Fix duplicate icon issues on the Windows taskbar

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The improved taskbar that Microsoft introduced in Windows 7 was a welcome change to many users. It supported the pinning of programs to the taskbar so that they could be opened from it with just a click.

This was more comfortable than using desktop shortcuts or the start menu for the operation.

The same taskbar is also part of windows 8 and Windows 10.

One issue that you may experience from time to time is that of duplicate icons on the taskbar. When you open a program pinned to the taskbar it should highlight that by modifying the icon, not spawning another icon on the same taskbar.

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The issue causes another icon of the program to be opened on the far right of the taskbar. It vanishes again when you close the program.

duplicate icons taskbar

As you can see on the screenshot above, the icon of the leftmost program pinned to the taskbar is displayed twice on it. The left icon is the pinned program and the right the new icon that Windows spawns when the program is started.

So why is this happening to some programs but not all?

There are two reasons for why this is happening.

Reason 1: Shortcuts

If you pin a program shortcut to the taskbar instead of the program directly, you may end up with the issue.

One of the easier fixes for the issue is the following one:

  1. Unpin the program icon from the taskbar. Locate the program in the start menu, right-click on it and select pin to taskbar from the options.

This works in most cases, but may not work for all programs because of the next reason.

Reason 2: Incompatibility

Some programs are not compatible with the taskbar functionality. While you may pin any executable to the taskbar, some may be incompatible with the feature so that a new program icon is spawned whenever the program is executed.

There is no fix for this issue. If a program gets updates regularly, it may get fixed in a future update.

Managing all pinned programs

user pinned taskbar icons

Windows stores all pinned icons, taskbar and start menu, in a central location. Open Windows Explorer (File Explorer) and load the following path in it: %AppData%MicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick LaunchUser PinnedTaskBar

There you find listed all pinned icons. You may add new ones to the folder or remove some or even all of them from there directly.

You may also change the names of shortcuts here. While names are not displayed on the taskbar directly, they pop up when you right-click on taskbar icons.


Article Name

Fix duplicate icon issues on the Windows taskbar


Martin Brinkmann


The guide walks you through the process of fixing the duplicate icon issue on Windows’ taskbar.

About Martin Brinkmann

Martin Brinkmann is a journalist from Germany who founded Ghacks Technology News Back in 2005. He is passionate about all things tech and knows the Internet and computers like the back of his hand. You can follow Martin on Facebook, Twitter or Google+

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