It seems every program you install these days wants to add an icon to the system tray – you know that area on the lower right of a Windows system?

For me personally I have always been quite particular about what icons appeared there and so I have always taken steps to shut down those icons for two reasons. One was it took resources to have that icon in the system tray and two it created a lot of clutter on the screen.

In Windows 7 management of those icons and notifications are within your control with the Notification Area Icons settings app in the Control Panel.

You can quickly access these settings by simply typing notification in your Start Menu search box.


Anyone of those three items that come up will get you to the same control panel app.


Next to each icon you will see a drop down box with three choices:

  • Show Icon and Notifications – the icon will always be displayed and you will see all notifications associated with that icon/program.
  • Hide Icon and Notifications – the icon will always be hidden by default and no notifications will be shown in the system tray.
  • Only Show Notifications – the icon will be hidden but any notifications associated with the icons program will be shown.

For the last two options which hides the icon you can still access it by clicking the arrow on the left of the other system tray icons.


This action will show you the icons you have opted to hide along with a shortcut to this control panel app as well under Customize:


That pop up window is interactive so you can click the icons to bring up the associated program or Right Click to bring up the context menu.

OK – back to the Notification Area Icons settings dialog. Near the bottom are three additional options you can use to manage these icons and notifications:


The Restore default icon behaviors item will let you return to the defaults for each icon and notification based on the original installation settings for the associated program.

The check box for Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar does just that – you get anything and everything that has an icon in your system tray. Expect it to be very full!

Now returning to that first entry.  If you click on the Turn system icons on or off then you will get an additional dialog window that lets you turn off the system Clock, Network, Action Center, Volume, and Power icons.


Now all this hiding of icons through this applet just hides them from view – it does not turn them off.  So if you want to permanently stop them from running in the system tray and save some of your system resources then you must turn that setting off in the programs options.

Here is to a clean and clear system tray!