There are notable tweaks for customising the taskbar and notification areas in Windows 8 using the Registry Editor and Properties. If you want to clean them – where the icons of the programs run in the background – hacking your way with small edits in registry is easy.
Other users prefer to ditch the small icons completely – found on the lower right side of the taskbar – some might want to display a handful of often-used programs. Either way, the process is simple and doable. We expect you to know your way around the Registry Editor and Control Panel, which means you understand basic to intermediate concepts of adding keys and values.
Note: make sure you are logged in as an Administrator. If not, you may change your status in the user account control (UAC).
How to hide icons using Registry Editor
1. Press “Window + R” to launch the Run bar.
2. In the Run Bar, type regedit.
3. Click “Yes” once the UAC asks for the access.
4. Once you see the Registry Editor, go to this path:
If you can’t find the “Explorer” folder, you must create a key before adding a new value.
5. Right-click the “Policies” folder and then hover the mouse to “New” and choose “Key.” Label the key “Explorer.”
6. Right-click the “Explorer” folder and hover the mouse to “New.” Choose the “DWORD (32-bit) value” and you’ll see it added in the folder.
7. Label the DWORD “NoTrayItemsDisplay”
8. Right-click “NoTrayItemsDisplay” and click “Modify.” Change the value from 0 to 1 and click OK.
9. Exit the Registry Editor and reboot/restart your PC.
You have successfully tweaked the taskbar. Hide the icons when you see this on your screen.
Note: my computer still shows the time and date. Next, we go to task bar Properties to manually hide these two.
Accessing taskbar Properties
To hide the time and date:
1. On the system tray, right-click the space on time and date and choose “Properties,” and it will direct you to Control Panel’s “Notification Area Icons -> System Icons.”
2, Choose OFF among the icons under Behavior column and click OK to completely clean up the system tray.
Notice that there’s a warning that says “Some settings are managed by your system administrator.” You’ll see this after making the changes in the registry; this is also another way to confirm that the changes took effect.
On the other hand, if you wish to get these icons back in the system tray, just follow the first four steps mentioned above. Make sure it’s the same path/folder and then delete the key “Explorer” and all its subkeys – right-click the folder and choose “Delete.”
Exit the Registry Editor and restart your computer.
Meanwhile, if you want to hide only a handful of icons and don’t want to see notifications popping up, simply work your way around “Notification Area Icons” under Control Panel. Uncheck the “Always show all icons and notification on the taskbar” to manually change the settings.
Note: notice that the warning previously seen disappeared after deleting the registry and restoring default icon behaviors.
Adding the NoTrayItemsDisplay value in the Registry Editor quickly solves the issue and puts your tray in a clean slate except that systems icons like date, time, and volume aren’t affected so you can change the settings via Properties in Control Panel. This tweak isn’t too technical, but rather it’s merely used for customisation.