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After using your computer for some time, you may find you accumulate a lot of taskbar icons. If you’d like to hide some of these icons or show hidden icons for quicker access, you can use this guide learn how to customize the taskbar and display only the icons you want.

Customize Icons that Appear on the Taskbar

To choose which icons to show:

Customize Taskbar Icons in Windows 7 / 8:

1. Click the up arrow on the taskbar and click Customize…

2. Here you can choose to Hide, Show, or Hide (when inactive) each application’s icon:

  • Show icon and notifications: Display icon all the time—even when inactive
  • Hide icon and notifications: Always hide the icons
  • Only show notifications: Hide the icon until the application notifies you of an event
Note: You can also show all icons at once by checking Always show icons and notifications on the taskbar

3. Click Turn system icons on or off

4. Here you can hide the clock as well as the other system icons listed on the previous panel

5. Click OK to save your changes

Taskbar no Clock

Taskbar with Hidden Clock

Customize Notification Area Icons in Windows Vista

1. Right click the space next to the clock and click Properties

Remove icons from the system tray in Windows Vista

2. On the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box, click the Notification Area tab, and click Customize

Remove icons from the system tray in Windows Vista

3. Change the Behavior setting for each application by choosing whether to Hide it, Show it, or only Show it when it’s active (Hide when inactive)

Remove icons from the system tray in Windows Vista

4. Click OK on the Customize Notification Icons dialog. Click OK on the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box

Rearrange Taskbar Icons

To rearrange taskbar icons, simply click an icon and drag it:



About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix the problems he creates.

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Comments

  • Init

    These icons drive me CRAZY – now I know how to get rid of them!

  • Init

    These icons drive me CRAZY – now I know how to get rid of them!

  • Init

    These icons drive me CRAZY – now I know how to get rid of them!

  • Andrew B

    Very useful tip.. much appreciated

  • Andrew B

    Very useful tip.. much appreciated

  • Andrew B

    Very useful tip.. much appreciated

  • Andrew B

    Very useful tip.. much appreciated

  • S J T

    Nice

  • Falcon4

    You can do exactly the same thing in XP, so don’t pass this off as a “look what you can do in Vista!” thing…

    Clock: Taskbar properties (Taskbar tab, “Show the clock”)
    Network: Properties for network connections – “Show icon in notification area when connected” for connected connections, or just “disable” the others, not aware of a complete removal workaround otherwise)
    Volume: Sound control panel, “Show volume control on taskbar” (IIRC)
    Power: Power control panel, Advanced tab.

    As for all the other icons, well, that’s in the same place, and does the same thing. At least there’s something in Vista that didn’t change unnecessarily…

  • Falcon4

    You can do exactly the same thing in XP, so don’t pass this off as a “look what you can do in Vista!” thing…

    Clock: Taskbar properties (Taskbar tab, “Show the clock”)
    Network: Properties for network connections – “Show icon in notification area when connected” for connected connections, or just “disable” the others, not aware of a complete removal workaround otherwise)
    Volume: Sound control panel, “Show volume control on taskbar” (IIRC)
    Power: Power control panel, Advanced tab.

    As for all the other icons, well, that’s in the same place, and does the same thing. At least there’s something in Vista that didn’t change unnecessarily…

  • Falcon4

    You can do exactly the same thing in XP, so don’t pass this off as a “look what you can do in Vista!” thing…

    Clock: Taskbar properties (Taskbar tab, “Show the clock”)
    Network: Properties for network connections – “Show icon in notification area when connected” for connected connections, or just “disable” the others, not aware of a complete removal workaround otherwise)
    Volume: Sound control panel, “Show volume control on taskbar” (IIRC)
    Power: Power control panel, Advanced tab.

    As for all the other icons, well, that’s in the same place, and does the same thing. At least there’s something in Vista that didn’t change unnecessarily…

  • caroline

    Does anyone know how I can tell if my slow broadband connection is down to my pc or my broadband provider (Tiscali)? I ran a speed test here http://www.broadband-expert.co.uk/broadband/speedtest/ and it tells me I have a download speed of 2.06Mbs and an upload speed of 243 Kbps. My laptop a dell Inspiron 8600, is about 3-4 years old some and I have Windows and is running Windows 2000.

