Missing System Icons in Windows Vista


This happened to me twice when I was using Windows XP: I just could not enable the Volume icon for at my notification area. Tried as much as I could, there is no way I could make it appear until I found a super long and detailed entry dedicated to fixing this weird error.

A similar problem occurred to me on Windows Vista today: I just can’t make my Network icon show up in the notification area using the usual method:

  1. Task bar properties
  2. Notification Area
  3. Select which system icons to always show

Appears that there is a more advanced fix for it involving the registry and it worked! From Samuel’s blog:

  1. Run “regedit” (Registry Editor)
  2. Find “iconstreams”
  3. Delete all registry keys with names “IconStreams” and “PastIconStreams” until “iconstreams” can no longer be found in the registry
  4. Restart Windows Vista
  5. Enable the missing icon using the usual method



114 thoughts on “Missing System Icons in Windows Vista

  1. Pingback: Top Posts for Month of July « Thoughts of a Diurnal

  2. Thank you so much for the help….it fixed mine once I deleted “iconstreams” and “pasticonstreams” and then rebooted. Once it booted up, the volume and network icons reappeared without me having to go back into properties and re-selecting them. Thanks again!

  3. I am having a problem still with my Screen Brightness icon is still missing. Any ideas how to get this back? I don’t even know where you would turn that icon on! But it does not show up in my mobility center either. thoughts? ideas?

  4. I tried following the suggested solution but it didn’t work. I tried activating the sound from the properties but the checkbox is still coming greyed out. Please Help…..

  5. My volume icon has dissappeared several times and each time I have run regedit and deleted iconstreams and pasticonstreams. Is there any way to stop this happening over and over?
    Linzi 🙂

  6. anmol: Probably you haven’t remove all instances of registry keys with names “IconStreams” and “PastIconStreams”. Find and delete them until you can’t find anymore of them.

    linzi: From experience, this only happens when there is a incomplete shut down. Probably you can investigate somewhere along this direction.

    • I have used the “find” to search for “IconStreams” and “PastIconStreams” and don’t find any. Is there something else that can be causing this problem, or is the only way to find these items to do a manual review of the registry?

      Frustrated beyond belief. Ready to switch to MAC.


  7. I have missing icons in my control panel using Vista Premium Home Edition 64-bit? Is this the same issue. Someone told me that Microsoft has two hot fixes but neither worked?

  8. THANK YOU!! my battery meter, network icon and sound icon were all missing after installing Vista SP1 and the check boxes were grayed out so I couldn’t re-enable them manually. bleh.

  9. Vista Business had icons – after SP1 they went away and Properties showed them as greyed out. This restored them to be selected in properties – thanks a lot for your insights.

  10. this can be accomplished just by logging out and logging back in. according to linzi, this does not permanently solve the problem. anyone have a more permanent fix? why isn’t M$OFT doing anything about this?

  11. Pingback: 5-Finger-Blog von Hollii » Systemtray Symbole

  12. Muchas gracias solucione el problema, pero no sabia que lo habia adquirido cuando instale el sp1, lo unico que no pude recobrar es el audio que tenia la barra deslizable de mi note pavillon

  13. Awesome, thanks worked a treat. Didn’t even need to restart, just went into the properties and could select them again.

  14. Pingback: Martin’s Blog » Blog Archive » Missing system icons in Vista

  15. No need for a restart. Open up the task manager, kill “explorer.exe” and then restart it. File->New Task->”explorer.exe” – DONE

  16. Thank you so much! I tried everything and almost gave up, but it was bothering me so badly, that I looked it up on the Internet and found this…it helped a tons…it even allowed me to click the “Network” button also, under the “Notication Area”…Thanks again! =)

  17. my battery is still missing after trying all the mentioned methods,if any one can help i would be eternaly grateful as this is a major headache

  18. Hey thanks for the fix. God I hate vista. I’d like to know what “iconstream” is or does though. Anyone know why it would cause such annoying problems? I’m always interested in a new tidbit of information

  19. Great fix! As usual, more (*Y(*^(^($#%@#$ from MS that we have to find a fix for.

    It seems that they would start to clean their own house. As a developer it’s a pain to have to deal with stuff that MS should deal with themselves prior to releasing a product.

    — F..ing pissed at ms!

