Taskbar showing in fullscreen? Here's how to fix it

The taskbar overlaying on top of games or web browsers. This bug has existed for a long time. This guide explains how to fix taskbar showing in fullscreen.

The taskbar overlaying on top of games, YouTube videos, and web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox is a common issue in Windows. This bug has existed for a long time, dating back to Windows 7.

Your taskbar is the strip going across the bottom of the screen by default. It holds important features such as the Windows menu, the system clock, your volume manager, and network settings. It also shows which applications are currently open and running.

The taskbar should hide when you’re watching a video, running a game, opening a document, or a website in fullscreen.

It can be irritating and distracting to have it showing while you’re trying to pay attention to something. Often it can block out important elements too, as it overlays on top of the video, game, or other documents you’re trying to view in fullscreen.

How to fix task bar showing in full screen

By following our guide, you can stop this from happening. The troubleshooting is easy, even if you never tried to solve any computer issues before.

Taskbar visible in fullscreen? Quick Fixes

People have reported some quick fixes for the taskbar showing in fullscreen.

  1. While the taskbar is showing in fullscreen, right-click on a taskbar icon (application, network status, volume, etc.) then click back into the video, game, or web browser you’re viewing.
    In some cases, mostly for games, this is able to fix the problem.
  2. On Windows 7, you can also attempt to force-hide the taskbar.

    This can be done by exiting fullscreen, then clicking on the show desktop button in the taskbar twice. By doing so, you will minimize then maximize all windows. Try entering fullscreen again to check if the issue is solved.

If you're using Windows 10, this quick trick should work for you:

  1. From your keyboard, use the keys Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open the task manager.
  2. On the "Processes" tab, scroll down to "Windows Explorer" and highlight it.
  3. Click the "Restart" button in the bottom right corner of the task manager.

If the quick fixes didn't work for you, then continue reading the below guide to know why the taskbar is showing in full screen and how to fix it.


Windows Explorer

To most users, it seems like Windows Explorer is a part of the Windows operating system itself. This isn’t the case though, as it’s an application that runs on its own within the system.

Whenever you open your files to access the contents of your hard drive, you’re using Windows Explorer. In short, it’s the graphical interface for your files.

GUI for files

The taskbar is essentially an extension of Windows Explorer.

Often, when you update Windows, the explorer might freeze, stall, and cause various issues. This leads to a bug causing your taskbar not to hide in full screen even while gaming, watching YouTube videos, or browsing the internet.

Restart Windows Explorer

Restarting Windows explorer resets the app and can fix taskbar-related problems.

How to restart Windows Explorer in Windows 10

  1. Launch the Task Manager in one of two ways:
    1. Right-click on your taskbar and choose Task Manager.
    2. Hit the Ctrl, Alt, and Del keys on your keyboard at the same time, then select Task Manager from the Security Options screen.
  2. You should be able to see all the running apps and processes on your computer. Hit the More Details button if your Task Manager started in the compact view mode.
    how to start a task manager
  3. Find Windows Explorer from the Applications list and select it by clicking on it.
    start task manager
  4. Restart the Windows Explorer by one of two ways:
    1. Click on the Restart button in the bottom right of the window.
      task manager rest button
    2. Right-click on the Windows Explorer process and choose Restart.
      windows explorer process

After following these steps, your taskbar and Windows Explorer windows will disappear for a few seconds. This is because the system is resetting the app by shutting it down and opening it again.

How to Restart Windows Explorer on Windows 7

The process of restarting the Task Manager in Windows 7 requires a few extra steps. 

  1. Launch the Task Manager in one of two ways:
    1. Right-click on your taskbar and choose Start Task Manager.
    2. Hit the Ctrl, Alt, and Del keys on your keyboard at the same time.
  2. Switch to the Processes tab.
  3. Find explorer.exe from the list and right-click on it.
  4. Choose End process.
  5. Click End process again to confirm. Your taskbar and desktop icons will temporarily disappear, but you must keep the Task Manager open.
  6. Click on File, then New Task (Run…).
  7. Type explorer.exe in the field and click OK.

You can repeat these processes whenever necessary. Restarting the Windows Explorer causes no damage in your system and can fix many issues related to your taskbar on any version of Windows.

After restarting the Windows Explorer, check if your fullscreen problems with the taskbar are solved or not. If the taskbar is still not hiding when in fullscreen, read on and try a different approach.

Taskbar Settings and auto-hide

Windows is without a doubt one of the most complex operating systems for computers. This means that you’re able to customize many settings in it.

Sometimes these settings can become messed up. If your taskbar is behaving weirdly, it’s recommended to review your settings.

You can make visual changes to your taskbar. This means you can make it appear on other parts of your screen or change its color and size.

Additionally, more technical settings can be changed from the same window. The possibility of accidental changes to how your taskbar behaves is high.

Both in Windows 7 and Windows 10, you can turn on an option called AutoHide. This automatically hides your taskbar when appropriate.

Do you want to know how to tweak taskbar settings and turn AutoHide on?

Follow the steps below depending on your operating system.

How to Auto-Hide taskbar on Windows 10

  1. Open the Settings app in one of two ways:
    1. Click on the Windows logo in the bottom left of your screen and choose Settings, indicated with a gear icon.
      windows settings app
    2. Press down the Windows and I keys on your keyboard at the same time.

    2. Click on the Personalization button.

    3. From the menu on the left side of the window, click on the Taskbar.

In Windows 10, there are two settings that can auto-hide your taskbar. These settings are called “Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode” and “Automatically hide the taskbar in tablet mode.”

Try turning both of these features by clicking on the slider. Generally, this is able to fix any issues related to the taskbar in Windows 10 not hiding when you enter fullscreen mode.

If needed, you can tweak any other taskbar-related settings in this tab. If the issue persists or happens again in the future, try coming back to these settings and see if they’re still intact.

How to Auto-hide taskbar on Windows 7

Follow the steps below to open the taskbar settings in Windows 7.

  1. Right-click on an empty space in the taskbar.
  2. Click on Properties.
  3. Select the Taskbar tab.

You can find “Auto-hide the taskbar” under Taskbar appearance. By default, it’s not turned on in Windows 7.

You can turn it on by clicking on the empty box next to it. Once the checkmark appears, click on Apply, then close the window.

If needed, you can tweak any other taskbar-related settings in this tab. If the issue persists or happens again in the future, try coming back to these settings and see if they’re still the way you left them.

What to do if auto-hide doesn't work?

If your taskbar doesn't hide even with the auto-hide feature turned on, it's most likely an application's fault. The taskbar will stay visible if a program or service that's running on your computer "notifies" it.

An example is if an app has different icon images for different events. Every time the icon image changes, it sends a notification to your taskbar. If the status of the app changes often, it's causing your taskbar to stay open.

When you’re having issues with fullscreen applications, videos or documents, check your running apps and close them one by one. As you do this, you can find which app is causing the issue.

We hope that these tips helped you fix the taskbar showing in full screen when watching videos, gaming, or using web browsers. If you want to read more helpful guides about Windows and its features, check out our other articles here.

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