell window.
  • Close any open programs, and restart computer

The above two commands, effectively reinstall ShellExperience.exe and Cortana's SearchUI.exe processes. Thus, if it was one, or both of theses processes causing your issue, then that ought to be resolved after restarting computer.

Let us know, how you get along, and also, can you confirm a couple of things too please:
  1. How many User accounts are on the computer experiencing this issue?
  2. If, you have more than one User account set up on this computer, do the other accounts experience the same issue?
  3. Have you at any time, attempted to run a non-native ( i.e. third party ) application to modify the Windows Shell, to make your Start menu or Desktop appear as if it were a Windows XP, or Windows 7 style.

Regards,

Regedit32
 
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You could also try the basic, but full, repair of the system files.
In the Power shell, copy and paste
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
 
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Hi and Welcome to the Forum OkayMan.

There are two processes associated with the Start Menu and Taskbar which need to be running I a healthy state to allow the User to interact with full functionality:
  1. ShellExperienceHost.exe
  2. SearchUI.exe
Based on your post you may have already opened an Administrator: Command Prompt and run the System File check ( sfc /scannow ).

You also mentioned you ran a PowerShell command, but did not state what command precisely.

If your issue is being caused because of an issue with the above two processes, then their are two specific PowerShell commands you can run, that would potentially resolve this issue. Try the following, and let us know how you go:
  • Press your Windows key once to give focus to the Cortana search field
  • Now type PowerShell then press Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys together
  • You should see a User Account Control prompt. Click yes to allow an Administrator: Windows PowerShell window to open.
  • At the prompt ( inside the Administrator: PowerShell window ) type or copy & paste the following command:

    Code:
    Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost | foreach {Add-AppxPackage -register "$($_.InstallLocation)\appxmanifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode}
    Press Enter key to execute, then type or copy & paste the following command:

    Code:
    Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | foreach {Add-AppxPackage -register "$($_.InstallLocation)\appxmanifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode}
    Press Enter key to execute.

  • When done, type exit and press Enter key to close the Administrator: Windows PowerShell window.
  • Close any open programs, and restart computer

The above two commands, effectively reinstall ShellExperience.exe and Cortana's SearchUI.exe processes. Thus, if it was one, or both of theses processes causing your issue, then that ought to be resolved after restarting computer.

Let us know, how you get along, and also, can you confirm a couple of things too please:
  1. How many User accounts are on the computer experiencing this issue?
  2. If, you have more than one User account set up on this computer, do the other accounts experience the same issue?
  3. Have you at any time, attempted to run a non-native ( i.e. third party ) application to modify the Windows Shell, to make your Start menu or Desktop appear as if it were a Windows XP, or Windows 7 style.

Regards,

Regedit32
I tried executing these commands in the PowerShell, after a successful restart the issue wasn't solved.

1. There are 2 users, one is the main account which I'm using and the second is a standard account.
2. Yes, the issue began when I noticed the second account had non-functional taskbar so both account are affected. Also, I'd have to note that the second account is made for a kid and thus has limitations set with the user policy set for them only that means that for example I can open a command prompt but the standard account can't.
3. No, I have not.

The PowerShell command I'd have run beforehand was "Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}"

Also, I'd have to note that I learned if I press "crtl+alt+delete" click anywhere on the background which makes the buttons working again and press cancel then the taskbar functions again.
 
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Regedit32

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There are 2 users, one is the main account which I'm using and the second is a standard account.
2. Yes, the issue began when I noticed the second account had non-functional taskbar so both account are affected.
That is helpful information as it suggests a global issue, as opposed to local issue (i.e. a single account being perhaps corrupted).

Issues with the Start menu have existed pretty much from the beginning of Windows 10, and in recent times Microsoft created two processes, one for the Start menu specifically, to help them isolate the ongoing causation of Start menu failures.

In your case though, its not just the Start menu, but also the Taskbar ( and while you did not mention it, I assume your System Tray [ right end of Taskbar ] is also affected. )

In the past, when I had issues with the Start menu, I found that doing an in-place upgrade seem to get it working again. An in-place upgrade, is when you download the ISO that matches your current Windows 10 edition and build ( you said you were on Version 1909 ), then install it over the top of your current installation. You an choose to keep files and settings, or if you prefer, you could do a clean install, meaning you'd have to re-install any third party applications you may have on your computer.

Note: While taking this action may resolve your issue for now, its not necessarily going to be a permanent cure, as whatever is triggering the issue may arise again. You mentioned the Ctrl + Alt + Del option is a temporary resolution, but you may also find that while on Desktop pressing F5 key to refresh Desktop will achieve the same temporary result. Also, if you can get into Task Manager, then left-clicking on Windows Explorer, and clicking the Restart button will also likely get the Taskbar working again.

When you click on Start, scroll to the F section and consider using the Feedback app to report your situation. The more people who raise these kinds of issues, the higher the priority it gets from Microsoft to find solutions.
 
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I had this same issue between 18 months and two years ago, but not recently (knock on wood). It could not be a recent update that caused it. Restarting my computer was the only thing that helped. There is only one account on either of my computers.
 

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