Windows 11’s latest cumulative update comes with an odd bug, it seems, one that reportedly causes the taskbar to disappear – or rather, to become blank space.

The February patch (KB5034765) for Windows 11 23H2 (and 22H2) has seen a number of complaints from users who have witnessed their desktop being affected by this apparent glitch, which as you can imagine is pretty frustrating.

As Neowin flagged up, there are reports on Microsoft’s Feedback Hub and the Reddit mega-thread on said patch from folks who have been hit by this problem.

One Redditor wrote: “Yay, both my Win11 23h2 workstations have no taskbar after updates and a reboot… have to kill explorer and relaunch.”

Somebody replied to that: “This is happening to me as well I thought something broke, but removing KB5034765 resolved it for me. I don’t even see explorer.exe in my running tasks when that happened, though.”

There are a number of other reports, as mentioned, with those affected not able to launch their taskbar pinned apps (as the icons aren’t there, of course), or see the system tray, access Quick Settings and so on. The basic ability to see your running apps and switch between them on the bar is obviously missing in action, too.

Analysis: Have a little patience?

We should note that in the interest of balance, a lot of folks on that Reddit thread are saying they had no issues with KB5034765. It’s not clear how widespread the vanishing taskbar gremlin might be, and Microsoft has not acknowledged the problem yet in its known issues – but we get the feeling it has a limited impact, looking at the overall feedback on this patch.

As noted above, the only solution seems to be uninstalling the February cumulative update, which certainly works to return the taskbar to its normal state.

The slight twist here is that this problem has been seen before, and another Redditor offers up a theory as follows: “The taskbar missing thing is part of the EU policy updates. Taskbar is not showing for up to 10 minutes, it’s normal and has been in the Release Preview Channel for 2-3 months.”

This makes some sense, as there’s some heavy duty work on the taskbar going on with those EU regulation-related changes, like unhooking Bing from the search box on the bar.

So, in theory the taskbar may reappear soon after applying the update – maybe. But we presume given the number of affected folks, with no one else observing said reappearance that we can see, there could be more to this issue than merely this. Unless everyone hitting the snag is uninstalling KB5034765 pretty sharpish, which seems unlikely across the board.

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