Cleaning Notification Area Icons in Vista/Windows 7

Just thought I would quickly post a little tip on how to clean your notification items from Windows Vista/7..

What are Notification Area Icons?

imageIn Vista/7 you have the ability to control how items in the taskbar tray are displayed (hidden, always shown etc).

This list can actually get rather bloated, especially for us developers when we are building applications that sit in the tray (you actually end up getting two entries, one for the debug, one for the release). So, you may find it is getting a bit unmanageable and want to give it a clean.

NOTE: This will remove ALL entries from the list – including settings you may/will want to keep!

You will therefore need to reconfigure items that you want to always show in the tray etc.

Some people may be asking “why not just use the reset link provided?” – Well, it doesn’t clean, it just resets. So if you have many icons that you have previously set to “Always Show” and then deleted. They will just revert back to “Hide/Only Show Notifications” (or whatever) as opposed to actually being removed from the list.

(If at this point you are still unsure what Notification Area Icons are or how they affect your system – this blog post may not be for you).

So How Do I Do It?

Pretty simple, just execute this registry script:

   1: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify]
   2: "PromotedIconCache"=-
   3: "PastIconsStream"=-
   4: "IconStreams"=-

imageThis will basically blitz the cached items in Explorer. We then need to restart this process so open Task Manager (CTRL + SHIFT + ESC) right-click explorer and click “End Process”. Don’t panic, the taskbar etc is supposed to disappear, that’s the point :)

Then in Task Manager, click “File > New Task (Run…)” and then enter “explorer.exe” and all will return to normal. Note your Tray Icon/Notification settings are now squeaky clean!

Hope this helps :)


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