10 Fixes For Sound Icon Missing from Windows

Sound is a very important part of watching a movie or playing a game. Imagine trying to watch a movie or gaming when you do not have optimal volume and the sound icon missing in the computer.

This is exactly how a lot of users felt when they noticed the volume icon missing from their taskbar. This is not a PC-crashing issue but it can be quite annoying to adjust the volume without an icon to access it easily if you are not using a laptop.

We noticed a lot of queries on discussion forums seeking help to find their missing volume icons. Being the technical detectives we are, we created an article to make it easier for you to get the missing volume icon back.

Why can’t I See The Volume Icon On My Task Bar?

We noticed that these four reasons were behind the missing volume icon, most of the time.

Incomplete Windows Boot-Up

When a Windows OS boot-up is interrupted once, the next time you launch your PC, there are chances of an improperly booted up OS. This means that you will not see some parts of the User Interface (UI). The volume icon could be one of the missing parts of the screen.

Misconfigured Settings

There are certain settings that can be enabled or disabled on your computer to show or hide icons near the task tray. If these settings are disabled, the Volume icon may not be displayed on the taskbar. Turning them back on is the only solution if this option is off.

Absence Of Essential Hardware

This factor mostly affects the desktop system. When a device for the sound output is absent from the computer, there may not be a sound driver and a sound icon for adjusting the audio on your system.

You simply will have to check if the speakers or headphones are properly connected to your system either through BlueTooth or with a cord.

Lack Of Required Drivers

Drivers are important for the functioning of any hardware component on your system. If your system does not have the necessary drivers to help your speakers or headphones broadcast audio, you will be unable to hear audio and not see the volume icon on the taskbar.

Drivers are generally installed when a new device is inserted and detected by the Operating System (OS).

There are also chances of this issue being caused by some system bugs that should be fixed with a simple restart most of the time.

Solutions To The Volume/Sound Icon Missing On Windows Issue

The below solutions can be used to bring the missing volume icon back to the taskbar.

  1. Reboot The PC
  2. Make Sure The Volume Icon Is Enabled For Display
  3. Increase The Size Of The Text
  4. Re-Log Into Your System
  5. Restart The explorer.exe And systray.exe Tasks
  6. Update The Audio Drivers
  7. Remove And Reinstall The Sound Drivers
  8. Take A Look At The Windows Group Policy Editor Settings
  9. Using The Local Group Policy Editor To Get The Sound Icon Back
  10. Using the Registry Editor To Get The Sound Icon Back
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Fixing The Volume/Sound Icon Missing From Taskbar Windows 11,10,8,8.1 and 7 Issue

Before we get into the main solutions, try connecting and reconnecting the audio hardware as the first workaround. If this does not bring the Volume icon back, you can use the other solutions.

Reboot The PC

Restarting the OS should probably clear the bugs or unnecessary temporary files that can be preventing the sound icon from being displayed on the taskbar. This will also reset and remove some of the unsaved changes from your computer.

Therefore, make sure you have saved all the changes you were making in any file or the configurations themselves before you reboot the system. Once the system reboots, take a look at where the sound icon should be to see if it is back. If you can be patient, reboot the system twice or thrice before you move on to other solutions.

Make Sure The Volume Icon Is Enabled For Display

The sound icon is a part of the taskbar and display that can be enabled or disabled on your computer. This is available on Windows 7, 8, and 10. So are the steps for how to enable the volume icon on the respective Windows OS versions.

Windows 7

Method 1:

  1. Launch the Control Panel window and use the search field on the top part of the window, to search for the Notification area icons option. Typing in Notification will suffice and show you the necessary results.
  2. Go into the Notification Area Icons option.
  3. Click on the Show or hide volume icon on the taskbar option on this page.
  4. Navigate to the sound icon category and change the setting to Show icons and notifications.

These are the steps to alter the behavior of the sound icon on your taskbar.

Method 2:

  1. Open the Control Panel and search for the Volume icon settings.
  2. Click on the Show or hide volume icon on the taskbar option, in the Notification Area Icons section.
  3. When the Turn System icons on and off page appears, find the Volume option and set its attribute to On, in the drop-down menu.

