How to manage and display all system tray icons in Windows 11
A quick way to access some programs in Window, is by using their shortcut's icon displayed in the system tray. When Windows 10 came out, Microsoft made some changes to the way how the icons were shown, and the same applies to Windows 11.
The operating system only displays a handful of the icons at a time. To view the full list of shortcuts, you will need to click the caret button, which shows the rest of the icons in a pop-up panel. The idea seems good on paper, your taskbar looks neat with fewer elements on it. And This may not be an issue if you only access the shortcuts occasionally, but if it's the other way around, you may want to have the icons readily available.
With Windows 10, managing the system tray icons was a bit simpler. But, Microsoft changed the right-click menu of the Taskbar in Windows 11, so it takes a couple of extra steps to do the same.
How to display and manage system tray icons in Windows 11
1. Right-click anywhere on the taskbar, and you'll see an option that says Taskbar Settings. You can also get to this page by navigating to the Personalization > Taskbar page in the Settings app.
2. Scroll down the page, and you will see a list of programs that are allowed to display an icon in the taskbar corner overflow, aka the system tray. Go over the list, and decide which ones you'd like to have quick access to.
3. To turn an icon off, just toggle the switch next to the program's name. It is worth mentioning that the list includes Windows system icons such as Windows Security, which is used for opening Windows Defender. So, think twice before disabling the icon.
This is optional, but while you are on the same Settings page, you may choose to toggle the icons for the Pen Menu, Touch Keyboard, and Virtual Touchpad. If you don't use any of the features, why bother having the shortcuts enabled?
4. Click the caret button in the system tray to view all the icons, now click and drag an icon from the pop-up panel to the tray, and it will be displayed on the tray permanently. Similarly, to hide a shortcut from the tray, drag it to the panel instead.
Now, that takes care of managing system tray icons, you can hide and show the shortcuts that you want. You were maybe wondering whether there is a way to show or hide all the tray icons. There used to be an option for this, in the Control Panel > Notification Area Icons, but that was in Windows 11. Microsoft removed the option in Windows 11, so even if you try to access it from the Control Panel, it will just redirect you to the Settings app's Taskbar page, which we mentioned earlier.
But, not to worry. The Control Panel applet still exists, Windows 11 just hides it. To access it, open the Run command with Windows + R, and paste the following code in it. (credit: WinAero)
This will open the Control Panel that allows you to "Always Show all icons and notifications on the taskbar".
Hit the Ok button to apply the changes, and you are good to go. You may also toggle the behavior of the icons, i.e., whether the icons should be displayed permanently, or only when notifications are available.Advertisement