Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Disable and Turn Off System Tray (Notification Area) to Hide Icons in Windows XP and Vista

Many programs put an icon in the system tray or notification area for easy and quick access, besides providing some progress indication or notification when needed. But not everybody appreciate the importance of systray. If you feel that notification system tray area is of no use to use, and you want to recover the bottom right space to make more room for Windows Taskbar, it’s possible to turn off and disable system tray with a simple registry hack.


  1. Click on Start button.
  2. In Windows XP, click Run and then type regedit and hit ENTER. In Windows Vista, type regedit into Start Search and hit ENTER.
  3. Navigate to the following registry key in Registry Editor:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\
    Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

  4. Right click on Explorer, and then select New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value (DWORD Value in Windows XP). Type NoTrayItemsDisplay as its value name.

    Skip this step is NoTrayItemsDisplay registry entry is already available. Note that is NoTrayItemsDisplay, and not NoTrayItemDisplay.

  5. Double click on NoTrayItemsDisplay, and set the value data to 1.

  6. Log off and log on again or restart computer to make the change effective.

Once set, all program, system and application icons will be hidden and does not been shown. Don’t worry, the applications are still running as usual, just that the icons are hidden. The only thing left is the clock, as shown in figure below.

To re-enable and bring back the notification area or system tray to the display, just delete the NoTrayItemsDisplay registry key, or change the value data for the key to 0. Beside, if you suddenly lose or cannot find all your icons on the system tray (it’s different from missing icons in system tray notification area), try searching for NoTrayItemsDisplay registry key at above and any location, and if found, set its value to 0.