Information about the Windows notification area (systray)

Updated: 03/01/2018 by Computer Hope
The notification area in Windows 10.

Officially known as the notification area, the system tray (systray) is also sometimes referred to as the shell notification area and taskbar status area. It is part of the Windows 95, 98, NT, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10 operating systems.

This section of Windows displays small icons enabling a user to know what is currently loaded in the computer's memory. The Systray is located on the bottom-right side of the screen and is next to the current time.

Note

This document is only about the Windows notification area aka Systray and does not have questions about the Windows Taskbar.

Do I need the Systray to be loaded?

Yes. In early versions of Windows, if you End Task the Systray process or stopping the process, it would cause problems for programs including Windows that need it running. This program is very small and should not cause any issues with any other software on your computer.

Note

The systray.exe should only be loading from c:\Windows\System32 directory. If this file is trying to load from somewhere else, it is likely malware trying to disguise itself as being the Systray.

I have a systray icon that i do not want to load each time my computer starts

When a program is running in the background, it may show a notification icon each time the computer starts.

To disable this program depends on the program associated with the icon. However, many programs can be adjusted by right-clicking on the icon and clicking Properties or Settings and disabling the icon or the automatic startup.

How to hide and view Systray icons

Missing Network icon on Systray

Systray icons

Tip

hovering the mouse cursor over a systray icon gives you information about that icon.

Although there are thousands of different icons that can be listed in the Windows Notification Area, we have taken the time to list a few of the more common icons. Some of these sections also list more than one icon because the developer of the program has changed the icon over time.



Associated Program: McAfee VirusScan.
When Loaded: After the installation of McAfee.

Associated Program: Norton antivirus.
When Loaded: After the installation of Norton antivirus.

Associated Program: AVG antivirus.
When Loaded: After the installation of AVG.



Associated Program: Microsoft Windows.
When Loaded: After the drivers for the sound card have loaded. If you are missing this icon, refer to the sound card troubleshooting.
Associated Program: Adobe Acrobat.
When Loaded: When Adobe is running or when updates are available for Adobe Acrobat.
Associated Program: Microsoft Windows.
When Loaded: When hardware connected to the computer can be safely disconnected.
Associated Hardware: Microsoft IntelliMouse.
When Loaded: After the mouse drivers and the mouse have been installed and loaded.
Associated Program: Dial-up Networking.
When Loaded: Once connected to the Internet.


Associated Program: Microsoft Windows update.
When Loaded: Once a patch is ready to be installed, or installation is complete, this icon is displayed. If a patch is ready to be installed, double-clicking this icon opens the Windows update. Additional information about updating Windows.
Associated Program: Dr. Watson.
When Loaded: Located on the Windows 9x Systray when Dr. Watson is watching computer.
Associated Program: Drobo Dashboard.
When Loaded: When Drobo Dashboard and Drobo are connected to the computer.
Associated Program: AOL instant messenger.
When Loaded: Once connected to the Internet and the program has loaded into memory.
Associated Program: Real Player.
When Loaded: After Real is installed on the computer.

Associated Program: Microsoft Messenger Service.
When Loaded: Once the MSN Messenger has loaded.
Associated Program: ICQ.
When Loaded: Once ICQ is installed.

Associated Program: NVIDIA video card drivers.
When Loaded: When NVIDIA video card and drivers are installed on the computer.
Associated Program: local area network.
When Loaded: When a network connection is up. If this icon is missing, follow the missing network icon troubleshooting steps.
Associated Program: Microsoft Windows.
When Loaded: By default, after installation of Windows, or when selected to be shown in the display properties in Control Panel.
Associated Program: AutoHotkey.
When Loaded: When the scripting program AutoHotkey is installed and running on the computer.
Associated Program: First aid.
When Loaded: After the installation of First Aid.
Associated Program: Microsoft Active Sync.
When Loaded: After the installation of Microsoft Active Sync or Windows CE device.
Associated Program: Microsoft Outlook.
When Loaded: When you receive an e-mail in Microsoft Outlook, this icon should appear in your Systray.
Associated Program: Winamp.
When Loaded: After the installation of Winamp.
Associated Program: Microsoft Windows.
When Loaded: After the installation of Microsoft Windows 95+
Associated Hardware: ATI video card.
When Loaded: After the successful installation of the ATI Video card software.
Associated Program: Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, and XP.
When Loaded: When CPU Usage monitor is loaded or on Windows NT, 2000, and XP if Task Manager is open.
Associated Program: Pandora.
When Loaded: When Pandora music streaming program is installed on the computer.
Associated Program: WinVNC.
When Loaded: When WinVNC is running.
Associated Program: Java.
When Loaded: A browser or other program using Java is loaded.
Associated Program: APC UPS.
When Loaded: After installing the software associated with your APC UPS.
Associated Program: Apple QuickTime.
When Loaded: After installing Apple QuickTime.
Associated Program: Belkin Nostromo game pad.
When Loaded: After installing Nostromo software.
Associated Program: Google Desktop search.
When Loaded: After installing Google Desktop search.

Associated Program: CRT and SecureCRT.
When Loaded: After CRT or SecureCRT telnet program is installed.
Associated Program: Symantec Norton Ghost.
When Loaded: After Symantec Norton Ghost is installed on the computer.
Associated Program: Bluetooth.
When Loaded: After any Bluetooth is installed on your computer.

Associated Program: [email protected].
When Loaded: After [email protected] is installed and is running on the computer.

Additional information