  20. It’s people like you that make my day! Thank you so much for this great fix. I have added this to my favorites because the problem will probably happen again. Can you hear my happy shout from Oregon?

  21. Pingback: Netzwerkikon in der Taskleiste verschwunden | hilpers

  22. Pingback: [Tutorial] How to fix missing icon at taskbar « eXPeri3nc3’s Corner

  23. why are WE all working on our computers all the time FIXING things. shouldint bill gates pay for this he got out money and didint tell me or you about all the wasted time we will wast fixing vista if he did would you have got it anyway anyone know his email or his wifes i want to send him a email with what i think about his work we should all be doing this what do you all think??????

  24. Oh my god! Thank you sooooo much for your help. I don’t have to Master Reset my window Vista!!!! Thank for a million! You are my hero!!!

  25. I’ve installed Windows Vista Ultimate on my HP nx7300 laptop.Before I had XP Professional.Now I have this problem : volume icon in the taskbar doesn’t respond wyhen I click on it.I have reinstalled Vista Ultimate,but another one,different .ISO size,genuine,no crack.First times,like in the previous Vista,worked…after few times clicking on it to adjust the volume : no response . Volume mixer and sound volume freezed,no response cliking on them.Manually,I can adjust the volume,mute on,mute off.I’ve tried everything,from desinstallig the driver,reinstaling,using other drivers to modifying different settings.Accesing SoundMax from Control Panel works,settings are working,only Sound volume and mixer by clicking on them do not work.The only thing I didn’t tried is modifying something in the registry,because I don’t know.From all I tried ,is the only solution I can imagine for fixing. Anyone that can help,I will appreciate a lot,not only me,but others too that have the same prolem and can’t find an answer. Thank’s

  26. Thank you! my battery and volume indicators are now available in the notification area AND the check boxes are now available (not grayed out)


  27. Don’t mess with your registry! That’s a disaster just waiting to happen. Go to Control Panel and choose Classic view. Now go to Taskbar and Start Menu Properties > Notification Area.
    You should now be able to select which icons show.

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  29. What worked for me is to: Right click on the right of the task bar and click on ‘properties’. Then go to ‘start menu’ and switch from ‘classic start menu’ to ‘start menu’.

    Then go to ‘notification area’ and then you will see that the ‘volume’ the ‘network’ or ‘power’ box are no longer grayed out.

  30. YESSS !!
    The tricky bit is finding “Command Prompt”, however:-
    Got my volume & network icons back.
    They disappear randomly after a so called Windows up-date happens.
    More like a Windows “down date” I reckon.
    My system is “Dell Vista Ultimate”. Should have used a different descriptor than “ulimate” though.

  31. Pingback: Notification tray icons missing or grayed out in Vista? | WebBizGeek

  32. we fixed it sound, battery and network connection we did go to notification area it did not let me check on the icons i did with registry and something else and it works thank a lot great tip

  33. THANK YOU SO MUCH, good to know someone has an answer, I spent 40 minutes looking this up today and since I get this problem a lot it should almost be routine.

  34. Am I just thick or what? Most people om here seem to follow the instruction easily, but can someone tell me how, once you are into regedit you find iconstreams – just where is it exactly?

  35. Anonymous :NZJ YOU ROCK DUDE!!! samuel’s blog did worked for me! tnx guys keep it up!

    Mark :Thank you! my battery and volume indicators are now available in the notification area AND the check boxes are now available (not grayed out)

  36. Once I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a remark is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you may take away me from that service? Thanks!

  37. The fix work, thanks! But you don’t need to restart the computer, just restart explorer. Go to Task Manager (ctrl+shift+esc), Processes, click on explorer.exe and end process. Then go to File, New Task, type explorer.exe and you are done.

  38. im using dell inspiron 1525 with Vista Home Edition.

    I try to do what you post, but still the notification icon is grayed and missing. any other suggestion.. thanks

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  41. It did not work for me. I rebooted the machine. Same problem. I accessed the registry and found the two values I deleted as if I hadn’t done anything. The network icon was ‘grayed’ again. I had this problem when I installed Glarysoft Pro utilities, but it just may be a coincidence.

  42. Great blog here! Also your site rather a lot up fast! What web host are you the usage of? Can I am getting your associate link to your host? I desire my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

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