I have a three monitor setup on my new Win10 machine and I'm trying to hide the system tray icons - it just doesn't work.

I know how you are supposed to do it via "Taskbar Settings" and "Select which icons appear on the taskbar", but whatever I set there, the icons are never hidden. Turning the system icons on and off seems to work (e.g., volume) but I can't hide my application icons.

Everything I can Google seems to describe where to find the settings / controls for this - but not what to do if that doesn't work.

Anyone got any clues?

Tray Icons - no extension

Tray Icons - no extension

Notification settings

Notification settings

EDIT 2: I just had to install more software which added more Tray icons...this is getting worse, does nobody have any ideas?

  • Indeed, applications can push themselves as "active" to be placed out of the hidden icons, and usually that can only be solved by a setting in that particular app. It is meant to make the user understand something changed and they want to notify you. There probably is some software out there that can remove icons from the system tray entirely, but I don't know any app that could do this. My suggestion would be to look into the settings of these apps to see if you can disable the systemtray icon there.
    – LPChip
    Nov 19, 2018 at 22:14
  • But I don't want to disable them, I want hide them like I used to be able to, and have the 'up arrow' extension area available so I can access them when I need them. Why has Win10 retained the option to hide the icon if it doesn't work?
    – Kyudos
    Nov 19, 2018 at 22:19
  • It works by design, but there's another reason why these icons pop up out of the hidden area. For example, if you set outlook to be hidden, and you receive an email, outlook will pop out of that area to notify you that new email arrived. By default it will remain there for a certain amount of time and periodically check if you have read the mail it notified you. If so, that icon will disappear back into the hidden icons area. Some programs abuse this or the developer just wants their icon always visible. In any case, it should be searched for in that program. Maybe contact the developers?
    – LPChip
    Nov 19, 2018 at 22:22
  • That's nuts - the system tray belongs to Windows Explorer, so it (Explorer) should give me ultimate control over what gets shown. It used to work like that no? I can't (and shouldn't have to) persuade multiple developers to 'fix' their system tray icons. But honestly, I don't think that us the problem - I can't even hide (for instance) my Outlook icon - are you saying Microsoft themselves can't even do this right?
    – Kyudos
    Nov 19, 2018 at 22:27
  • There is a setting in outlook to disable that icon. If my memory serves me right, File, Options, email, notifications, show icon when new email is received.
    – LPChip
    Nov 19, 2018 at 22:51

4 Answers 4


I discovered the solution by trial and error / accident.

Google-fu suggested that this registry key:


was related to numerous Tray related problems so I looked there and found a REG_DWORD entry labelled:


which was set to 1. I changed it to 0 and restarted Explorer et voila my system tray starts working again. I've no idea how this got set in the first place, but I'm happy now anyway.

This link tells us "This setting determines whether the items are always expanded or always collapsed." which sort of suggests it should be controlled by the Win10 option "Always show all icons in the notification area", but toggling that option had no effect for me - even with Explorer restarts.

  • 1
    Just a further note for anyone interested...it appears to be AutoDesk's Autocad Desktop App that breaks this. I'll bring it up with them.
    – Kyudos
    Jan 25, 2019 at 0:08
  • Something strange happened on this two monitor setup when the secondary (which purports to be the primary) monitor stole all the primary taskbar icons when adjusting the displays. Swapping the displays with "Make this my main display" brought them back, along with the RH systray. No entries at all in the above registry key, however. Feb 17, 2019 at 14:11
  • I had to make sure the "Always show all icons in the notification area" toggle was On, restarted Explorer, then turned it Off. Then this fix worked for me.
    – Tim R.
    Aug 16, 2019 at 23:42
  • 2
    In Windows 1909 the reg key is now just Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies. Feb 4, 2020 at 5:08
  • I had this issue on a machine that doesn't have Autodesk installed. This registry poke fixed it for me, too, though. So there may be more than one possible cause. Feb 4, 2020 at 14:12

A new "sneaky" feature of 1809 (1803?) allows one to hide icons into the area above the up-arrow thus:
Drag them from the taskbar and hold them over the up arrow, whereupon the window opens for the icon to be popped in a location of one's choice.

  • 4
    I'm sure this works, if you have the up arrow icon already, but in the scenario described by the question, there is no up arrow to drag the icon onto, so no window ever opens. Jan 14, 2020 at 21:49
  • There are three monitors in that setup, there's always an up arrow available in the default monitor, not sure about the rest. Jan 15, 2020 at 5:55
  • 2
    Nope. The tray icons only appear on the default monitor, and you can clearly see in the screenshot that there is no up arrow. QED. Jan 22, 2020 at 16:42
  • It shows up loud & clear on this edition of Windows, and as an added bonus, Autocad Desktop manager is not installed. Do you use any virtual desktops? Jan 23, 2020 at 2:25
  • When you say "it" shows up loud & clear... Do you mean the up arrow, on your own PC? Try going into your own Notification Settings and turning on the "Always show all icons" setting; I'm sure you'll notice your own up arrow going away, and then you'll see that you have no way to open that window either to drag an icon in. OP's issue was that even though their Notification settings were not set to always show all icons, that was the effect that they were getting. Feb 3, 2020 at 17:10

I was having a similar problem. The up arrow was there, but it did nothing. The date and Action Center were gone. A few other icons I have set to "always on" were still there. I have no idea what caused my system to do that. This is the first time it happened. I have not installed anything lately, nor applied any system updates. I only noticed this when I tried to pair a new bluetooth headset. I keep the bluetooth icon in the Hidden Icons popup window which would not display.

I found an answer that worked on another forum. It dated from 2018 but it worked for me in Windows 10.

-Go to the Task manager Processes tab
-Find Explorer
-Select it and click Restart

It took a minute for that to complete, but my task bar notification area is back to normal.

Oddly though, when I went back to the Task Manager later, the Explorer process was not listed. Haven't rebooted since then, so it's possible there are side effects of this method.


In order to hide the icons in the taskbar ,right click on the taskbar and select “unpin this program from the taskbar” In order to hide the icons from the system tray , click the arrow button at the right bottom of the screen (next to the notification symbol) , then select customize , you will be taking to another window “Notification area Icons” . There will be the list of ‘Icons’ and their ‘behaviour’.From the behaviour you can select “Hide icon and notifications” to hide a particular icon. Where you can also select “ hide the icon and notifications” or “ Only show notifications” as per your requirement.

  • 1
    I don't have an arrow button at the bottom right - that is part of the problem.
    – Kyudos
    Nov 19, 2018 at 23:24
  • Press windows key type "task bar settings" then press customize and select your desired key and required behavior from the list Nov 19, 2018 at 23:47
  • 1
    As per the OP - I know how to customise the taskbar, and the notification area, and (supposedly) which icons appear there - what I'm saying is none of those options do anything. It doesn't work. I don't want to turn off notifications I want to remove icons from the notification area to the 'up arrow' extension area as per Win7.
    – Kyudos
    Nov 19, 2018 at 23:52

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