System Icons Greyed Out in Windows 7?

Are your system icons greyed out in Windows 7? If your system icons are greyed out and you need them badly, then you should read this tutorial to find out how to enable the system icons again!

System Icons Greyed Out in Windows 7

First Steps! Prerequisites

Before your follow this tutorial:

1. Step Restart. Sometimes a restart will solve this problem.

2. Step Open an elevated command prompt. Enter “sfc.exe /scannow” (without quotes) and hit enter.

3. Step Wait until the scan has finished, then reboot.

We are doing this system scan because sometimes, viruses can change your explorer.exe and then you will lose your system icons in Windows 7. Also, if you followed our tutorial and replaced the explorer.exe, you might accidentally disable all system icons.

Enable System Icons via Local Group Policy Editor

Important: If you are Windows 7 Home or Windows 7 Home Basic, click here now.

Ok, so all of the system icons are greyed out, what can we do about it? We can edit the local group policies to enable the system icons again, so that they will all appear in your system tray again.

1. Step Click on “Start”
2. Step Enter “gpedit.msc” into the search field and click on “gpedit.msc” at the bottom when it appears.

3. Step In the left pane, uncollapse the folders “Administrative Templates” and then “Start Menu and Taskbar”:

Windows 7 Group Policy Editor

4. Step Scroll down in the right pane until you find the entries:

Remove System Icons Windows 7

  • Remove the Action Center icon
  • Remove the networking icon
  • Remove the battery meter
  • Remove the volume control icon

5. Step Double-click on “Remove the Action Center icon”

6. Step On the following window, check the option “Disabled”:

Remove the Volume Control Icon Windows 7

7. Step Click on Apply and then on “OK”.

8. StepRepeat the same for the other entries “Remove the networking icon”, “Remove the battery meter”, “Remove the volume control icon”.

9. StepReboot.

When you log in all the system icons should appear in your system tray and they will no longer be greyed out.

Remember this will only work on Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. The Local Group Policy Editor isn’t available on Windows 7 Home nor Windows 7 Home Premium. That’s why you will need some registry keys.

Enable System Icons via Registry

Copy the following text into a notepad:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Save it with the extension .reg (simply enter “enablesystemicons.reg” as your filename).
Double-click on it and confirm the UAC prompt.

Instead you can also download the registry keys, double-click on the file and you are done:

Download Registry Hack: Enable System Icons

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- Cheers!

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Written by:
Oliver is the founder and lead editor of this site. He is interested in finding new ways to break Windows, find common errors and help others to fix them. Aside from that, he loves to fully customize systems with Rainmeter and Dreamscene, find out more about ancient civilizations like the Chachapoya, sharpen his digital photography skills and create software with a small group of selected developers. If you would like to connect with him to discuss anything, send him a mail!

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14 Responses to System Icons Greyed Out in Windows 7?

  1. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    jim moore said:

    Hi, thanks for allowing me to try this, but unfortunately it did not work for me. I followed each step to the letter, I went back to group policy editor to see if the changes I made were still there and they are, they still say disabled on all 4 items but in the notifications area the power icon and the action center icon are still greyed out.

    I even used the Enable System Icons via Registry, then rebooted and still they are greyed out.

    Any ideas, thank in advance.

    Windows 7 Ultimate SP1, 32bit system, intel P4 3.20Ghz 2 logical threads, 2.00 GB memory, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600

  2. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    jim moore said:

    In My Registry


    HideSCAHealth REG_DWORD 0×00000000 (0)
    HideSCANetwork REG_DWORD 0×00000000 (0)
    HideSCAPower REG_DWORD 0×00000000 (0)
    HideSCAVolume REG_DWORD 0×00000000 (0)
    NoDriveTypeAutoRun REG_DWORD 0×00000091 (145)
    NoRealMode REG_DWORD 0×00000000 (0)

  3. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    James said:

    I am in the same boat as jim moore.

    Action Center and Battery are greyed out, and going through the fixes here did not bring them back.

    If anyone else has had this problem and knows of some alternate fixes, that would be great.

  4. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Mike said:

    For me I had to delete the HideSCA*** entries, run gpupdate /force, and restart. <-Yes, even running Windows 7 Home Premium had to do the gpupdate /force. Hope it helps!


  5. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    John said:

    After all above steps are taken I have found that you cannot run APC software with their UPS batteries. If you want the Power/battery system icon to appear uninstall Powerchute and remove the APC driver in . You should uninstall the APC software and then remove the APC driver from your OS in Device Manager. Also remove APC from HID devices in Device Manager. Unplug your battery from the computer and plug it back in. If APC Battery comes up you have to uninstall the driver from your computer. Then after that the Microsoft HID battery will take over and run natively. Reboot and your Battery Icon will appear with the others.
    Note: This only applies to the Battery Icon which gets greyed out in settings if APC software is installed. Hope this helps some.

  6. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Andrew said:


    Ive got similar problems i have tried everything including the above methods. And my action center icon is still greyed out and when i go to group policy to check the thing (Remove the Action Center icon)its not there. The rest of them are but my action center isn’t.

    Dell N5010 Inspiron Windows 7 Home Premium

  7. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Refreshed said:

    For those who the Registry is not working for, run “enablesystemicons.reg” and then do the following.

    Press [Crt+Alt=Delete] and bring up the Task Manager, go to the Processes tab. Find “explorer.exe” and End Process. Your taskbar should disappear. Don’t fret we are going to bring it back now.

    Go to Applications press “New Task…” and type “explorer.exe” (without quotes).

    you’ve successfully restarted your taskbar. Are the icons back?

  8. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Parfait said:

    WOW! I had tried numerous things before, as well as the regedit and restarting my laptop… but amazingly, everything worked after i did the cmd sfc.exe/scannow. So thank you all

  9. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    tired said:

    thank you indeed.the only thing that really worked out is “sfc.exe /scannow”

  10. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Robert said:

    None of the above worked for me. I still have a greyed action center icon listed and no flag on the taskbar. The action center is working but no notification.

  11. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    oliversk said:

    Robert, what do you see when you open this in the registry editor:

    Then double-click HideSCAVolume and post the value here

  12. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    joyce said:

    hi oliversk,i have same problem as Robert,action center comes up if I open it but cant turn it on in task bar ,its grayed out,i did what u told Robert,the value is 0.what do I do now

  13. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    oliversk said:

    Joyce and Robert, do you have Windows 7 Pro or Home? If you have Pro, have you tried using the local policy editor?

    Enter gpedit.msc into the search bar, then find User Configuration, Administrative Templates, and Start Menu and Taskbar, there you can enable all icons

    If that doesn’t work for you, there may be a corrupt DLL that sfc.exe can’t repair.

    0. I assume that you used sfc.exe /scannow (if not enter that into the prompt)

    1. Open an elevated command prompt explained here

    2. Enter findstr /c:"[SR] Cannot" %windir%\logs\cbs\cbs.log |more

    3. Copy and paste the text here

  14. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Bruce said:

    I tried this and the notification area icons control panel now has explorer and quickset with a red x on then – could you post a .reg to undo the changes wrought by the one you posted above?

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