Icons in the System Tray

Category: Windows

I have a large number of icons in my system tray (in the left hand lower corner of the screen) which I don't use and would like to remove. Do they in anyway slow down the computer?

What is a Quick Launch icon?

No, those icons will not slow down your computer, because they do not represent actively running programs. They are "quick launch" icons, which are placed there by software installation programs, ostensibly for your convenience. The only difference between these icons and the ones on your desktop is that you can single-click on a quick launch icon to start the associated program, whereas desktop icons must be double-clicked.

Getting Rid of a Quick Launch icon

Software makers like to clutter up your Windows task bar with these quick launch icons because it gives the icon (and thus the company's brand) more visibility on your desktop. To delete a quick launch icon, you can right-click it and then select Delete. My personal opinion is that quick launch icons have little value. Fortunately, you can turn off the quick launch toolbar if you find it not to your liking. To do so, right-click an empty spot on the task bar, select Toolbars, then click to de-select Quick Launch. You can turn it back on by following the same procedure.

What about those icons over on the right?

Unlike the quick launch icons, the little icons on the right-hand side of the task bar do represent actively running programs. To find out what program is associated with an icon, let your mouse cursor hover over the icon (without clicking) and a text balloon will show the name of the program. Most of these programs can be safely terminated by right-clicking and then selecting Exit. Some also let you change the options so they won't appear every time you start your computer.

For more information on controlling what programs are automatically launched at startup time, see
the article Making Windows XP Start Faster.

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Most recent comments on "Icons in the System Tray"

Posted by:

Gene Scharmann
03 Aug 2005

Greetings from Norway. As to the Quick Lunch (or Launch) panel, if you reduce the width of the QL pane and 'Lock Toolbars' you can limit the visible icons, and you get the 'More...>>' chevron to see the whole list. Personally (and I guess that's why the call it a 'Personal Computer') I have 4 icons visible, and a screen length menu when I click 'More...'.

Just a comment, take it to heart or whatever, but don't stop your *fantastic* work. -- Gene

Posted by:

25 Jan 2006

Great help, Bob I wish I had found you years ago, Thanks for clear explanation in user friendly lingo.

Much appreciated, David

Posted by:

05 Jun 2008

I was about ready to throw my computer out the window -- then I read you article regarding registry cleaners. I downloaded one of the recommended, and as soon as I used it it made a HUGE difference. My computer runs like brand new! Thanks a bunch Bob!!! I have already recommended this to a few people, and will continue to do so.

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