How To Customize System Tray Icons

How To Customize System Tray Icons How To Customize System Tray Icons

The system tray, or notification area (renamed since Windows 7 shipped out) is a small area, located in the bottom right corner of your screen, next to the system clock. You can open it by clicking on the small arrow on your taskbar. The system tray contains various icons that will let you launch and close applications, disconnect external storage devices, adjust the sound volume, access network settings and more with just a click of a mouse. However, after installing multiple programs, the notification area might get a bit crowded with unnecessary icons, so removing them might be a good idea. If you don't know how to do that or if you want to customize the icons from your notification area, then keep on reading this guide.

Use Windows' built-in customization feature

A simple way of customizing and tweaking the icons from the system tray is using the customization function that comes with your Windows operating system (Windows 7 and newer). In order to do that, simply click on the small arrow on your taskbar and select the "Customize" option, as yon can see in the image below.

Customize OptionCustomize Option

After you click on "Customize", a pop-up window appears. Using this window you can easily select the behavior for each icon of your notification area. You can choose to show or hide the icons and notifications of each application (scroll down to find the desired piece of software and select the desired behavior) or opt to display only the program's notifications using the simple drop-down menu (as seen in the picture).

Icon behaviorIcon behavior

Additionally, you can turn on or turn off the system icons. Thus you can decide whether you want to see icons for volume, network, system clock and more in the notification area. To do that, you need to click on the "Turn system icons on or off" link located right under the icon customization area, and then select which system icons you want to be shown. It is very simple and intuitive.

Turn system icons on or offTurn system icons on or off

We recommend that you click on the "OK" button each time you make a modification to the system icons as switching between the system icons window and icon customization window will open a new window instead of going back to the previously accessed window (even if you can't see it in the taskbar).

You can also make the icons from your notification area appear on the taskbar either by checking the "Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar" box (as seen in the screenshot below) or you can individually place each desired icon from the system tray area on the taskbar by dragging and dropping them.

Display all icons on the taskbarDisplay all icons on the taskbar

If you are unhappy with the changes you have made, you don't have to worry, because you can easily reset all the modifications simply by clicking on the "Reset default icon behaviors" option from the "Customize" window.

Use third-party applications

You can also download and install various pieces of software that will help you manage and customize the icons of your system tray. For example, if you want to customize the icons on older operating systems (such as Windows Vista, XP or 2000), you can get your hands on the Windows Explorer extension, IconViewer. Furthermore, if you want to quickly remove icons of uninstalled applications that still remained in your notification area, you can use various tools like CCleaner and clear your notification area cache (see image).

CCleaner icon cache CCleaner icon cache

You can also access the Windows Registry to remove old application icons from the notification area, but you might want to stay away from this method if you are not familiar with Windows Registry. In case you are, then you need to navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify key and remove the IconsStream and PastIconsStream values.


As you can see, customizing your notification area is quite a simple process and, hopefully, after reading this guide, you will have no problems performing this task.

Alternative downloads

  • CCleaner CCleaner free windows Our standard version frees up space, clears your online tracks and helps you manage your machine so it runs faster. Download
  • IconViewer IconViewer free windows It is a utility that allows you to view the icons contained within files... Download