The Wireless icon aka the Network icon is normally found on the taskbar or the notification panel of the display screen of your PC. Sometimes, due to any reason, the network icon can go missing from the taskbar. This can happen even if your internet connection is working. Several Windows users have reported this problem so don’t worry, you’re not alone.
We have brought you the top methods to help you fix this network icon error. Keep reading to find out!
9 Methods To Show Network Icon on Taskbar in Windows 7, 8 or 10
Method 1: Check The Hidden Panel Of The Taskbar
It is possible that your network icon is hidden and not really missing. Perhaps, you or some other user of your computer or laptop has accidentally dragged the WiFi icon to the hidden bar. You can easily get it back, just follow the steps given below:
Step 1. Expand the hidden panel located in your taskbar. It looks like an upside-down triangle arrow.
Step 2. You’ll find the network icon in the hidden bar.
Step 3. Double-click and hold the icon. Then, drag it back to the system tray.
Note: This will work for both Windows 10 and Windows 7.
If you can’t find the network icon in the hidden bar of the system tray, then move on to the next method.
Method 2: Enabling the Networking Icon to Appear in the Notifications Area
It is also possible that your OS has been reconfigured so that the WiFi icon gets removed from your Taskbar. Given below are the steps you need to follow to enable the Network icon in the taskbar:
For Windows 10:
Step 1. Click the Windows icon and the Start menu will open up.
Step 2. Click the Settings gear icon.
Step 3. Select the System option.
Step 4. Choose Notifications & actions option.
Step 5. Click the Add or remove quick actions option.
Step 6. Find the Network or the Wireless icon and toggle it to ON position
Here’s another way to bring the Network icon back in the taskbar:
Step 1. Press the Windows + I keys together to open the Windows Settings
Step 2. Select the Personalization option
Step 3. Click on Taskbar from the left side menu
Step 4. Navigate to the bottom of the screen and select “Turn system icons on or off” from the Notification area.
Step 5. Ensure that the Network or Wireless is enabled. Now, click on Back and select “Select which icons appear on the taskbar” under the Notification area.
Step 6. Again, make sure that Network or Wireless is turned on.
For Windows 7 or 8.1, you can try out the steps given below:
Step 1. Right-click the Windows icon (Start Menu button) and click on Properties
Step 2. In the Properties dialog box, select the Notification Area tab.
Step 3. From the System Icons area, make sure that the Network checkbox has been selected.
Step 4. Hit the Apply button and then click on OK.
Method 3: Use The Network Adapter Troubleshooter
Step 1. Type in ‘troubleshoot‘ in the search box of the start menu and click on the Enter key.
Step 2. Now, keep scrolling until you find the Network Adapter option.
Step 3. Choose the Run the Troubleshooter option. This will find problems with the Wireless and network adapter configuration and fix them
Step 4. Once completed, the troubleshooting procedure will restart your Windows OS. Now, check if Windows has brought the WiFi icon back on the system tray or not.
Method 4: Restarting the Network Services
Step 1. Press the Windows + R keys and then type “services.msc.” Hit the Enter button.
Step 2. Now, check if the following services on the Windows services console are in a running state or not:
- Network Connections
- Remote Access Connection Manager
- Plug and Play
Step 3. If any service is not running, then right-click on that service and click on Start. After you have started all these services, you need to check if the WiFi icon has come back or not.
Method 5: Restarting Windows Explorer From Task Manager
Step 1. Right-click on the taskbar and then, click on ‘Task Manager.’ Else, you could also open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
Step 2. Now, look for ‘Explorer’ in the ‘Processes’ or ‘Details’ tab.
Step 3. Then, right-click on Windows Explorer and choose the Restart option. If you’re on Windows 7, click on End Process.
Step 4. Select File and click on Create New Task
Step 5. Type in explorer.exe and hit the Enter button
Method 6: Resetting the Icon Cache
Step 1. Right-click anywhere on your desktop and click on Display Settings.
Step 2. Look for Color Quality that ranges from 32 bit to 16 bit as per the layout of the Display properties.
Step 3. Select Apply and change it to 32 bits again and then, restart your PC.
Method 7: Using the Registry
If the above methods don’t work, then you’ll have to make some changes to the Windows registry. Here are the steps you need to follow for this:
Step 1. Press the Windows key + R and type “regedit” to open the registry editor and press the Enter button.
Step 2. Go to the following registry key:
Step 3. Look for the Config entry under this key and right-click on it to delete it.
Step 4. Now, restart your computer.
Method 8: Forcefully Restarting Explorer.exe and Changing Registry
Step 1. Press the Windows key + R and type in “command” in the Run dialog box that pops up. Now, right-click on the result and click on “Run as administrator.”
Step 2. Enter the following commands:
REG DELETE "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer" /V HideSCANetwork /F REG DELETE "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer" /V HideSCANetwork /F taskkill /f /im explorer.exe start explorer.exe
Make sure to type in the commands in the above order only and press the Enter key after each command
Step 3. Once done with the commands, check if the procedure has brought the network icon to the System Tray or not.
Method 9: Update or Reinstall The WiFi Adapter Driver
If the Wi-Fi icon missing problem started when you last upgraded your Windows OS, there is a chance that the WiFi adapter driver got corrupted or is incompatible with the new version of Windows. You need to update or reinstall the latest WiFi driver for your system to get the WiFi icon back on the system tray. For this, follow the steps given below:
Step 1. Press the Windows key + R and then type ‘devmgmt.msc’ and press the Enter button. This will show the Device Manager.
Step 2. Expand the Network Adapters option and then, right-click on your wireless adapter and click on Uninstall.
Step 3. Once done, reboot the PC and completely uninstall the driver. Then, open Device Manager.
Step 4. Check if Windows has automatically installed the WiFi adapter driver or not.
Step 5. If it hasn’t, select the Action Scan for hardware changes. Then, check if the issue has been resolved or not.
If the WiFi icon missing issue persists, go to the device manufacturer’s website and download and install the latest WiFi driver for your system.
Not having the network/WiFi icon at its usual location on the Taskbar can be frustrating. After all, how will you connect to the internet if you can’t find the Wireless icon? The above article gives you several ways to try and solve this problem.
We recommend you try the above methods one by one and your WiFi icon missing problem should be resolved. However, if it doesn’t then your last resort should be reinstalling the Wi-Fi driver or reconfiguring your taskbar in the Registry editor.