The notification area displays the programs running in the background and information such as the time and date, notifications, Internet connection status, and the current volume level.
The notification area is also sometimes referred to as the system tray, systray, shell notification area, or taskbar status area.
Where is the notification area?
The notification area is on the far right side of the Windows taskbar. It was first introduced with Windows 95 and is found in all subsequent versions of Windows. Newer versions of Windows feature and up arrow that allows users to show or hide program icons.
Common notification area icons
- Volume (speakers/headphones) - This icon looks like a loudspeaker viewed from its side. It allows quick access to your computer's volume settings and shows which output device is currently being utilized.
- Power - On laptops only, you'll see a Power Cord icon if your computer is plugged into an outlet.
- Network connection - If your computer connects to the Internet with a cable or Wi-Fi an icon should be seen that shows the network status.
- Antivirus program - Each antivirus program has its own set of notification icons.
- Windows update notification - These icons vary in each version of Windows. They notify a user that there are Windows updates available for download and installation.
See our Windows notification area information page for examples of program icons you may see in the notification area. See, Information about the Windows notification area (systray).
Weather and AQI in the Windows notification area
In late versions of Windows 10, Microsoft introduced the ability to show the temperature and the AQI (air quality index) in the Windows notification area as shown below.
This information is updated as your computer is connected to the Internet to show the current temperature and weather conditions (e.g., sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy). If the AQI is high enough, its value is also shown.
Should I use "notification area" or "systray" in my writing?
According to the Microsoft Manual of Style, the area described above should be written as "notification area" and never as the "status area," "system tray," or "systray."
The area was formerly referred to as the status area or system tray. Today it's always referred to as the notification area.
The term "systray" should only be used when describing a Windows processes that loaded the notification area icons in early versions of Windows.