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Issue #643: November 17-23, 2019

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Q: I am running Windows 10 Home edition. The icon for Microsoft Edge does not appear on my taskbar BUT the space is occupied by an invisible link to Microsoft Edge. When I click on the space where the Edge icon should be (but isn’t), Edge will open up. It’s very disconcerting to see a blank space but know that a link to the Microsoft Edge application is hiding there unseen. All of the other taskbar icons appear to display normally. I don’t have this problem on my laptop computer. I’d appreciate your thoughts on how to fix this.

 – Ed R.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: This is more of a glitch than an actual problem, Ed, so I’d be surprised if it was happening on both of your computers. I can tell you the cause lies within Explorer – the Windows process responsible for displaying the Taskbar, Start Menu, Notification Area, etc. The symptom of failure to display a visible icon is not specific to Microsoft Edge either. I’ve experienced this issue with Google Chrome, Office applications, and more. It has even happened on my work computer, which is professionally managed by my company’s IT department. When it happens to me, I fix it by unpinning the affected item from the Taskbar, then re-pinning it. Sometimes it requires a reboot in between, but the misbehaving icon always seems to come back. Unpinning is as simple, straightforward procedure. You right-click on the invisible icon, and then select “Unpin from Taskbar” from the context menu. To re-pin it, you first must find the icon. The easiest place is probably in the Start menu. In the case of Microsoft Edge, you can click on the Start button and then type “Edge” in the Search box. You should see Microsoft Edge in the results. Right-click it and choose “Pin to taskbar.”

Although un-pin/re-pin works for me, in researching this I found that it doesn’t seem to work in all cases. So, if you make the attempt, but your icon still refuses to show itself, you may have to take stronger measures. I found a thread in the Microsoft Community forums that discusses this issue, and contains several repair procedures recommended by Microsoft support staff members. For example, apparently, there is a Start Menu troubleshooter (who knew?) and there are procedures to rebuild the icon cache that Windows 10 uses to speed up the process of loading and displaying icons. The steps needed to perform these procedures are far too long for me to repeat here, but you can read them for yourself by visiting TinyURL.com/IGTM-0643. Good luck!

Geek Tip of the Week

You never know what you might find lurking around your venerable old Windows interface. For example, I recently read online about a whole new File Explorer Interface that’s available on Windows 10 systems. It’s quite futuristic, and very minimalist compared to the current Windows File Explorer. This interface is apparently based on newer standards called the Universal Windows Platform, or UWP. This is a radical departure from the legacy File Explorer that you’re used to seeing.

This interface is available right now on your Windows computer. Unfortunately, accessing it requires entering a string of 71 characters into your current Explorer window. There is no practical way for me to convey that to you via the print media in which this column usually appears, because it would break across multiple lines, and likely get extra hyphens embedded in it. However, if you go to my website, and view this column there, you’ll find complete instructions on how to display this hidden interface on your own Windows 10 computer. So visit ItsGeekToMe.co/columns/Issue-643 see below. Remember, it’s “.co” and not “.com”!

Shameless Plug

From the Shameless Plug division of the IGTM Industrial Conglomerate, we now bring you a reminder about the annual Geek Lights on the Corner Christmas lights and music show that takes place each Christmas season at the Geek House. Preparations are currently underway, and the show is scheduled to open to the public on December 2nd. Those of you who are local to the Florida panhandle may already know where to find us, but in case you don’t, we’re only a Google search away. We even show up on Google Maps. The show is in its 12th season this year, and if I say so myself, is something that must be experienced to be appreciated. If you’d like more information, visit the show’s Facebook page at TinyURL.com/GeekLights.


 

Bonus Web-only Content:

To access the hidden File Explorer interface described in this issue, open a copy of your standard File Explorer (Hint: a cool shortcut is the key combination [WinKey]+E) and in the address line, enter the following text, exactly as it appears here:

shell:AppsFolder\c5e2524a-ea46-4f67-841f-6a9465d9d515_cw5n1h2txyewy!App

 

I suggest you cut it from here, and paste it into your Explorer window to avoid any errors, since it must be entered exactly.

Until next week – good luck and happy computing!

– Geek

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