Windhawk and symbol download errors

About 45 hours ago (around May 2, 13:00 UTC) Windhawk users started reporting that some of the mods stopped working. Below is a summary of what is affected and what can be done, followed by more details.

Update (21 May): The problem was resolved.


What is affected?

The problem only affects the mods below, the rest of the mods are unaffected.

The following mods only work on selected Windows versions (latest Windows 10 and Windows 11 versions are supported, preview builds aren’t supported):

The following mods don’t work:

What can be done?

Currently, the only thing that can be done is to wait for Microsoft to fix the problem.

When will the problem be fixed?

According to Microsoft, the problem will hopefully be resolved in a week.

Update (18 May): Now, more than two weeks later, the problem still wasn’t fixed. At this point, we have no additional information.

More details

Some Windhawk mods rely on Microsoft debug symbols to be able to locate the functions to customize. The debug symbols are provided by Microsoft, and can be downloaded from the Microsoft public symbol server. For some reason, debug symbols for the following files became unavailable: explorer.exe, taskbar.dll and taskbar.view.dll.

Having these debug symbol files makes mod development and maintenance easier, and helps creating mods which are more resilient to updates. Debug symbols aren’t strictly necessary for Windhawk or its mods, but they help.

One of the users contacted Microsoft regarding the unavailability of the debug symbol files. They responded with the following:

This is intentional. We are doing some maintenance on the symbol server which requires blocking certain symbols. Hopefully this will be resolved in a week.

It’s a mystery to me what kind of maintenance would affect these files specifically. The rest of the symbol files seem to be available. Let’s just hope that it will indeed be resolved in a week, and that we’ll go back to normal.

Update (4 May): Some of the popular mods were updated with a workaround to the missing symbol files problem. For details, check the mod’s changelog.

Posted in Software, Updates by Michael (Ramen Software) on May 3rd, 2024.

16 Responses to “Windhawk and symbol download errors”

  1. Tim says:

    This odd issue concerns me a bit because I know some of the insider builds of 11 are starting to block other non-Windhawk modding apps (though workarounds are apparently not very difficult). It almost feels intentional like they are testing the waters for more aggressive third party mod blocking.

    Or it could just be a coincidence because the symbols servers obviously has many use cases outside Windhawk and blocking Windhawk functionality would be easier done a different way than this. But just saying that Microsoft is making some really strange choices lately.

    • zakius says:

      they are cleaning up, removing remnants of win10 or at least initially blocking ability to access them, that’s reasonable and expected, though it would be nice if they fixed the 11 shell before that

  2. Konrad says:

    Same problem again with Win11 June 2024 Patchday. Build 32H2 22631.3593. No symbols are loaded.

  3. Konrad says:

    It perfectly works 🙂

    Thanks very much!


  4. xgsx says:

    Taskbar height and icon size and Taskbar notification icon spacing doesn’t work!?

  5. Chris says:

    Is there any chance to get the “Taskbar height and icon size” mod working with Windows Beta builds again?

    Can I somehow get my hands on the required symbols manually?

    Thanks in advance!

    • I don’t plan on working on it in the near future. I hope that Microsoft will complete their maintenance soon and then it will just work. If not, I might look at implementing a workaround for preview builds, but generally preview builds are a moving target and not a high priority.

      Can I somehow get my hands on the required symbols manually?

      Unfortunately, as far as I know the answer is no.

  6. Roger S. says:

    I’m running Taskbar Clock Customization 1.3.3 on Windows 11 (all fully updated) and am finding that it is somehow overlaying a small area above the taskbar (bottom right corner of the screen) that keeps my cursor from being able to interact with items located there — e.g., the plus and minus symbols that enlarge or shrink a Word document. Doesn’t happen if I restrict the mod to a single line on the taskbar, but the two line customization — regardless of font choices — has this effect.
    If I disable the mod, all works fine again.

    • I never encountered it and haven’t heard about it from other users. Just checked and it doesn’t happen on my computer. Can you post screenshots or a video recording? Do you have other mods or customization tools?

      Also, can you try and check whether other mod options affect it?

  7. Roger S. says:

    Sorry not to reply — not sure how to do a video recording — but just ran into a bigger problem. Running Outlook (Microsoft 365), recently updated to version 2406. But now it won’t open except in Administrator mode. Did a ton of troubleshooting — but it turns out if I exit Windhawk, Outlook opens right away.

    Love your app, but am going to have to abandon it, given this problem, unless you can replicate and fix? Good luck!

  8. Roger S. says:

    I should add that the only mod I’m presently using is taskbar thumbnail reordering, which obviously affects all the Microsoft 365 apps I’m using (Outlook, Word, Excel) and which apps will no longer open, other than in administrator mode, unless I completely exit from Windhawk (just turning off that mod doesn’t affect anything).

  9. Roger S. says:

    So, adding C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\* to the list of exclusions in advanced settings does the trick — and still allows the Taskbar Reordering mod to work. And my Outlook apps to open normally.

    Interestingly, after adding in that exclusion, I no longer experience the problem I had with the Taskbar Customization mod that triggered my initial comment above (i.e., overlapping, invisibily, a tiny section in the bottom right corner of my Outlook apps so I couldn’t change their size with the + or – symbols of the slider)

    • Rick says:

      Just came on here to say thanks, this fixed my problem of the office apps not starting. This should be an announcement or something because I don’t think we’re the only ones that had this issue.

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