When was the last time you launched something from the Windows notification area? The notification area, also called the system tray, is located towards the right of the Windows taskbar, just to the left of the system clock. It houses icons for applications that are running and delivers notifications for your PC, such as updates.
If your Windows notification area is taking up too much of your prime real estate, here’s how to get rid of it and reclaim some valuable taskbar space. You can get to all the important notifications and updates in other easy ways.
How to Disable the Notification Area in Windows 10
There are a few ways in which you can approach this.
1. Using Local Group Policy for All Users
This tweak only works if you are running the Pro, Enterprise, or Education edition of Windows 10, and you must be signed in as an administrator to show or hide the notification area. Here’s what to do.
- Press Win + R to open Run.
- Type in “gpedit.msc” and click on OK.
- In the left panel of the Local Group Policy Editor, under User Configuration, expand Administrative Templates.
- Click on Start Menu and Taskbar to open its settings.
- In the right panel, double-click Hide the notification area.
- Select Enabled in the window that opens up and click OK to hide the Windows taskbar notification area.
- If you want to unhide the taskbar notification area, select Not Configured in Step 6.
You will need to restart File Explorer for the changes to take effect.
2. Using Local Group Policy for a Specific User
You can also apply this change to a specific user or set of users. To do this, you’ll first need to set up Local Group Policy for a specific user(s), which we’ve covered separately.
Once that’s done, double-click the file created for modifying the Local Group Policy for a specific user to open up the console for that user or group, and follow steps three to seven listed above to hide or unhide the notification area in Windows.
3. Using the Registry Editor
The registry editor is a powerful tool you can use to make Windows behave the way you want. Here’s how to hide the notification area by editing the Windows Registry.
- Open the Registry Editor.
- Perform steps three to six for each of the following folders in the registry:
- To hide the taskbar notification area in Windows, right-click in the black space on the right panel and select New > DWORD.
- Rename it NoTrayItemsDisplay.
- Double-click this newly created DWORD and set its value to “1.”
- To show or unhide the notification area in Windows, delete the DWORDs in each location of the registry.
Alternative Ways to Launch System Tray Programs
You may be accustomed to launching programs from the taskbar notification area, but once you’ve hidden the system tray, you won’t be able to use it to launch programs. For instance, you’ll need to use one of many alternative ways to eject external drives.
The system tray provides other functionality that can just as easily be circumvented, such as connecting to Wi-Fi, which you probably won’t need that often; turning on Bluetooth; launching a Windows system update; opening system sound settings; and launching the volume mixer.
Everything else can easily be reached via the Start menu or through Windows Settings.
Say Goodbye to the Unused Taskbar Notification Zone
Give yourself more screen space by ridding your PC of what arguably should be a grandfathered feature. You don’t really need to have those notifications where Microsoft puts them. And, you can always as easily undo your changes and get back to a familiar taskbar should you prefer it that way.