Manage and display System Tray Icons in Windows 10

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 11, 2015
Updated • Nov 11, 2018
Windows, Windows 10
|
11

If you have checked out a version of Windows 10 already, you may have noticed that the operating system handles certain things different to previous versions of Windows.

One of those changes in my opinion is how System Tray icons are handled by the system on the desktop.

While the System Tray is still there, Microsoft has changed how users select which of the system tray icons are displayed on the taskbar and which are not.

System Tray icons have three visibility levels: always visible, show notifications, or hide completely. If an icon is not displayed by default, you need to find a way to display it as you cannot use the customize link to make that change.

Windows 10 displays only icons of programs or tasks that are active at the time but not for programs that are not.

windows 10 system tray

The option to manage System Tray icons is still there but Microsoft removed the link that users could activate to get to the right management interface.

select icons taskbar windows 10

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Right-click on a blank space on the Windows 10 taskbar and select Taskbar Settings
  2. The link "Select which icons appear on the taskbar" gives you options to enable or disable icons on the taskbar.
    • Tip: select "Always show all icons in the notification area" to display all icons automatically.
  3. You may toggle icons so that only those icons that you want displayed are visible while all other icons are hidden.
  4. The link "Turn system icons on or off" does the same for System Icons such as the clock, volume, or Action Center.

Microsoft changed or removed the options below in newer versions of Windows 10.

Old information

One option that you have is to open the notification control panel applet manually.

  1. Tap on Windows-Pause to open the System Control Panel applet.
  2. Switch to "All Control Panel Items" on the screen to display them all in the window.
  3. Select Notification Area Icons from the list of items.

The window that opens displays all know System Tray icons and their visibility status. Use it to make the necessary modifications to one or multiple icons and click on the ok button afterwards to save those.

windows 10 notification icons

It is necessary to repeat the process whenever you need to modify the behavior of another icon, for instance from a program that you just installed on the system.

The second option that you have is to use the Settings (former PC Settings) Control Panel instead. You can open it with a click on the Notifications icon in the System Tray area.Select all settings from the sidebar that opens and on the next screen system and then the "notifications & actions" item.Finally, select the "select which icons appear on the taskbar" link near the top of the window to display all desktop programs on the screen.

system settings icons

There you only have options to enable or disable it on the taskbar. The menu lacks the other customization option that the classic Control Panel offers. Since both options are opened quickly enough, it is usually better to use the Control Panel whenever you want to change the visibility of System Tray icons on Windows 10.

Tip: The Notifications & Actions menu leads to another option. If you click on the "turn system icons on or off" link in the menu, you are taken to a new configuration page where you can display or hide system icons such as volume, network, action center or the input indicator.

system settings icons

A third option is to right-click on the taskbar and select properties from the context menu. Once the new window opens, select customize from it to open the System Tray options. (Thanks Dan)

It is unclear if the customize link is just missing in the Technical Preview of Windows 10 or if Microsoft made the decision to remove it for good. Considering that it was there before, the latter seems likely.

The change is not overly problematic but it could throw some users off who expect the customize option to be there after they upgrade from another Windows version to Windows 10.

Now You: Are there changes in Windows 10 that you don't like?

Summary
Manage and display System Tray Icons in Windows 10
Article Name
Manage and display System Tray Icons in Windows 10
Description
Find out how to customize the display and visibility of System Tray icons in Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system.
Author
Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
Logo
Advertisement

Tutorials & Tips


Previous Post: «
Next Post: «

Comments

  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am
    Reply

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am
    Reply

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm
      Reply

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm
    Reply

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am
      Reply

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am
    Reply

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am
    Reply

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm
      Reply

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm
    Reply

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm
      Reply

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm
    Reply

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm
    Reply

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm
      Reply

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm
    Reply

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:
    https://www.msi.com/news/detail/MSI-On–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm
    Reply

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:
    https://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-puts-little-blame-on-its-windows-update-after-unsupported-processor-bsod-bug/

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:
    https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/microsoft/microsoft-blames-unsupported-processor-blue-screens-on-oem-vendors/

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm
    Reply

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm
    Reply

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am
    Reply

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):

    https://www.msi.com/news/detail/Updated-BIOS-fixes-Error-Message–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm
    Reply

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.