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I got a new work laptop recently, it is a HP Elitebook running windows 10 64 bit (version 20H2). The windows taskbar notifications icons can normally be configured from the settings app such as:

enter image description here

I have already attempted to enable them all, enable a few of them and disabled them all - to no avail. This setting has no effect whatsoever on my taskbar.

I also understand that windows normally presents a little arrow in the notifications icon area where you can drag and drop any icons you want to be hidden from view. I've take the following image from google as an example: enter image description here

My taskbar notifications area looks like this:enter image description here I've gone and disabled icons from several apps, but it is still very annoying to have to give up one third of my taskbar to these tiny icons. Turning them off in the settings has no effect. The little arrow is missing for me to hide them.

I'm at a loss as to what else to do to hide them away.

I should add, I do not have rights to modify the registry on this laptop.

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  • Is this work laptop connected to an Active Directory domain? The only reason for this behavior, would be that there is a group policy that is active, that is overriding the Always show all icons in the notification area setting.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 22 '21 at 14:35
  • @Ramhound yes its a work laptop connected via AD. I was hoping there was a solution besides group policy as that would require service desk tickets and change control meetings.
    – Husman
    Feb 22 '21 at 16:10
  • I am suggesting a group policy is already being used to enforce the behavior you describe. I am guessing you don't have the permissions required to verify that is the fact.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 22 '21 at 16:48
  • I understood your suggestion. I was hoping I could do something locally rather than reach out to my IT department and create tickets to check the group policy details and then to ask them to change it. Given the size of the department and their workload, my request would probably not be prioritised at all and if I'm lucky I will get a solution within 12 weeks.
    – Husman
    Feb 22 '21 at 16:55
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    Any solution would requiring if a group policy is indeed being used to enforce the behavior of the Taskbar. I am guessing just calling the IT Department isn't an option? What is the value of HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer!EnableAutoTray?
    – Ramhound
    Feb 22 '21 at 16:58
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This will happen if the setting "Always show all items in the notification area" is enabled. So you will want to disable this.

You can find this setting by right-clicking the taskbar -> Taskbar settings -> Below System Tray -> Link: Select which apps are shown on in the system tray. (may also be called notification area)

In this window, at the very top, the setting to enable all is there. Once disabled, you can use the following settings to indicate if that icon is grouped or not.

You can actually see that setting in your first screenshot.

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  • It is already disabled, as per my image. Just for clarity, I should add, ive tried to enable them all, disable them one by one and disabled the whole lot (I've tried restarting my laptop, ive tried killing explorer.exe and restarting it). None of these toggles takes any effect on my laptop.
    – Husman
    Feb 22 '21 at 14:18

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