How to remove and fix ghost window issue in Windows 11

Updated: 05/03/2022 by Computer Hope
Ghost window from failed search widget in Windows 11

In Windows 11, the search widget sometimes gets stuck and fails, causing a small "ghost" window to appear above the taskbar. When the ghost window is present, anything behind it is not accessible, including icons, text, and buttons.

Select a fix option below and follow the instructions to remove the ghost window and fix the problem.

Remove ghost window without restarting computer

If you don't want to restart your computer to fix the problem, follow the steps below to remove the ghost window when it appears.

  1. Close any open File Explorer windows.
  2. Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc on the keyboard.
  3. On the Processes tab, scroll down the list of running processes until you find the Windows Explorer process.
  4. Select the Windows Explorer process and click the Restart button at the bottom-right corner of the Task Manager window.

Restart the Windows Explorer process in Windows 11


If you don't see the Windows Explorer process, you likely have one or more File Explorer windows still open. Close any open File Explorer windows, then look for the Windows Explorer process in the Task Manager.

The Windows Explorer process restarts. The taskbar temporarily disappears and then reappears after the process completes the restart.

Permanently fix ghost window issue

To prevent the ghost window from appearing, you can turn off the Search widget by following the steps below.


You can still perform searches in Windows 11 by pressing the Windows key and typing your queries in the Windows search box.

  1. Right-click the taskbar and select Taskbar settings.
  2. Expand the Taskbar items option if not already expanded.
  3. Click the Search toggle to switch it to the Off Windows 11 toggle in Off position position.

Turn off the Search widget in Windows 11

  1. The Search widget icon disappears from the taskbar, preventing the Search widget window from displaying and potentially causing the ghost window to appear.