Take control of the taskbar notification area

The notification area, at the far right of the taskbar, shows system messages and alerts, and displays the icons of programs and services that typically run in the background, such as Windows 7’s wireless service. But what determines when, how and which icons show up there seems one of Windows’ great mysteries.

There’s a simple way to find out, and better yet, to customize it.

notification

1. Right-click the taskbar, select Properties, and from the dialog box in the notification area section, click Customize.

2. For each application, select from the drop-down box whether you want the icon and notifications to always be displayed, to never be displayed or to have an icon appear only when there’s a notification of some kind. Click OK when you’re done.

You can also customize the system icons and services that appear there, including the clock, volume, network, power and Action Center icons. At the bottom of the same screen, click “Turn system icons on or off,” and from the screen that appears, choose whether to turn on or off the icon and notifications. Click OK twice when you’re done.

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