How to manage and display all system tray icons in Windows 11

Nov 28, 2021
Updated • Nov 28, 2021
Windows 11 Help

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.

How to manage system tray icons in 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.

system tray icons in Windows 11

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)


display all system tray icons in Windows 11

This will open the Control Panel that allows you to "Always Show all icons and notifications on the taskbar".

How to display all system tray icons in Windows 11

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.

How to display all system tray icons in Windows 11
Article Name
How to display all system tray icons in Windows 11
Learn how to manage system tray icons in Windows 11. We teach you a trick to display all icons on the tray.
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  1. No One said on January 7, 2023 at 10:15 pm

    As another stated, this only lasts until restart.

    After restarting, when I use explorer ‘shell:::{05d7b0f4-2121-4eff-bf6b-ed3f69b894d9}’, the “Always show all icons …” button is checked. I found that unchecking, exiting, then running the shell command again and re-checking works… until restart.

    Does anyone know where in the registry this is saved?

    Like always Microsoft doesn’t have a clue how people use their operating system. Taking this option away is another disservice to their customers.

  2. Manfred said on November 18, 2022 at 2:37 am

    In previous Windows versions the tray icons were wide unless room was needed then common icons would collapse together. Any way to make Windows 11 tray icons wide rather then square?

  3. Chris said on July 26, 2022 at 7:45 am

    i was very hopeful, but windows 10 – all updates installed – opening this worked as described, but nothing is saved/changed. so it did not work. madness. a WORLD full of computer users & we are not having simple solutions for this stuff!

  4. Robert said on February 9, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    Mine is already checked and I am unable to make any changes on that screen.

  5. John G. said on November 29, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    Good article, it has been very useful for me! Thanks @Ashwin! :]

  6. Anonymous said on November 28, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    Control panel is superior. Settings app is still garbage with a new look.

  7. moinmoin said on November 28, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    This works only until the restart

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