Windows 8 and 8.1

  1. Right-click on an empty space on your taskbar and click on the Properties option in the context menu.
  2. Click on the Customize button in the Taskbar tab.
  3. Locate the Volume icon and draw the drop-down menu adjacent to the icon.
  4. From this small list, choose the Show icons and notifications option.
  5. Save these changes and press OK in this window and in the next to exit this window.

These are the steps to enable the option that determines the availability of the volume icon on your PC’s taskbar.

Adjust The Size Of The Text

This may not look like the conventional solution to bring the volume icon back but changing the size of the display text may help you with this issue. You might be wondering what the system text has to do with the volume icon.

When the text size is changed on your system, the displayed contents of the screen are refreshed. This could trigger the re-appearance of the volume icon. This is really simple with the following procedure.

  1. Bring up the Windows Settings. You can either press the Windows and I keys together or click on the gear icon in the Start menu to open this window.
  2. Go into the System tile and you should be in the Display tab. As an alternate method, you can right-click on your desktop screen and choose the Display Settings option to take you to the same window.
  3. In the Display Settings section, click on the Text size slider and drag it to to the right, gently till the size is at 125%.
  4. Save these settings and restart your system.
  5. Now, open the Settings again and go into the Display Settings.
  6. Change the Text Size back to 100% and wait for the display settings to change.

Windows 11 users will be able to find this in the Accessibility settings. You should be able to see the volume icon on your taskbar. If you cannot, move to the next solution.

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Re-Log Into Your System

Logging into your system is very similar to booting the system up but not the same. Logging out of your system means that you will simply sign out of the profile your Windows OS is booted up into, while the hardware is still running.

  1. Close all the open windows on your system
  2. Press Alt + F4 keys together on a blank screen, to open the Shut Down Windows dialog box.
  3. In the drop-down menu in this window, choose the Sign out option.
choose the Sign out option - Sound Icon Missing From Windows
  1. Now, select OK to sign out.

To log back in, you will need to enter your password. If you do not have a password, simply hit the Space bar on your keyboard or click on the Sign-in option on the login page.

Restart The explorer.exe And systray.exe Tasks

The File Explorer and the System Tray/Task Tray have separate processes that have to be up and running for these aspects of the computer to be functional and productive.

The volume icon and other interactive options on your computer are handled by these tasks. You can restart these processes and this will reset almost every configuration related to the File Explorer and the Task Tray.

  1. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys, simultaneously, to open the Task Manager.
  2. Go to the Details tab and locate these two processes – explorer.exe and systray.exe.
Right-click on the process and from the context menu, choose the Open File Location option
  1. Right-click on the process and from the context menu, choose the Open File Location option.
  2. Now, go back to the Task Manager, open the same context menu, and select the End task option.
select the End task option.
  1. Once the task is killed, double-clicking on the application icon in the file location will re-launch it.
  2. Do the same for the other process also.

Once all these processes are restarted, restart your PC to apply these changes.

Update The Audio Drivers

Audio drivers can also be updated to see if the volume icon can be brought back to your taskbar. Your first option to update them has to be with the help of a firmware interface.

These usually come with an expensive piece of audio hardware or can be obtained on the manufacturer’s websites. If you cannot get one, you can use this method to manually update the audio driver versions.

  1. Open the Device Manager window. This can be opened with the help of the Quick Link menu (Windows + X), Run tool (Windows + R – devmgmt.msc), or the search bar (Windows + S).
  2. Click and expand the Sound, video, and game controllers section.
  3. Navigate to your audio driver and right-click on it.
  4. From the pop-up menu, choose the Update driver option.
choose the Update driver option.
  1. In the update driver wizard, click on the Search automatically for updated drivers option.

Once the system scans and downloads the latest version of the audio drivers, you just have to install them by rebooting the system.

Remove And Reinstall The Sound Drivers

If updating the drivers does not bring the sound icon back, you can try uninstalling and then, reinstalling it should help you.

