Hide and show icons in the Windows Notification Area?

How to hide Windows Notification (Systray) icons
How to view hidden Windows Notification (Systray) icons

How to hide Windows Notification (Systray) icons

Windows 8 users
Microsoft Windows Vista and 7 users
Microsoft Windows XP users
Microsoft Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, and 2000 users

Windows 8 users

  1. From the Windows Desktop, right-click the Taskbar and click Properties
  2. In the Taskbar Properties window next to Notification area: click the Customize button.
  3. In the Notification Area Icons screen that appears (similar to the example below) choose what icons you want to show.

Customize Windows Notification Area

Microsoft Windows Vista and 7 users

  1. Right-click the Taskbar and click Properties
  2. In the Taskbar Properties window click the Notification Area tab.
  3. Finally, uncheck Hide inactive icons to disable this feature and check this option if you want for this feature to be enabled.

Microsoft Windows XP users

To hide icons in the Systray, follow the steps below.

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click "Taskbar and Start Menu"
  4. In the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties, check the box Hide inactive icons. If there are certain icons that you want to have always displayed regardless if they are active or inactive, click the Customize button next to this checkbox and change the behavior.

Systray Chevron

Once this feature has been enabled in Microsoft Windows XP, two chevrons on the far left side of the Systray (as seen above) can be clicked to display all hidden Systray icons. If this is not visible, there are no hidden icons.

Microsoft Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, and 2000 users

Users who are running these versions of Microsoft Windows do not have an option that can be enabled to hide inactive Systray icons. If your Systray is becoming cluttered, we suggest you disable the Systray icon for one or more of your programs. Often, many programs have the ability to disable the Systray icon by right-clicking on the icon in the Systray, clicking properties or preferences and un-checking any Systray icon option. Unfortunately, all programs are different so you may have to do a little hunting for this option, if even available.

Alternatively, you can disable the program from even starting up each time the computer boots.

How to view hidden Windows Noticication (Systray) icons

Windows Vista, 7, and 8 users
Windows XP users
Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, and 2000 users

Windows 7 SystrayWindows Vista, 7, and 8 users

In Windows Vista, 7, and 8 any icons that are hidden can be seen by clicking the small up arrow next to the time and date, as shown in the picture. Clicking Customize opens the box shown earlier in this document that allow you to decide what programs show up in the Windows Notification Area.

Windows XP users

Windows XP users who have the hidden Systray feature enabled will notice two chevrons on the far left side of the Systray; if you need to see a hidden icon or see what hidden programs are loaded, you can click these chevrons to view all Systray icons.

Systray Chevron

If you are running Microsoft Windows XP and want to disable this feature follow the steps below.

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click "Taskbar and Start Menu"
  4. In the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties uncheck the box Hide inactive icons.

Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, and 2000 users

If you're running Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, or Windows 2000 and the Systray section is not visible, it's likely you're encountering one of the below situations.

  1. The program is not open. Unless the program or a portion of the program is loaded it will not be visible in the Systray.
  2. The program is opened but not minimized. To help manage your Systray, some programs will remove their associated icon in the Systray when opened.
  3. The program is open but the Systray icon feature has been disabled.
  4. The program does not have a Windows Notification icon. Not all programs you use on your computer have a Windows Notification icon.

Additional information