How Do I Remove Icons From The Notification Area?

Theresa from Lethbridge AB Canada writes:

In Windows 7, how do you delete icons and notifications from the list (under customize) in the personalize section? How do these get entered here and is there a way to decide what goes here? I have tried deleting these but there is no way to do this.

This is a common misconception about how the notification area in Windows 7 works, and unfortunately Microsoft’s terminology doesn’t make it any clearer. Icons actually only show up in this area if that program is currently running, so the only sure-fire way to prevent an icon from appearing in the notification area is to turn it off and then prevent it from opening again on startup.

If there are programs that you don’t want to appear in this area, such as “noisy” software that is constantly giving you pop-up notifications, you may have already tried to hide the icon by clicking the “customize” link.

Customize Link

In this window is an option to change any program’s setting to “hide icon and notifications.” Unfortunately this setting isn’t what it appears to be at first. Rather than stopping the icon from appearing in the notification area, it “hides” the icon by moving it off the Start bar directly and into the pop-up window that only appears when you click the arrow icon. Obviously this doesn’t actually prevent the icon from appearing in the notification area.

Hiding Notification Icons

If you don’t want an icon to show up, and don’t want to see its various pop-up notifications, your only remaining option is to completely shut it down. Click the arrow icon in the notification area to bring up the full list of “hidden” icons. Right-click the icon you want to remove and choose “exit” to close down the program.

Closing A Program

In some cases the icon may not give you the ability to shut down the program by right-clicking. In this instance, you’ll need to press “Ctrl,” “Alt,” and “Delete” at the same time and then click “Start Task Manager.” Navigate to the “Processes” tab and locate the name of the program. Click the program’s name and then click the “End Process” button at the bottom of the window.

Ending Processes

The program will likely just start up again automatically when you restart your computer, however. To keep this from happening, navigate to the Start bar and type the word “msconfig” into the search box.


Navigate to the “Startup” tab positioned at the top of the window between the “Services” and “Tools” tab. Scroll through the list of programs and locate the program you just shut down. Remove the check mark in the box positioned to the left of the program’s name, and then click the “Apply” button at the bottom of the window.

Startup Tab

Restart your operating system to save the change and prevent the icon form appearing in the notification area.

~ Ty Arthur

0 thoughts on “How Do I Remove Icons From The Notification Area?

  1. Hi Arthur,

    Most of the installed programs have the ‘Load along with Windows/startup’ option ticked by default, as if we can not live without those programs anytime. Worse is some of the programs like messengers (especially, Yahoo) have this option in hard to find places, and not within options. And even after you deselect that option, these programs reselect the option automatically once you access them.I feel this type of programming is intrusive.

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