    Any or advice help would be greatly appreciated!

  • caroline

    Does anyone know how I can tell if my slow broadband connection is down to my pc or my broadband provider (Tiscali)? I ran a speed test here http://www.broadband-expert.co.uk/broadband/speedtest/ and it tells me I have a download speed of 2.06Mbs and an upload speed of 243 Kbps. My laptop a dell Inspiron 8600, is about 3-4 years old some and I have Windows and is running Windows 2000.

    Any or advice help would be greatly appreciated!

  • caroline

    Does anyone know how I can tell if my slow broadband connection is down to my pc or my broadband provider (Tiscali)? I ran a speed test here http://www.broadband-expert.co.uk/broadband/speedtest/ and it tells me I have a download speed of 2.06Mbs and an upload speed of 243 Kbps. My laptop a dell Inspiron 8600, is about 3-4 years old some and I have Windows and is running Windows 2000.

    Any or advice help would be greatly appreciated!

  • Rich

    Caroline… those are average speeds and nothing to worry about. Most providers allow a small upload speed because most of the time you are just sending requests for webpages, small amounts of information from forms, e-mails etc.

  • Caroline… those are average speeds and nothing to worry about. Most providers allow a small upload speed because most of the time you are just sending requests for webpages, small amounts of information from forms, e-mails etc.

  • Caroline… those are average speeds and nothing to worry about. Most providers allow a small upload speed because most of the time you are just sending requests for webpages, small amounts of information from forms, e-mails etc.

  • Ian

    Thank you Google! This is exactly what I want

  • Ian

    Thank you Google! This is exactly what I want

  • Ian

    Thank you Google! This is exactly what I want

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  • Mark

    Hi how can I delete items from my taskbar. As when Pc starts up there is a load of rubbish on there that come with Pc and it really slows it down?

    Thanks

  • Mark

    Hi how can I delete items from my taskbar. As when Pc starts up there is a load of rubbish on there that come with Pc and it really slows it down?

    Thanks

  • Mark

    Hi how can I delete items from my taskbar. As when Pc starts up there is a load of rubbish on there that come with Pc and it really slows it down?

    Thanks

  • Rich

    Mark, a good program to remove startup items is Advanced Windows Care

    This will identify all programs that start with your computer and let you deselect programs you don’t want to start.

  • Mark, a good program to remove startup items is Advanced Windows Care

    This will identify all programs that start with your computer and let you deselect programs you don’t want to start.

  • Mark, a good program to remove startup items is Advanced Windows Care

    This will identify all programs that start with your computer and let you deselect programs you don’t want to start.

  • Mark

    Thank you Rich

  • Mark

    Thank you Rich

  • Mark

    Thank you Rich

  • Satyajit

    This works ok, well, most of the time. Vista is ‘forgetful’ about the hiding settings, and sometimes it chooses to display an icon or chooses to hide it even though a setting has been explicitly set for it.
    Atleast that’s what happens with the ‘Task Manager’ and ‘Safely remove hardware’ icons.

  • Satyajit

    This works ok, well, most of the time. Vista is ‘forgetful’ about the hiding settings, and sometimes it chooses to display an icon or chooses to hide it even though a setting has been explicitly set for it.
    Atleast that’s what happens with the ‘Task Manager’ and ‘Safely remove hardware’ icons.

  • Satyajit

    This works ok, well, most of the time. Vista is ‘forgetful’ about the hiding settings, and sometimes it chooses to display an icon or chooses to hide it even though a setting has been explicitly set for it.
    Atleast that’s what happens with the ‘Task Manager’ and ‘Safely remove hardware’ icons.

  • johnusa

    You neglected to cover a very important feature in how to remove OLD icons from programs that have been uninstalled but stubbornly still appear in the Notification Area. Also, when you do cover this please cover it properly and completely as different versions of Windows need different ways to handle this irritating Windows bug.

  • johnusa

    A very important feature completely missing in this article ….. how to remove old icons from the Notification Area that are left behind from uninstalled program.
    I know how to clean this mess, but this writer left this helpful information out, what a shame.
    I wrote this yesterday with a link in how to do it, but the idiots who run this site blocked it. What morons.


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