Notification Area

Updated: 10/02/2017 by Computer Hope

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.

Common notification area icons

  • Sound (Speakers) - This icon looks like a speaker from a side view; it allows quick access to your computer's volume settings.
  • Power Options - On laptops only, you'll see a Power Cord icon if your computer is plugged into an outlet.
  • Network connection - If your computer is connected to the Internet via a network cable or through WiFi, you should see a monitor icon or a cellphone service icon (5 vertical bars, rising in height from left to right).
  • Antivirus program - Each antivirus program has its own set of notification and alert icons.
  • Windows update notification - These icons vary in each version of Windows and are used to notify a user that there are Windows updates available for download and installation.

Operating system terms