How to Recover the Volume or Sound Icon to Your Windows Taskbar

Don’t you hate it when need to adjust the volume on your computer only to find that the icon is missing from your taskbar? Here’s a quick tip that I thought I would write since it happens to me all the time! The process for getting back your volume icon is not very complicated, so here it goes! It does, however, differ depending on what operating system you’re running. In this article, I’ll mention Windows XP and Windows 7/8.

Windows XP Volume Icon

First, click on Start and then Control Panel to get to the computer settings:

open control panel

Next, click on the Sounds and Audio Devices icon in the Control Panel. If you don’t see the icon, you may be in Category View. Switch to Classic View by clicking the first option at the top left.

sound and audio devices

Personally, I like Classic View better since it’s easier to get to what you want quickly. Once you open the dialog, you should already be on the Volume tab.

You’ll notice the “Place volume icon in the taskbar” option is either checked or unchecked. If it’s already checked and the icon is not showing up, you need to uncheck the box, and then click Apply. Re-check the box and then click Apply again. Now your icon should appear in the taskbar.

Windows 7/8 Volume Icon

In Windows 7 and Windows 8, the taskbar got a huge revamp and so the process is completely different. Also, in Windows 7/8, taskbar icons can now be combined. This is to basically save space and make your taskbar look less cluttered. It’s nice, but your volume icon may actually just be in the grouped icons rather than it’s own icon on the taskbar, so make sure to check that first. You can always drag the icon out back onto the main section of the taskbar.

grouped icons

If you go to the Control Panel and click on Sounds in Windows 7/8, you won’t see any checkbox for adding the icon to the taskbar, but instead all the audio inputs and outputs on your system.

windows 7 sounds

This actually makes sense because the taskbar icon should be controlled by the taskbar settings. In Windows 7/8, to hide or view the volume icon, you need to customize the taskbar. To do that, you simply right-click anywhere on the taskbar and choose Properties.

taskbar properties

Now, you need to click on the Customize button under Notification area.

customize taskbar

In the Notification Area Icons dialog box, there are two things you have to check. First, make sure the volume icon behavior is set to Show icon and notifications.

show icon notifications

Then, towards the bottom of the screen, go ahead and click on Turn system icons on or off.

system icons on off

Make sure the volume icon is set to On.

volume icon on

That’s it! Sometimes this happens a lot, especially after you restart your computer or log off. If the sound icon keeps disappearing over and over again, you need to update the driver for your sound card. You can do this by going to the computer manufacturers web site and downloading it from there, i.e. Dell support, etc. Any questions, post a comment. Enjoy!

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Comments [18]

  1. Randy says:

    Thanks for the tip on restoring the volume icon to the taskbar. I am remarkably computer illiterate and was hugely relieved that your simple solution worked. Thanks again.

  2. James says:

    My volume icon was missing (among other things), and this actually brought all the missing icons back. Thanks!

  3. Linnea Hendrickson says:

    Thank you! Your solution of unchecking the "show sound" icon, clicking apply, then going back and checking the box again and clicking O.K. worked perfectly, after I'd looked at half a dozen other suggestions on other sites and tried the Microsoft help with no success. Not having the sound icon in the task bar has been driving me nuts for months!

  4. Tim says:

    I went through the steps from Control Panel to Sounds and Audio Devices. The same screen comes up that you show in the instructions , however, it is grayed out and I can't check or uncheck anything.

    Thanks.

    Tim

  5. lucy says:

    OK I did know how to do that, but I can't click the boxes! Any help with that? I'm so frustrated! I need my volume icon back!

  6. naty says:

    Hi, I have recovered my sound icon, but I am having problems. I can listen to some stuff directly from my PC speakers, such as YouTube. But if I play sounds through Windows or a program, I can only listen to it from my externally attached loudspeakers. Why is that?

  7. Yaky says:

    The sound icon does not appear on my computer. I did everything you said to do and it does not appear! This happened after I reformatted the PC with Windows XP service pack 3. Now what?

  8. Caysei says:

    Awesome!!! Thanks!!! Recovered my sound icon!

  9. Anna Fl says:

    Hi, I deleted the sound icon on my PC and now I can't get it back! What to do!?

  10. andy says:

    @Peter

    I am on Win7. This doesn't work in all cases. I had the problem that the sound icon was GREYED OUT and thus could neither activate nor deactivate this system icon.

    A solution which has worked many times (also in Vista) is to KILL explorer.exe in Task Manager and then to re-run it.

  11. Nida says:

    Thank you very much…Now i have recovered my power, network and volume icons..

  12. wfsk8r7 says:

    I have a big problem. I did the control panel process, but when I try to check "place volume icon in taskbar", it says "error: Windows cannot display the volume control on the taskbar because the Volume Control program has not been installed. To install, use Add/Remove programs in control panel." Well I tried that and sure enough found nothing. Now what?

  13. polocanada says:

    @ andy

    Thank you for the tip about terminating Explorer.exe to get sound icon working again under Windows 7.

  14. Dan says:

    Excellent instructions. Worked great! I had to download the proper drivers first.

  15. Murphy's Law says:

    The "kill explorer.exe" tip worked for my computer. You do have to rerun it. Use Task Manager, run new task, type: explorer.exe

  16. judy henningsen says:

    I can put the sound icon back in the taskbar by clicking, unclicking and applying, but have to do it over each time after shutting down my computer. Is there a way to put it back and KEEP it there?

  17. pete says:

    Thanks, I checked out a bunch of other sites and the procedure was very complicated. Your solution was simple.

    Pete

  18. Bo says:

    Two days ago I ran 18 Microsoft Updates. Afterwards, my sound icon was missing. So I did a restore and the icon returned. Now, I have to go through the updates again one by one to figure out what is going on.

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