Windows 10 Taskbar Volume Control Icon does not Work

Sometimes, the Taskbar volume control icon in Windows 10 may not respond to mouse clicks. The slider doesn’t appear when you click on the speaker icon, and nothing happens when you right-click on it. The audio may still work in all applications, but only the controls don’t open. Due to this, users have to open sndvol.exe from the Run dialog to open the Volume Mixer and control the sounds.

This post explains how to fix the volume control (speaker) icon in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Taskbar Volume Control Icon does not Work

Right from the early Windows 10 builds, the Start menu and Taskbar (immersive shell) have always been buggy. It was not unusual to see the Taskbar or the Start menu become non-responsive, especially in the earliest Windows 10 builds.  Moreover, the immersive shell menu responsiveness is usually a bit slow when compared to the classic Windows menus. The speaker volume control slider and the context menu that appears when you right-click on the speaker icon use the modern UI (a.k.a immersive shell). When the Taskbar gets stuck, none of the notification area icons respond.

Windows 10 Taskbar Volume Control Icon does not Work

The right-click menu has options to open the volume mixer, sound settings, launch the Sounds applet where you can enable/disable playback and recording devices, and alter other properties. While the taskbar volume control icon is non-responsive, audio may still work on the computer and you’re able to open sndvol.exe and alter the volume.

Fix 1: Restart Explorer via Task Manager

The volume control icon may fail to respond intermittently for unknown reasons. The quickest way to resolve the issue is to restart the Explorer shell.

  1. Right-click on the Taskbar, and click Task Manager
  2. In Task Manager Processes tab, scroll down to Windows processes category.
  3. Right-click Windows Explorer in the list, and click Restart

    (For more information, check out the article How to Exit Explorer and Restart Explorer in Windows 10)

This restarts the explorer shell and refreshes the Start menu and taskbar (Shell experience host). See if the volume control button works now.

Fix 2: Enable the legacy Volume Control slider

To determine if the new shell experience is causing the problem, you can enable the legacy volume control slider using a registry edit.

  1. Start Regedit.exe and go to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion
  2. Create a subkey named MTCUVC
  3. With the MTCUVC key selected, create new DWORD (32-bit) value named EnableMtcUvc

    Windows 10 Taskbar Volume Control Icon does not Work

    EnableMtcUvc with value data of 0 enables the legacy volume control flyout.

  4. Exit the Registry Editor.

We’ve now enabled the Windows 7-style legacy volume control slider in Windows 10. No restart required after the registry edit.

Windows 10 Taskbar Volume Control Icon does not Work

Fix 3: Run the audio troubleshooter

Although the audio may work fine, see if the Audio Troubleshooter picks up misconfiguration in the system if any. To run the audio troubleshooter, click Start → Settings → Update & security → TroubleshootPlaying AudioRun the Troubleshooter.

Alternately, open an admin Command Prompt and run:

msdt.exe -id AudioPlaybackDiagnostic -skip yes -ep SndVolTrayMenu -elevated yes

This starts the audio troubleshooter.

Windows 10 Taskbar Volume Control Icon does not Work

Fix 3: Update the audio drivers

In my case, the troubleshooter notified me that my system is using a generic audio driver. It’s always a better option to get the latest drivers from your computer manufacturer. OEMs like Dell include a health checkup and software updater tool built-in. They ensure you have the latest drivers from the manufacturer — exactly for your computer model and chipset.

Windows 10 Taskbar Volume Control Icon does not Work

Use your OEM’s support tool to get the latest drivers for your audio device.

Fix 5: Reinstall ShellExperienceHost

Start PowerShell.exe as administrator and then run this command:

Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

Windows 10 Taskbar Volume Control Icon does not Work- reinstall shellexperiencehost

The above command reinstalls the ShellExperienceHost package, which is responsible for Start menu & Taskbar functionality.

Workaround: Install EarTrumpet

You may consider installing the excellent EarTrumpet software, a third-party alternative. EarTrumpet lets you control the volume of classic and modern Windows Apps in one nice UI. EarTrumpet would be an excellent replacement for the native Taskbar speaker icon. In fact, it shows up alongside the default speaker icon.

After installing EarTrumpet, you can hide the native speaker icon by going into the SettingsTurn system icons on or off page.

EarTrumpet is available for free at the Microsoft Store. Get EarTrumpet from Microsoft Store.

The team that built it is:

  • Rafael Rivera – a renowned software engineer.
  • David Golden – lead engineer on MetroTwit.
  • Dave Amenta – ex-Microsoft, worked on Windows shell and Start menu for Windows 8 and 10

Source: EarTrumpet 2.0 intro via Scott Hanselman

Windows 10 Taskbar Volume Control Icon does not Work
EarTrumpet: App specific volume sliders shown in the flyout

You see the various sliders in the flyout. You can even switch the default playback device (eg., speakers to headphone, or the other way around) on a per-application basis via the flyout.

Whereas the Windows default volume control flyout shows only the global slider; independent controls are available only in the Volume Mixer (sndvol.exe).

Windows 10 Taskbar Volume Control Icon does not Work
(Windows 10’s default volume mixer)

You can still open the Windows legacy volume mixer and all other dialogs via EarTrumpet icon’s context menu.

Windows 10 Taskbar Volume Control Icon does not Work

The Settings option in the EarTrumpet speaker icon context menu lets you assign a keyboard shortcut key to open the volume control slider.

Windows 10 Taskbar Volume Control Icon does not Work

For full features list and screenshots, see the EarTrumpet’s Github link EarTrumpet: EarTrumpet – Volume Control for Windows

Once you have a sight of this program, you’ll never look back.

Hope the methods described in this article helped you work around or fix the non-responsive Windows 10 taskbar volume control icon.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

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