Restore Windows Taskbar Auto-hide

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 6, 2008
Updated • Apr 29, 2017
Windows, Windows tips, Windows XP

I have experienced a problem with the auto-hide feature of the Windows Taskbar for the last two weeks or so. Auto-hide would work fine for some time but eventually the Windows Taskbar would just lock up and not auto-hide anymore.

This was sometimes caused by applications that have been started, but the rest of the time by something that I could not figure out no matter how hard I tried to troubleshoot the issue.

For those who do not know, you can configure the taskbar to automatically hide when the mouse is not on it. This can be beneficial since you get some extra space for content on the desktop. If you want to try this right-click a free location on the taskbar and select properties from the menu. Check the auto-hide the taskbar option here and click ok.

auto-hide windows taskbar

Even closing all applications and windows did not make the Windows Taskbar auto-hide anymore.

That's extremely frustrating for a user who has the taskbar on the left side of the screen. I was not able to maximize windows anymore because the taskbar would overshadow part of the window.

After searching around for some time I discovered a script at Kelly's Corner that would restore the Windows Taskbar functionality to the default values.

The Windows Taskbar is reset to its default values when you run the script. The script will also restart explorer.exe automatically so that the changes become visible right away and not only after you log out and on again or restart the PC. Note that the taskbar is moved to its default location again when you run the script since you reset all values, and that you may need to configure it again so that it is displayed the way you want after the reset.

What can I say: The script worked. My Windows Taskbar is auto-hiding again and I did not discover any problems so far with it remaining in the foreground. The script was designed for Windows XP only.

Update: While designed only for Windows XP, the script works fine in newer versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system as well.

Update 2: Kelly's Corner is no longer available. We have uploaded the latest version of the Taskbar script to our own server. You may download it with a click on the following link: (Download Removed)

Restore Windows Taskbar Auto-hide
Article Name
Restore Windows Taskbar Auto-hide
The guide explains how to restore the auto-hide functionality of the Windows Taskbar if it is not working properly anymore.
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  1. Tex said on August 26, 2016 at 6:09 am

    Thanks to: MacGuyver March 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    ” In my case, I ENABLED “show contents” and saw my Taskbar instantly hide. I then disabled “show contents” again and moved on with out losing any work like I would have restarting explorer.exe. ”

    This worked !
    Wonder what crazy glitch caused the “unchecking” problem to begin with ?

  2. Anonymous said on March 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    thanks.. worked on winn 7

  3. MacGuyver said on March 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    There may be a simpler solution.

    As pointed out by Rick “kingGypsy” in the forums, it might be solved by toggling your setting for “Show window contents while dragging”. After struggling with this issue in WinXP Pro x64 for years, I was able to quickly and painlessly fix the auto-hide problem.

    In my case, I ENABLED “show contents” and saw my Taskbar instantly hide. I then disabled “show contents” again and moved on with out losing any work like I would have restarting explorer.exe.

    Rick seems to have gleaned the idea from here:

    Here is the discussion thread I found this in:

    Hope this helps someone else.

  4. Ted said on February 14, 2012 at 2:09 am

    Thanks. Restarting explorer.exe is not enough. Thanks for this reset script — finally something that gets my screen back to normal without rebooting.

    Clearly some program is gooing up winxp’s taskbar by mucking about in the registry (possibly some piece of explorer itself). Only seems to happen when it’s been on for a while. I’ll have to look into the script to see what is truly necessary, and see about putting my settings back to my defaults after it is run.

    Great work on fixing an annoying and distracting problem!

  5. Michael said on June 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Awesome! Great work. And yet more shame on Microsoft for not fixing this themselves. I noticed threads going back almost 4 years.

  6. Anonymous said on May 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks it worked for me

  7. Avi said on March 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks, David! Worked for me on Widnows Server 2003. Was driving me nuts.

  8. miselo said on February 25, 2011 at 5:35 am

    Thanks, your wisdom saved my pc experience, used it on vista..nice..thanks again

  9. Brx said on February 23, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Hey, David’s suggestion of end explorer.exe task in Task Manager and then start it as a new process from the Applications tab worked!

    Note: make sure you the explorer.exe you end is the main UI, not iexplorer.exe which would be internet explorer.

    This was running WinXP Pro 32bit with SP3 and all current updates as of this posting.

  10. Michael said on February 10, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Cheers David, had the same problem with windows 7, fixed it straight away.

  11. Chris said on December 28, 2009 at 4:37 am

    THANK YOU!!!!

  12. Anonymous said on December 13, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    works for win7 as well

  13. Mark said on October 20, 2009 at 3:22 am

    Davis’s fix did not work for me. Instead it killed the taskbar (and the windows sidebar). Am running Vista 64bit SP1 – so David not a 100% fix I’m afraid

  14. Rhaorth said on October 13, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Just wanted to say a big Thank You to David, did what you suggested and fixed the task bar immediatedly!

  15. Alex said on August 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks David!

    You ROCK!

  16. ash said on July 29, 2009 at 3:05 am

    thanks, taskbar faster now too

  17. EmceeW said on May 13, 2009 at 1:36 am

    Just wanted to say Thanks for this. I just started having this problem today and your post helped me find a solution quickly and easily.


  18. Jon said on March 17, 2009 at 1:26 am

    Thanks David, worked like a charm.

  19. Martina said on February 11, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you David, that solved the problem immediately.

  20. David said on January 9, 2009 at 2:28 am

    All you have to do is go into Task Manager, end “explorer” under processes, then go to the applications tab, click new task and write: “explorer” and windows explorer will reset and the taskbar will be fine.

    1. Sophia said on November 4, 2012 at 5:08 am

      Thank you so much it was driving me nuts trying to figure out what to do.

    2. Anonymous said on January 9, 2010 at 3:32 am

      Dave thank you! the task bar was driving me crazy! this was with Windows 7 and it worked perfectly

  21. TaNTal said on November 13, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks, this means the end of my strugle.
    It is good, that people write scripts, instead of that long tutorials, so you just run the script and voila.
    But if you want to se how it is done, you can still open the script in notepad.


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