Clean Old Icons from Notification Area in Windows 7

Windows 7 has a unique notification area (previously called the System Tray). It automatically hides the inactive icons and shows only active ones. You can customize the notification area and choose which icons to hide, which ones to show etc. The only annoying part of the Windows 7 notification area is that it retains older icons from older application too – from the programs that you uninstalled or removed ages ago. On top of that, there is no option given using which you can clean or reset those older icons. But there is a registry hack using which you can clean the old icons from the notification area. Here is how :

  1. Press the keyboard combination Windows logo key + R to open the Run dialog. In the Run dialog, type regedit.exe and press Enter to start the Registry Editor.

    Clean Notification Area in Windows 7

  2. In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key :
    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareClassesLocal SettingsSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionTrayNotify
  3. In the right-side pane, you would find two values IconStreams and PastIconsStreams. Select them one-by-one and press the Del key on your keyboard to delete them.

    Clean Notification Area in Windows 7

  4. Press the keyboard combination Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Windows Task Manager. In the Task Manager, select the Processes tab. Then select explorer.exe from the list of running processes. Right-click on it and choose End Process to terminate it as shown.

    Clean Notification Area in Windows 7

  5. In the Task Manager, select File → New Task from the menubar. Then type explorer.exe in the Create New Task dialog and press Enter to start the Windows Explorer again.

    Clean Notification Area in Windows 7

  6. That’s it. You have cleaned up your notification area of all the old junk icons from ages ago.

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