Windows Adjustments: Thin Out Your System Tray

Your system tray – the rightmost area of your Windows task bar, usually inhabited by small icons and the Windows clock – will probably start looking like an aerial photograph of unsold cars if you have a lot of stuff happening on your computer. As the real estate occupied by the system tray reduces the available breathing room for the rest of the task bar, it’s worth adjusting your system tray’s behavior to minimize its footprint.

Right-click on the Windows Start button and select Properties. Select the Task Bar tab and click on Customize. A list of all your system tray items will appear. Click on each item and set it to Hide When Inactive or Always Hide – the latter is usually preferable. You will still be able to access hidden system tray items by expanding your system tray when you need to get at them – click on the << button in the system tray. In the likely event that you own a watch or work in a room with a conventional clock, you might also want to switch off the Show Clock item in the Properties window – the clock is something of a space vampire. While you have the Properties dialog open, you should consider meddling with two more of its options. Turn off the Keep Taskbar On Top of Other Windows option to prevent the task bar from hogging the bottom portion of your desktop when it’s not needed. It can be summoned by holding down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and hitting Esc.

You might also want to consider enabling Auto-Hide the Task Bar, which will render the task bar wholly invisible even if just your desktop is visible, until you summon it with Ctrl Esc or slam your cursor right down to the bottom of your screen.

Please see the disclaimers for Windows Adjustments before you apply the information at this post.

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