Change how icons appear in the notification area

The notification area is located at the far right of the taskbar by default, and it contains program icons that provide status and notifications about things like incoming e‑mail, updates, and network connectivity. When you install a new program, you can sometimes add an icon for that program to the notification area.

Picture of the notification area, at the far right of the taskbar
You can expand the notification area to view hidden icons

New computers often come with icons already in the notification area, and some programs automatically add an icon to the notification area during installation. You can change which icons and notifications appear in the notification area, and for certain special icons (called system icons), you can choose whether they show up at all.

You can change the order of the icons in the notification area, and the order of hidden icons, by dragging them to the position you want.

Watch this video to learn how to arrange icons in the notification area (1:13)
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To remove or hide an icon from the notification area

  • Click the icon in the notification area and then drag it toward the desktop.

To view hidden icons

  • Click the arrow next to the notification area.

    If the arrow isn't there, you don't have any hidden icons.

To add a hidden icon to the notification area

  • Click the arrow next to the notification area, and then drag the icon you want to move to the notification area. You can drag as many hidden icons to the notification area as you want.

To always show all icons on the taskbar

  1. Right-click an empty area on the taskbar, and then click Properties.

  2. Under Notification area, click Customize.

  3. Select the Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar check box, and then click OK.

To change how icons and notifications appear in the notification area

You can customize how icons and their corresponding notifications behave in the taskbar.

Watch this video to learn how to change how icons and notifications appear in the notification area (1:48)
  1. Right-click an empty area on the taskbar, and then click Properties.

  2. Under Notification area, click Customize.

  3. For each icon, select one of the following options in the list:

    • Show icon and notifications. The icon always remains visible on the taskbar in the notification area and any notifications are displayed.

    • Hide icon and notifications. The icon is hidden and notifications aren't displayed.

    • Only show notifications. The icon is hidden, but if the program triggers a notification balloon, it's displayed on the taskbar.

  4. Click OK.

To turn system icons on or off

System icons, including Clock, Volume, Network, Power, and Action Center, are special icons that are part of Windows. For these icons, you can change how the icons and notifications appear, and also whether they show up at all. You might turn off a system icon if either you or your computer manufacturer have installed a similar program. If you turn a system icon off, you can always turn it back on later.

Watch this video to learn how to turn system icons on or off (1:21)
  1. Right-click an empty area on the taskbar, and then click Properties.

  2. Under Notification area, click Customize.

  3. Click Turn system icons on or off.

  4. For each system icon, click On in the list to show the icon in the notification area, or click Off to completely remove the icon from the notification area.

  5. Click OK, and then click OK again.