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Chapter 3. The User Interface > Notification Area

Notification Area

The notification area, commonly known as the Tray, is the small area at the far right (or bottom) of the Taskbar, which, by default, holds the clock and the tiny, yellow speaker icon. With the exception of the clock, the purpose of the tray is to hold status icons (see Figure 3-17) placed there by Windows and other running applications. Hold the mouse cursor over the clock to see the date temporarily or right-click on an empty area of the Taskbar and click Properties to turn the clock on or off and change other settings. (Sorry, no permanent date is available without a third-party utility—see http://www.annoyances.org/.)

Figure 3-19. The Notification Area (Tray), located on the far end of your Taskbar, holds the clock and icons for some running processes


The Tray can be a convenient place for applications to display information and quick access to certain features, but there is little standardization among Tray icons. Some icons are clicked, others are double-clicked, others require a right-click, and some don’t get clicked at all. Some flash, some don’t. Most icons can be disabled, but some just won’t go away. Most support tooltips, so you can find out what each icon does by holding the mouse over it for a second or two.

The only way to turn the notification area off completely is to hide each of the icons (and the clock) individually. However, you can selectively hide icons by going to Control Panel [Appearance and Themes] Taskbar and Start Menu Taskbar tab Customize. See “Taskbar and Start Menu Properties” in Chapter 4 for more information, and See Chapter 5 for additional settings that affect the Taskbar, the notification area, and the icons that routinely appear there.


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