  1. Launch the Device Manager window and expand the Sound, video, and game controllers section.
  2. Right-click on the audio device and select the Uninstall device option. You may have to confirm this in the Uninstallation prompt window.
  3. Once the device is removed, right-click on the Sound, video, and game controllers section.
  4. Now, unfold the Action menu in the menu bar and click on the Scan for hardware changes option.
click on the Scan for hardware changes option.

The device will be removed and recovered with no changes. Alternatively, you can just disconnect and reconnect the hardware to make the system detect the device and its drivers again.

Take A Look At The Windows Group Policy Editor Settings

The group policy editor is a tool that is used to make intricate changes in the software configurations of the Windows Operating System (OS) and the networks your computer is connected to.

This group policy editor has the setting to enable or disable the volume icon from appearing on your taskbar. There are plenty of reasons why this setting has been changed without even interacting with it.

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It is only possible that the Group Policy Editor could have a misconfigured setting regarding the volume icon.

Using The Local Group Policy Editor To Get The Sound Icon Back

You either have to add a registry value to the Registry editor or remove one to recover the volume icon back. Both the steps are given below, use the one that you find convenient.

Note: The Registry Editor is quite complicated. Any little change in the wrong direction can lead to huge mistakes. You could be looking at an OS crash. Make sure all the following steps are carefully executed to avoid risk.

Using the Registry Editor To Get The Sound Icon Back

Adding Registry Values

You don’t need to open the Registry Editor window to insert an attribute into system settings. You only need a Command Prompt window with administrative privileges and the right command to do it.

To launch the cmd.exe window as a system admin, you can use the Run as administrator option for the application or the search results for the command prompt.

In this case, the following are the commands you need –

  • reg add “HKCUControl PanelDesktop” /v “HungAppTimeout” /t REG_SZ /d “10000” /f
  • reg add “HKCUControl PanelDesktop” /v “WaitToKillAppTimeout” /t REG_SZ /d “20000” /f

Once these commands are successfully executed, you can close the command prompt window.

Removing Registry Values

  1. Open the Registry Editor. You can simply search for it or run the regedit command in the Run tool (Windows + R).
  2. In the Registry Editor, navigate to Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify.
Registry editor
  1. Right-click on the TrayNotify folder and choose the Export option.
  2. In the Export range section, click on the Selected branch option.
Export range section, click on the Selected branch option
  1. Set a file name and a browse location and save these changes.
  2. Now, locate IconStreams and PastIconsStreams. These are registry entries with a preset value.
  3. Delete them. You may have only one of these. If that is the case, you will have to delete it either way.
  4. Finally, reboot your PC to save these changes you made.

These are the steps to recover it if your sound icon goes missing from where it should be on the taskbar. If you still can’t find it after all these procedures, talk to Microsoft support. Happy Browsing!

FAQs

How do I turn on the volume icon in Windows 7?

If the taskbar volume icon is disabled on your Windows 7 PC, use these steps.
Open the Control Panel window and go to the Notification.
Click on the show or hide volume icon on the taskbar option
Locate the sound/volume icon and change the setting to Show icons and notifications.

How do I get my volume icon back?

If the volume icon is not where it should be, your recovery steps are to Reboot the PC, Enable the volume icon, increase and decrease the text size, log out and re-log into your system, Restart the explorer.exe and systray.exe tasks, update or remove and reinstall the audio device drivers, and make the necessary changes in the Registry Editor or the Group Policy editor.

How do I add sound icon to taskbar?

If your taskbar is missing you can use the Notification area icons settings in the Control Panel. Here, you will be able to make the settings allow the notifications for the volume icon. You can also check if the sound icon is in the task tray. If it is so, click and drag the sound icon out onto the right side of the taskbar.

How do I get the sound icon on my taskbar Windows 10?

The solutions to recover the missing sound icon on the taskbar are listed below.
Reboot the PC
Enable the volume icon
Increase and decrease the text size
Log out and re-log into your system
Restart the explorer.exe and systray.exe tasks
Update or remove and reinstall the audio device drivers
Make the necessary changes in the Registry Editor or the Group Policy editor