How Do I Delete Unwanted Items From the Notification Area on the Task Bar?

Written by emilio alvarez
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How Do I Delete Unwanted Items From the Notification Area on the Task Bar?
Delete unwanted items from the Notification Area. (Mensch und Computer 4 image by Sven Rausch from

Its not uncommon to have a bundle of icons in the Windows system tray or notification area, but it can be really frustrating when consistent notifications appear. This is generally caused by downloaded applications that automatically place shortcuts in this area or past notifications from software you've installed. Simply deleting these manually from the system tray might not resolve the problem, since these reappear when you restart your computer. If this is the case, you will need to configure Startup or perform basic changes in the Registry to eliminate the problem.

Skill level:


    Configuring Startup

  1. 1

    Click on the "Start" menu, click on "Run" and type "msconfig" at the command prompt. The System Configuration Utility opens up.

  2. 2

    Select the "Startup" tab. A list of programs display under the "Startup Item" column. Select the items you wish to remove from the list and click the "Disable" button. This will not remove the programs from your computer; it simply disable them from launching when your computer starts.

  3. 3

    Press "Apply," then "OK" to confirm the action.

    Remove past items through the Registry

  1. 1

    Click "Start" and then and click "Run," type "regedit" at the command prompt and press "OK." The Registry Editor opens up.

  2. 2

    Expand the "HKEY_CURRENT_USER" hive, then continue expanding the following keys: "SOFTWARE," "Microsoft," "Windows," "CurrentVersion," "Explorer," then click on the "TrayNotify" folder.

  3. 3

    Make sure the contents listed on the right pane, corresponding to "TrayNotify," include the items "IconStreams" and "PastIconsStream."

  4. 4

    Right-click on those two files and choose "Delete" from the drop-down menu.

  5. 5

    Access the Task Manager. Right-click on the Taskbar and select "Task Manager" from the drop-down menu.

  6. 6

    Select the "Processes" tab. Right-click on the "explorer.exe" process. Select "End Process Tree" from the drop-down menu.

  7. 7

    Click on the "File" menu within the Task Manager window and select "New Task." Type "Explorer" on the text field and click "OK."

  8. 8

    Make sure there are no past notification items in the System Tray (Taskbar's Notification Area). Right-click on an empty space within the System Tray, next to the clock and select "Customize Notifications..." from the drop-down menu.

    The "Past Notifications" section in the "Customize Notifications" window should be empty.

Tips and warnings

  • For your system's security, it is recommended that you make sure your antivirus programs start up automatically.

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