| By Lincoln Spector |
On most PCs, the Windows notification area, originally meant for small apps you always want running, is choked with all sorts of programs that shouldn’t be there.
Putting some order back into the notification area will remove app clutter, plus it might help your PC boot faster and possibly fix those previously unexplainable system problems.
A special place for a special type of app
Everybody wants to be in your PC’s notification area, the area on the right-hand section of your taskbar that Microsoft used to call the system tray or systray. When you booted your new PC for the first time, an array of tiny icons probably decorated your notification area like medals on the chest of a tinhorn dictator. Half the programs you’ve installed since then have probably put their own icons there.
(If you’re not sure what one of these icons is, point to it with the mouse until its name pops up. You can also right-click most of these icons for a menu of controls and options.)
If these icons were just shortcuts to productivity programs, equivalent to the ones placed on your desktop or in the Quick Launch pad, you could ignore them or delete them. But notification-area icons are different. Each one is a separately running program, loading each time you boot your computer and taking up memory and resources.
And sometimes they conflict with each other. It’s worth your while to get rid of as many of those notification-area programs as possible. (Windows 7 allows you to hide most of them inside a pop-up window, but that’s only a cosmetic fix.)