How to Change Notification Area Icons

Since the notification area (aka the system tray) first appeared it’s been a pain in the taskbar for some users. In Windows 7 and Vista, however, that pain can easily be controlled or eliminated. Sorry, XP users. You are stuck with the pain.

Change the Notification Area Icons in Windows 7

To lord it over regular notification area icons, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the date-and-time part of the notification area.

  2. Choose Customize Notification Icons from the pop-up menu.

    A window appears, listing all potential icons that can appear in the notification area.

  3. To pick and choose which icons appear, or to hide all icons, remove the check mark by the item Always Show All Icons and Notifications On the Taskbar.

  4. For each item in the Icon column, choose a behavior.

    The Behavior menu button lists three options:

    • Only Show Notifications: The teeny icon appears only when it needs attention or it’s active.

    • Show Icon and Notifications: The teeny icon appears all the time.

    • Hide Icon and Notifications: The teeny icon never shows up.

    To hide all icons, choose the option Hide Icon and Notifications. You also have to hide Windows own notifications, which is covered next.

  5. When you’re done, click OK.

For adding or removing Windows own notification icons, obey these steps:

  1. Right-click the date-and-time part of the notification area.

  2. Choose Properties.

    The System Icons window appears, which lists the five different icons that Windows itself tosses into the notification area: Clock, Volume, Network, Power, and Action Center.

  3. For each icon, choose On or Off from the button menu.

  4. Click OK when you’re done.

Set notification area icons in Windows Vista

To show or hide the icons in the notification area in Windows Vista, heed these steps:

  1. Right-click the date and time on the taskbar and choose Properties from the pop-up menu.

    The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box appears, with the Notification Area tab forward.

  2. To keep all icons visible, remove the check mark by the item Hide Inactive Icons.

    When you want to be choosy and select which icons show, keep the check mark by the item Hide Inactive Icons and then use the Customize button to select which icons show up.

  3. Place or remove check marks in the System Icons area to show or hide the icons Windows itself places in the notification area.

  4. Click OK.

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