Currently in my tray I have:
- wireless network connection ... with a troubled signal
- local area connection (disconnected)
- safely remove hardware
- Nokia PC suite
- that little grey speaker
- on AC power
- some weird printer icon
- ActionOutline
- AdVantage (I have no idea what this is ...)
- Epson Event Manager (nor this ...)
- PowerISO ... (have a vague recollection what this could be ...)
- some icon with no tooltip that I'm afraid to click
- and another weird looking icon (looks like a little guy doing a backstroke)

In any case, as you might have guessed, I normally don't look, less alone click on half of these (except on the speaker - I like the little speaker :) ... they're just reminders of applications running in the background ... is there some app. which enables one to just remove icons from the tray from one single place (I don't want to close the actual applications, just remove their icons, cause they take quite a lot of space) ?

Talking WinXP here.

4 Answers 4


In the taskbar and Start Menu properties, there is an option called hide inactive icons which may be what you're after:

alt text

After you have a certain amount of icons in the tray, it will hide the inactive ones so it doesn't take up as much space.

  • I'm aware of it :) ... unfortunatelly, it usually just leaves the wrong ones visible ... so, naturally, I have it turned off.
    – Rook
    Feb 7, 2010 at 22:22
  • 4
    The "Customize" button allows you to change which icons get hidden and which don't. I find it works pretty well to hide all the random utilities but keep the few that I actually interact with. Feb 7, 2010 at 23:48
  • 1
    This and @Stephen Jennings' suggestion of using the "Customize" options will probably do everything you want.
    – ChrisF
    Feb 7, 2010 at 23:57
  • 1
    Okey, now I just feel stupid for never "seeing" that button before :(
    – Rook
    Feb 8, 2010 at 2:09

One thing to double check is that for each of the applications that shows an icon check to see if there's an option within the application itself to turn the icon off. If there is clear it.

Also if you don't know what the application is (e.g. AdVantage) why not uninstall it? Though on second thoughts you ought to check what it is before uninstalling. I've just realised that this could well be something that guards against Adware.

  • Oh, it's not that. It's that after a while so much junk (all useful at some point in time) accumulates at my machine, that I don't think about it anymore. ... instead of solving the problem, I usually just reinstall the whole system every few months.
    – Rook
    Feb 8, 2010 at 2:11

There is also the Tray It!. The program is free and has a reasonable memory footprint. It's made to put custom icons in the tray bar, but it has also an option to remove unwanted symbols. It won't hide some of the system symbols though (like the wifi indicator).


Mike Lin offers a little utiliy on his website, called TraySaver:

TraySaver is a System Tray Manager. It allows you to hide system tray icons, restores icons normally lost when Explorer crashes, and enables any window to be minimized to the tray. This gives you a more usable and manageable taskbar.

TraySaver is freeware and works with Windows XP.

If you're looking for even more features, try Eusing's Taskbar Hide (Shareware, $19.95).

Of course you can disable ALL tray icons via Regedit:

  1. Open up regedit.exe on Run box option.
  2. Navigate down to following registry key : HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
  3. check if the DWORD entry NoTrayItemsDisplay is already available in the left panel,if NoTrayItemDisplay available. Change the value of NoTrayItemDisplay to “1″, if you don’t have NoTrayItemDisplay then create NoTrayItemDisplay entry and set the value as ” 1 “.
  4. After completed modify or create the registr, Restart the computer then you will see the effect that all system icons tray will be hidden.

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