Friday, December 4, 2009

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Clean Up The Taskbar Tray Icons In Windows | Turn Off The Tray Icons Completely

The notification area as Microsoft calls it—or more commonly, the tray—is the box full of tiny icons on the far right side of your taskbar, next to the clock. It made its first appearance in Windows 95, but it didn’t take long for most trays to get cluttered with junk from every program installed on your PC.



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And since Microsoft wasn’t too careful about establishing standards for the icons put there, applications weren’t too careful about giving their customers control over those icons. As a result, many applications won’t let you remove their icons, and of those that do, the process is different for each one.



Microsoft snapped into action to solve the problem, and five years later came up with the Hide inactive icons feature. To clean up your tray, rightclick an empty area of the taskbar, select Properties, and choose the Notification Area tab. Turn on the Hide inactive icons option, and then click Customize to open the Customize Notification Icons window shown in Figure.

Figure: If you don’t want to hide the tray completely, use this window to bury
unwanted clutter under a collapsible panel.

The active icons in your tray appear under Current Items, while those that have come and gone show up further down, under Past Items. To hide an icon, highlight it in the list, and then select Hide in the Behavior column.

Click OK when you’re done; the change takes effect right away. If you’ve hidden at least one icon, a little white arrow appears to the left of the tray (meaning that you won’t save any space if you hide only one icon).

Just click the arrow to temporarily show hidden tray icons; move the mouse away, and the arrow hides them again.

Tired of dealing with tray icons on a one-by-one basis? If you’re using the Vista Business or Ultimate edition, you can turn off the tray completely.

Open the Group Policy Object Editor (gpedit.msc, which is not present on the Vista Home editions), and expand the branches to User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar. Double-click Hide the notification area, select Enabled, and click OK. You’ll have to log out and then log back in for this change to take effect.

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Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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