Quick Tip: Manage Windows 7 Notification area icons

Change which icons appear in the Windows 7 Notification area and decide how those icons behave when they are display in that area.

Microsoft Windows 7 provides users with a simple tool for managing which icons display in the Notification area located in the lower right corner of the typical Windows Desktop. The behavior of icons in an area is generally determined by whether they are trying to alert a user that some application or system process requires attention. However, a user can exert some control over this area through Taskbar properties.

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Customize icon behavior

The default icon behaviors in the Notification area are usually adequate (Figure A), but you may want to make some changes based on your preferences.

Figure A

These are the default icons.
To make changes, right-click on the Taskbar and click on Properties in the context menu (Figure B).

Figure B

Right-click and click Properties.
The next screen (Figure C) contains a Customize button on the Taskbar tab.

Figure C

Click the Customize button.
Click the Customize button to get to the next screen where you can customize which icons will appear in the Notification area and what behavior those icons will use while they are displayed there (Figure D).

Figure D

You can customize icon notifications.

You have three choices for each icon in the list:

  • Hide icon and notifications: Never displays the icon and notifications
  • Only show notifications: Displays only notifications
  • Show icon and notifications: Always displays the icon and notifications
I made a few changes on my test machine as an example (Figure E). Your changes, of course, will depend on your preferences and needs.

Figure E

Here is an example of some changes you can make.
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There is also a link on the configuration screen that will take you to another screen (Figure F) where you can turn off and on system icons in the Notification area.

Figure F

Turn off and on system icons here.

There is also a link on the configuration screen that will reset the icons in the Notification area to their default values.


Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.


When you goto Customize Notification Icons, you may find some icons of the software/applications that you had already uninstalled but still you would see them appearing in this list. To manually remove this, you have to follow the following steps to reset the system tray icon cache. 1. Press Windows key + R 2. Type regedit and press Enter key. 3. Click on Continue in the UAC prompt (if prompted) 4. In regedit, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify 5. In the right pane, you will see a list of registry values, except Default delete all of them one by one. 6. After you???re done, close regedit window. 7. Open Windows Task Manager (Shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Esc). Goto services tab, select exporer.exe and click on End Process button 8. Restart your PC for the changes to be reflected. I hope you will find this helpful. As once upon a time, I was finding it very annoying when the Customize notification icon window used to show icons of the already uninstalled or deleted programs. Regards,

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What icons are in your Notification area? Have you customized the behavior of icons in that area? Will you customize them now?

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