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Notification Area

Picture of Windows systrayWindows 7 SystraySometimes referred to as the system tray, Systray, shell notification area, and the taskbar status area. The notification area is a portion of Microsoft Windows that was first introduced with Windows 95 and found with all later versions of Windows. This area displays programs running in the background of Windows.

The notification area is located on the right portion of the Taskbar next to the time. The image shows two examples of the Windows Notification Area. The top image shows the layout of all versions prior to Windows Vista, and the bottom image shows the layout from Windows Vista and later. New versions of Windows have a new look that hides all icons until you click the up arrow. All icons are also still in the Settings in the Taskbar Properties.

Some of the common program icons displayed in the Notification Area include:

  • Sound (Speakers) - Icon that looks like a speaker from a side view. Allows quick access to increase or decrease sound volume, as well as mute or unmute sound.
  • Power Options - Laptops only... Power Cord icon if plugged in to power outlet with AC Adapter or Battery icon if running on battery power).
  • Network connection - Computer monitor icon if connected via network cable or cellphone service icon (5 vertical bars, rising in height from left to right) if connected via wireless connection.
  • Antivirus program - Many possible types of icons, depending on which antivirus program is installed.
  • Windows update notification - Icon differs in each version of Windows. Notifies users there are Windows updates available for download and installation..

Also see: Operating system terms