Tech Tip Tuesday – How to Show icon in Windows notification area

How to Manage and Hide Notification Icons on the Windows Taskbar

Manage and Hide Notification Icons in Windows 10

The steps and interface to hide notification icons in the Windows taskbar are a bit different between Windows 7, Windows 8, and the upcoming Windows 10, so we’ll highlight the differences below. However, all operating systems share a common starting point, and that is to right-click on an empty space in your desktop taskbar and select Properties.

windows 10 taskbar properties

In the Taskbar and Navigation Properties window, find the section labeled “Notification Area” and click Customize.

windows 10 taskbar and start menu properties

Manage and Hide Notification Icons in Windows XP, 7 and Windows 8

In Windows 7 and 8, you’ll see a new Control Panel window appear, called Notification Area Icons. This lists all of your currently installed apps and programs that offer taskbar notification support. If you wish to show every icon all the time, check the box at the bottom of the window labeled Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar.

windows 8 hide notification icons

For most users, however, this is overkill. Instead, make sure that box is unchecked, which will let you set individual visibility settings for each app separately. Simply browse through the list of applications, which will differ from our screenshots based upon your unique software, and use the drop-down menu to set a “behavior” for each. Options include:

Show icon and notifications: This setting will always show the notification icon in the taskbar, even if there are no active notifications to display. Note that while some apps and system icons will always show up, the notification icons for other apps, such as Skype or VLC, will only show up when those apps are open and running on your PC.

Hide icon and notifications: This will always hide the icon, even if the app has notifications to display. You’d generally only want to set this for applications that are bugging you with too many notifications, or for apps which aren’t crucial to your workflow. An example would be your graphics card settings, or a secondary file sync service.

Only show notifications: This setting will hide the icon unless the corresponding app has an active notification to show you. For example, if you configure your network icon to this setting, it will hide the icon unless you lose connectivity.

To manage or hide system icons — clock, volume, network, power (for laptops and tablets), action center, and inputs — click Turn system icons on or off, which will display a new “System Icons” window. Unlike normal app notifications, however, this window has a simple “On/Off” selection for each icon.

windows 8 system icons

In general, it’s best to configure your critical or most-used apps and system settings to always show their notification icon, ensuring that you’ll never miss an important alert. For other apps, the best setting is to show notifications only, which will keep the icons from cluttering up your desktop unless you need to be alerted to something important. Finally, only hide notifications for less important apps, as you’ll want to know if your OneDrive is encountering sync issues, if someone has invited you to a Google Hangout, or if you lose your network connection.

Manage and Hide Notification Icons in Windows 10

When you select Properties from the taskbar in Windows 10, you’re taken to a new Notifications section of the Windows 10 Settings interface. Here, click Turn system icons on or off.

windows 10 notification settings

The interface here is a bit different from that in Windows 7 and 8, but the concepts are the same. If you’d like to always show all icons, turn the designated slider at the top of the window to On. Otherwise, set it to Off and then designate a status for your individual apps.

windows 10 hide taskbar notification icons

Unlike Windows 7 and 8, however, there’s no option to hide a notification icon completely. By setting an app to “Off,” you’re configuring it the same as the “Only show notifications” option from Windows 7 and 8. That is, Windows 10 will hide the icon most of the time, but will show any notifications it produces. Conversely, setting an app to “On” means that the icon and notifications will be visible in the taskbar all the time.

The reason for this change is that Windows 10 handles all notifications through the new Notification Center, which combines traditional app notifications for desktop apps with modern app alerts, alarms and reminders, and social media updates. You can obtain more control over exactly how and when you’re alerted to all of these updates via the Notification Center Settings, which is the first window that appears when right-clicking on the taskbar and selecting “Properties.”

windows hide notification icons

In all of the above-mentioned versions of Windows, you can still access your “hidden” notification center icons by clicking on the upward-pointing arrow to left of the notification area. This will reveal a pop-up with all hidden icons, and you can also click the Customize button (in Windows 7 and 8) to jump right back to Control Panel and make further changes.

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Upgrade to Windows 10 for free and maybe a free Dell notebook

Microsoft Canada and US are offering an awesome deal!

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Schedule an appointment at the local Microsoft store (within the lower mainland would be Metrotown in Burnaby) and take in either computer and the Microsoft technician’s will upgrade your operating system to Windows 10 and for how much? How does free sound.

Not only is this a great deal, but if Microsoft is not able to to upgrade your computer by the time the store closes that day they will give you a brand new Dell Inspirion 15 notebook (which of course will have Windows 10 installed)!

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So what’s the catch? All you need to do is make sure that your existing computer is at the Microsoft store by noon!

Best case you get to go home with your existing computer is upgraded to Windows 10 for free along with an awesome brand new Dell notebook!

In order to obtain this deal from Microsoft – click here (opens in New Window)

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