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9 Solutions To Fix Duplicate Icons On Windows Taskbar

Many people like the enhanced taskbar that Microsoft added to Windows 7. It allows you to pin apps to the taskbar and launch them with a single click.

This was more convenient than doing the action via the start menu or desktop shortcuts.

duplicate icons on windows taskbar

Duplicate icons on windows taskbar are a problem that you may encounter from time to time.

When you start an application pinned to the toolbar, it should highlight it by changing the icon. It should not spawn another icon on the same taskbar.

What Causes Duplicate Icons On Windows Taskbar?

The first reason is that it has to do with the software that is not utilizing certain Windows features (or APIs). Windows believes it to be two separate applications since this can be the case. 

To use this new function, you must wait until VMware Player releases an update to its software.

The next reason is that you’ve pinned the program shortcut rather than the actual program.

You must unpin the shortcut if this is the situation. Consequently, you will see a duplicate icon in the taskbar when you launch the application.

This is because Windows thinks there are now two separate instances of the software running.

The next reason is that the taskbar feature is incompatible with some software. Even though you may pin any executable to the taskbar, some might not work with the taskbar functionality.

It causes a new program icon to appear each time the application is run.

This problem cannot be fixed. Software may have its bug repaired in a later version if it receives frequent updates. Let’s look at how to remove the duplicate app icons’ from your taskbar in more depth now.

How To Fix Duplicate Icons On Windows Taskbar?

  1. Managing all pinned programs
  2. Update the App
  3. Reveal Hidden Shortcuts
  4. Run in Compatibility Mode
  5. Java Apps
  6. Combine Taskbar Buttons
  7. Delete from Start Menu
  8. Clear Tile Cache
  9. Create A New User Account

1. Managing all pinned programs

One of the easier fixes for duplicate icons on the windows taskbar is to pin the app to your taskbar. I’ll be using google chrome as an example for the solution.

  • Windows saves all pinned icons, the taskbar, and the start menu in a single file. Open Windows Explorer and load the following path (File Explorer):
    • %AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar
Managing all pinned programs
  • Open Chrome and add a taskbar icon to it. By doing this, you will also be able to resolve the Chrome taskbar icon issue.
Open Chrome and add a taskbar icon to it

The next step is to unpin the second Google Chrome.

  • To resolve the Google Chrome taskbar duplication issue, launch Google Chrome.
  • Then right-click the inactive icon.
  • Unpin from the taskbar.
unpin the second Google Chrome
  • Pin the other icon to the taskbar by right-clicking it.

The last step is to create a Google Chrome shortcut.

create a Google Chrome shortcut
  • Move Google Chrome onto your desktop.
  • To open Chrome, double-click the shortcut on your desktop.
  • Pin the Chrome icon to the taskbar by right-clicking it.
Pin the Chrome icon to the taskbar by right-clicking it.

2. Update the App

If there is only one app for which you see a duplicate icon, there is a problem with that particular app. Open the file if you got it from the Windows Store to see whether there is an update. 

  • Check the official website to see if there has been an update. The majority of apps also come with a built-in updating function.
  • Remove the duplicate icon and check to see whether it returns. If it does, try uninstalling and reinstalling the application.

3. Reveal Hidden Shortcuts

Pinning the shortcut rather than the program or application itself might result in duplicate icons on windows taskbar problems. These indicators can occasionally be obscured from plain view.

  • Right-click on Quick access in File Explorer and then choose Options.
Hidden Shortcuts

To reveal all hidden shortcuts on the desktop and elsewhere, select Show Hidden Files, Folders, and Drives from the View menu and click Save.

To reveal all hidden shortcuts on the desktop and elsewhere
  • Repeat the step above after removing any duplicate icons.
  • Remember to hide once more, otherwise, you run the danger of erasing system data.

4. Run in Compatibility Mode

There may be incompatibility if you use a program that was created for Windows 10’s previous editions. Because of this, Windows believes that the program is a separate one each time you start it.

In order to fix this, follow these steps:

  • Remove every icon from the Start Menu, Taskbar, and desktop. 
  • Select Properties with a right-click on the application. Consider the Chrome browser as an example.
Run in Compatibility Mode
  • Check the compatibility box under the tab. Operate this program in compatibility mode while selecting a different Windows edition. 
Check the compatibility box under the tab.
  • Your choice of version will depend on the app you intend to use. 
  • When finished, don’t forget to click Apply and then Ok. 
  • Now check to see whether the duplicate icon problem still occurs by creating a new shortcut or pinning it to the Start menu or Taskbar.

5. Java Apps

Java Apps

If you use a Java program, you may have already run across this problem. This is so that Windows may launch a Java-based software as Javaw.exe, which stands for Java for Windows. 

Because of this, Windows will perceive it as a different program and will duplicate or create a new icon for it.

  • Consider that you are using the Java application X. 
  • Go to the directory where Java was installed and give the Javaw.exe file the name X.exe. 
  • Make a shortcut to that file and specify the following in the parameter: “C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\bin\Eclipse.exe” -Xmx512m -jar “[Eclipse’s Path]\Eclipse.jar”.
  • Choose Change Icon from the context menu of the shortcut you just made and stored on your desktop.
  • Then choose the X app icon. 
  • The icon will no longer duplicate in the Taskbar or Start menu when you launch the app.

6. Combine Taskbar Buttons

You’ll notice a variety of icons. For eg, in a browser program, you see two icons when you launch two distinct windows rather than selecting tabs. You can request that Windows 10 group related icons together.

  • Choose Taskbar Settings by right-clicking the taskbar. 
Combine Taskbar Buttons
  • Under Combine Taskbar Buttons, use the ‘Always hide labels’ checkbox. 
use the ‘Always hide labels’ checkbox. 
  • That will group related icons without making extra shortcuts.

7. Delete from Start Menu

If you find duplicate program or software icons in the Start Menu, consider deleting them by right-clicking on them. 

If it doesn’t work, go to the folder structure below and erase the icons from there: C:\Users\yourusername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

As mentioned in the point above, you may need to unhide hidden folders. Delete the duplicate icon names and reboot to see if you still have multiple icons in the Start Menu.

8. Clear Tile Cache

The next solution to fix duplicate icons on the windows taskbar is to clear the title cache.

We’ll execute a batch command to erase the tile cache, which might be causing duplicate icons on the Start Menu. Copy and paste the following command into Notepad. 

  • Save it as All files (.) and name it ‘ClearTileCache.bat’ without any quotation marks.
  • Now run the command:
    • @echo off
    • taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
    • taskkill /f /im shellexperiencehost.exe
    • timeout /t 3 /NOBREAK > nul
    • del %localappdata%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\TempState\* /q
    • timeout /t 2 /NOBREAK > nul
    • start explorer
    • @echo on
  • Now, double-click the file to execute it and wait for it to finish. If prompted, restart your computer.

9. Create A New User Account

Set up a new user account, either a local guest user or an administrator, and check to see whether you still see multiple icons. If not, remove the old user after granting the new user the appropriate rights. 

You must always have one active Administrator account or you will be locked out.

  • Open Settings and choose Family & other users to create a new user account.
Create New User Account
  • Select Add another user to this PC and follow the on-screen prompts to set up a new account. 
Select Add another user to this PC
  • You can create a new email ID or one without an ID or number.

Conclusion

Depending on where in Windows 10 you are seeing duplicate icons (Start menu, Taskbar, desktop), one or more of the above fixes ought to have been successful.

The mistake is often safe, but if you have malware or a virus on the computer, it might be serious. A malware scanner or antivirus can be useful in that situation.