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Is there a way to "hide" a normal windowed application in Windows?

I'm looking for something that removes it from the taskbar and possibly puts an icon in the system tray instead.

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Well there's ones that retain the icon, or ones that use a "special" icon to "hide" the program from people (so when you hit the key combo to hide it, it's called the "Boss Key" :P ). That way nobody knows what the application is - it may look like a networking icon. And requires a password to restore. – Breakthrough Sep 18 '09 at 11:40
Anyone know a way to do this without using third-party software (i.e. with a registry entry, etc)? – Jim Fell Mar 9 at 15:00
up vote 15 down vote accepted


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Auto Window Manager

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Take your pick. They all minimize applications to the system tray. They're all free and work with Windows XP.

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Quite a few gems in your answer! Nice apps :) – alex Sep 18 '09 at 10:59
yep, TayIt does just that, the others offer a a whole rake of more or less useful features. – Molly7244 Sep 18 '09 at 11:14
Just installed TrayIt; it's a really nice app, especially the ability to remember to minimize an application to the system tray. – alex Sep 18 '09 at 13:10
unfortunately, None of these are able to hide a window's taskbar icon without minimizing it. – Malabarba Oct 19 '09 at 5:11

I use Process Manager for this. It has a lot of other options besides putting an app in the system tray, but I use this the most.

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Any disclaimers? – Pacerier Nov 5 '15 at 14:46

Try the open-source tools Minime and RBTray to minimize a Windows application to the system tray and hide it from the taskbar.

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Hurray for open source! TrayIt's company doesn't exist anymore and PMW doesn't work in Win7. Minime does! – SevenSidedDie Dec 20 '12 at 0:39
Very nice. Minime.exe: ONE file. Portable. Ctrl-Shift-Z & Ctrl-Shift-A Done. (Win7 SP1 x64 compatible) – adam Jan 7 '13 at 10:09 The one I use because it's small, well integrated and has the favorites part also. Right mouse click on the normal maximize/restore control button (on application's Title bar) minimizes any application to an icon on Desktop, right-clicking on minimize button minimizes any application to Tray (what OP asked). It also adds convenient menu to all applications' Title bars for these aforementioned functions, and to set 'Always on Top' also.

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Can you add in the relevant parts of the link into your answer? We ask this to help the OP out, so they will not have to search through information that may not pertain to them. This is also to preserve the relevant information in case the hosting site goes down. For more information, see this meta post. – Cfinley Apr 21 '15 at 15:18
If this is software, please explain to us how to use the software in a way that answers OP's question. – Cfinley Apr 21 '15 at 15:20

I found a clever workaround in the Windows Seven Forums:

  1. Either create a new shortcut or copy a shortcut of the program (ex: CCleaner) that you want to pin to the taskbar to your desktop.

NOTE: If you already have this program pinned to the taskbar, then you will need to unpin it before doing step 2.

  1. Right click on the new shortcut (ex: CCleaner) on the desktop, and click on Properties.

  2. In the Shortcut tab, click on the Change Icon button.

  3. In the field under "Look for icons in this file", copy and paste the location below and press Enter.

  4. Select the blank transparent icon and click on OK.

  5. Click on OK.

  6. Right click on the shortcut (ex: CCleaner) with the new blank icon on the desktop, and click on Pin to Taskbar.

  7. Delete the shortcut (ex: CCleaner) on the desktop.

  8. The invisible program icon is now pinned to the taskbar.

See link above to post in Windows Seven Forums for example screen captures.

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