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

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
“HideSCAVolume”=dword:00000000
“HideSCAPower”=dword:00000000
“HideSCANetwork”=dword:00000000
“HideSCAHealth”=dword:00000000

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

Published: Thursday, March 18th, 2010 Last Modified: March 18, 2010