Ed Andersen

Software Developer and Architect in Japan

Taskbar invisible over Remote Desktop

Ed Andersen Avatar


in ,

I frequently use Remote Desktop (RDP/Terminal Services) to access my machines running Vista SP1 RTM. 90% of the time, after connecting, I get this annoying problem with the Start bar:


Only the Start button itself is visible.

  • This happens on all my Vista machines, both SP0 and SP1
  • This happens no matter what version of Remote Desktop I am using, the XP version or the “new” Vista one
  • It only appears to happen when the computer was originally using the Aero DWM composition engine and originally in a different resolution to what I am asking the Remote Desktop session to render
  • It happens wether or not the taskbar is at the top or bottom of the screen

So far the only way to get the taskbar back I have found is to click the lonely Start button, click Windows Security, choose Start Task Manager, kill the explorer.exe process and start it again in the Task Manager from File > Run.

Subsequent Remote Desktop connections are then fine, but logging back into the machine from the console then back into Remote Desktop makes it disappear again. A bit frustrating, to say the least.

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6 responses to “Taskbar invisible over Remote Desktop”

  1. Matthias Avatar

    i have the same problem. it happens on the machine doing the remote desktop (client) and on the server side inside remote desktop as well.

    in case you find a fix tell me about it ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Matthias Avatar

    i have the same issue on multiple machines. I am also using rdp a lot so this issue is absolutely annoying to say the least.

    if you find a solution tell me … i am searching too.


  3. I also have this problem, it never did it before but now it started everytime all of a sudden. Possibly due to some driver or software that was installed I’m guessing. Either way it is very annoying!!! Let me know if you find a fix!

  4. Same issue on Windows Server 2008 Enterprise SP1.
    Same hack to fix (terminate and restart explorer.exe process).
    Using ATI Radeon 4800 HD.
    If someone has resolved it, please make a post.

  5. Shawn Hicks Avatar
    Shawn Hicks

    This is a better fix than killing and restarting explorer.exe.

    I set this up so I could have a context menu when right clicking on the computer icon in the start menu:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\shell\Aero Flush\command]
    @=”rundll32.exe Dwmapi.dll,DwmEnableComposition”

    or run from a batch/shortcut:
    rundll32.exe Dwmapi.dll,DwmEnableComposition

  6. Happens to be with Vista and a Radeon 3450 card. Anyone find a solid fix for this?

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