Managing the Notifications Area on the Taskbar

After using windows for so many long years and installing applications for use and testing on the platform always clutter up my taskbar. Maybe yours too is a similar story. Over the period I realized that the right hand side of my taskbar, also known as the Notifications Area, should be displaying the time on the pc is messed up with icons waiting for my clicks... and of course I rarely click on them.

In today’s post I will be telling you the trick to clear up that space and make it available for some more running applications that are displayed on the taskbar.

You might be starting to think Do I really need to do this? There is always a Button on the left side of the clock placeholder that is supposed to show or hide the icons in the tray. Yes, I know that this is true and one can make use of it when there are too many icons in that part of the taskbar. But the point is Do I really need that number of icons there? The answer to this is simply NO. I will need only a few icons there.

Where Do The Icons in the Notifications area Come From?
The Icons that appear in the notifications area are the result of installations of different softwares or programs on your computer. To be clear there are two different categories of icons that get placed in that part of the taskbar. Some of those icons are placed here due to the fact that they are set to be the icons of start up applications - that is, those applications that start out when the computer starts. The second category of icons in this part comprise of the applications that are executed due to manual application and instead of using the normal task bar space, they get placed here (may be manually or automatically) for quick access.

I think, the applications that automatically start off, do not require to be placed here as most of these are essential to the running of the windows operating system itself. And again we can control their automatic starting from the msconfig utility of windows. But for those that get placed here manually - like I may hide my VLC player when it is playing the audio songs or the database server startup and management icon or even the camtasia recorder when I am busy recording something or even the chat applications like GTalk and yahoo messenger, these icons should be allowed to be present as they provide quick access to the applications that I am working on currently.

How To Manage The Icons In The Notifications Panel

Here is how you can remove the icons that appear on the right hand side of the Taskbar (on Windows XP) -
1. Right click on the Taskbar and then select the Properties to display the Start Menu Properties dialog box.

2. On the Dialog box, look for Customize Button in the notification Section. This will display the list of icons that appear in the Notification Area. The dialog box has two distinct Columns - The first one displays the name of the application and the other column controls and displays the settings for this applications availability and accessibility via the Notifications area. Please note that this trick will not allow you to get the icons removed. The only thing that this exercise will result in is to hide / display the icons on the Notifications area. That’s all there is to be done.

How To Change The Settings
Here is how you can change the settings for any application that has an icon here in the Notifications Area -
Select the second column, titled "Behavior" in the dialog box, for the application whose Icon you want to display or hide. This will activate a drop down list of options from where you can select an option as per your choice. The following are the available options -

1. Hide When Inactive
In case you want the Icons to appear when the application is running and hidden when the application is not being used, select this option. As the option indicates the application with this setting will be able to display the Icon in the Notifications area only when the Application is in use. For me, this is best suited for the Applications like Chat Messengers - Gtalk, Yahoo Messenger and MSN as I want them to appear for quick accessibility only when they are in use. Otherwise I don’t need them there. Reason is that I can always start them from the usual method - clicking on the Shortcut on the Desktop or the Start -> Programs Method.

2. Always Hide
This setting will force the application never to show its icon on the Notifications area. Though the application may be running but the icon for the application will never appear in the notifications area. This is good for applications that put their icons in the Notifications area but are rarely or ever used. For me this works fine with the Icons for the Graphic display as these rarely need to be changed or accessed.

3. Always show
This setting will force the applications icon to be displayed in the Notifications area even if the application is not running. This setting is best for applications that you frequently use or access multiple times during the day.

Click OK to make the changes you have made. 

Oh yes, I forgot, you can click on the Restore Defaults button anytime to get the settings to their default.

Hope you found the post useful. Feedback would be appreciated as ever.


Post a Comment

Spread the Word