Many of the programs put one or more icons in the system tray (also called the notification area) in Windows. They use these icons to display the status of a background process or make it easy for you to access an application’s functions from the system tray. For example, all the antivirus programs drop an icon in the system tray and use it to display the current status of the antivirus program as well as allow you to easily control what can be done with the antivirus program.
But some of these programs are either not coded properly and leave behind these icons in the system tray even after the background processes have been closed. Another reason why the icons are left behind by the programs are because these programs are shutdown improperly and had no chance of actually cleaning up all the resources from the memory. One of such application is FileZilla, it always leaves the big red FileZilla icon behind even after FileZilla was closed properly.
In any of the cases like this, typically you can hover your mouse pointer over the system tray icon to clear up these icons instantly. But if you do not want to be always on the lookout of cleaning the left behind system tray icons then you can use the free SysTray Refresh application. Developed by the NoVirusThanks, this program does only one thing – it keeps the system tray clean of any dead icons.
It has no GUI and perhaps this is why it uses a very small amount of the system resources. As far as the RAM is concerned, it used only 540K of the memory on our test PC. And the CPU use was even less – it stayed to 0% CPU use all the time. It looks like a great way to keep your system tray area clean off the dead notification icons.
You can download SysTray Refresh from http://www.novirusthanks.org/products/systray-refresh/.
This is a welcomed utility for which I’m grateful for. However, this program uses significant CPU time for what it does, and it really should have also been distributed as a simple portable install where the user can simply add a shortcut to the SysTrayRefresh.exe in their startup folder (or run and terminate the program as needed).
What I ended up doing with this utility is creating my own portable edition by simply copying the ‘SysTrayRefresh.exe’ file from the ‘Program Files’ directory and then uninstalling the program (even better yet, install this utility in a VM snapshot so it will leave no registry traces on your system). Rather than having SysTrayRefresh.exe running continuously, trickling CPU, I simply run it when needed from a script (i.e. after a process is killed or abnormally ended) and then terminate it.
Suggestions to the developer: 1) Make it portable; 2) provide command-line switches to both ‘Terminate’ AND to ‘Run/Refresh Once and Terminate; 3) Optimize/minimize the CPU usage.
Again, many thanks to the developer for creating this utility and to Trisha for blogging about it! (that’s how I discovered it) -JT 🙂
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