How to Clear / Remove Unwanted Items from “Hide Inactive Icons” Customization Box History in Notification Area of Windows

UPDATE: This tutorial will also help you in fixing a weird problem in Windows when system icons (volume, network and power icons) do not appear in notification area (system tray) until you restart your computer.

Recently an AskVG reader "Marcus Giardino" sent us an email about following problem:

In the NOTIFICATION AREA ICONS list located in the taskbar, there are list of programs that you can hide or show. When you uninstall a program, the icon for that program remains. How do I remove icons for uninstalled programs from this list?

Actually that's true. Windows doesn't remove uninstalled program icon from "Hide Inactive Icons" list automatically and sometimes it becomes annoying.

If you doesn't know about "Hide Inactive Icons" feature, lets provide some details about it.

Have you ever noticed the small arrow present near System Tray icons in Windows Taskbar? Following are 3 screenshots of Windows XP, Vista and 7 Taskbar:

Windows XP:

Hidden_Inactive_Icons_Win_XP.png

Windows Vista:

Hidden_Inactive_Icons_Win_Vista.png

Windows 7:

Hidden_Inactive_Icons_Win_7.png

This arrow is used to hide inactive icons and once you click on the arrow, it shows all icons for a few seconds.

You can enable/disable this feature using Taskbar Properties. You can also customize which icons should be always visible or hidden:

Windows XP "Hide Inactive Icons" Customization Box:

Notification_Area_Past_Icons_Win_XP.png

Windows Vista "Hide Inactive Icons" Customization Box:

Notification_Area_Past_Icons_Win_Vi.png

Windows 7 "Hide Inactive Icons" Customization Box:

Notification_Area_Past_Icons_Win7.png

As you can see in above 3 screenshots, Windows shows all system tray icons in the list and you can customize them according to your requirements.

In the last screenshot, "oldmcdonald.exe" program has been removed from the system but its icon is still visible in the list.

So today in this tutorial, we are going to share a small registry trick to CLEAR "Hide Inactive Icons" history list which will help in removing those unwanted past items from the customization box.

So here we go:

1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

2. Now go to following key:

For Windows XP:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\TrayNotify

For Windows Vista and Later:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify

3. In right-side pane, you'll see following 2 Binary values:

  • IconStreams
  • PastIconsStream

Windows XP:

Remove_Notification_Area_Icons_Hist.png

Windows Vista and Later:

Remove_Notification_Area_Icons_H-1.png

4. Delete both binary values, close Registry Editor and restart your system or log off. You can also restart Explorer as given here to take effect.

It'll clear the "Hide Inactive Icons" history and all those unwanted icons from uninstalled programs will be removed from the list.

PS: If you want ready-made registry scripts to do the task automatically, download following ZIP file, extract it and run the extracted REG file. it'll ask for confirmation, accept it:

Download Registry Script





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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP


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Comments

  • how do i disable customize notification past items so that i dont have to delete the tray notify past items every time. pls guide me

  • VG

    ^^ You can disable it using Taskbar Properties.

  • The manual method doesn't work for me!

  • Those unwanted icons from uninstalled programs weren't removed from the list in the customization box after following the steps you have given above. Instead, a little flag has appeared in front of each of the unwanted icon from the uninstalled programs in the list in the customization box. How do I completely remove these unwanted icons from the list in the customization box ??

  • Hi Same for me. I deleted the 2 references and logged off but they returned Now I have the action centre flag against the uninstalled programs

  • I have W7 and the advice from other sources go on to click the Task Manager and take a number of steps including type in explorer in the text field - all of which I followed precisely and would you believe it nothing had changed and that was days ago. The 2 deled "streams" have also returned.

  • Hey jamejon, try restarting your explorer.exe (through task manager) right after deleting the entries.

  • Everything went OK until I Used the Key, there were no items Iconstreams or Pasticon streams

    Can you advise please?

    Julian

  • Worked as it says it would (using Win 8.1).

    You must do as crudebuster says after deleting the registry entries and ctrl+alt+del to bring up Task Manager, then End Task for "explorer.exe"

    The taskbar will then disappear, ctrl+alt+del again and "Start New Task" and type "explorer.exe"

    Thanks for this info, much appreciated.

  • Hi this doesn't work in Windows 8. Any ideas?

  • Hey it's working only like crudebuster said.Nice post overall. these win 8 are annoying..Where are xp... (:..i wish Microsoft revert all these new-old os..and reurn to a new XP with only memory improvements..

  • 2/22/14
    I have Windows 7 OS on Samsung laptop with some notification icons for deleted software that remained listed in notification area. My fix to remove these notifications included:

    (1) On taskbar click on "show hidden icons" click customize and change notification behavior of deleted software to "Hide Icon and Notification"

    (2) Download the "Download Registry Script" provided above. Unzip the file and click and run Vista & 7 script. After that process is complete.

    (3) Right click on Taskbar and click Start Task Manager", under Processes find "explorer.exe" right click on it and choose end process. Your task bar will disappear. Go to "file tab" on top of Windows Task Manager and click on new task. In "new task" type explorer.exe and enter. Your task bar now reappears (for good measure reboot your pc) then go back to "show hidden icons" on Taskbar and see if the deleted software notification icon trays are gone.

    It worked for me. Good Luck.

  • I have Windows 8.1. Does anyone have a solution for this

  • to J-Marco :

    Thanks ! It works.

    A-Tsang

  • Second what crudebuster said & re-emphasised by Mottles.

    On W7:
    After deleting the 2 registry entries, a reboot did not do the trick. So second time, after deleting, killed & restarted explorer.exe. It did the trick. And subsequent reboot showed that the icons had gone for good.
    Microsoft should be ashamed for having an OS where such a stupid bug exists & not providing a fix.

  • Third what crudebuster said, definitely works on Windows 8, the pos os that it is. Thank you. Do not want to leave any piece behind of anything that eats mbam, spybot s and d, and I have to remove to remove every excruciating line of. Chameleon was pretty helpful, but, yuck! Who does this with their talents when there is world hunger and war to solve?? Thanks :)

  • ... Looker is Finder! Thanks VG... Another great article! Was looking for this solution lot.

  • hello! good wishes. I had followed your instructions, but it did not work in my case (in XP) where (both in the taskbar & above the taskbar on desktop) a notice is still tugged by saying that your copy of windows may not original!

  • I am using "DuplicateFilesDeleter", I got it by searching google and it's nice working.

  • 7/3/14
    The tutorial would not work on my Dell 1764 Windows 7 Ultimate until I incorporated JMarco's script. Thanks very much to Vishal Gupta and JMarco and all of the other contributors.

  • Sir,
    I love you a lot, thank you too much for your blog, it worked for me
    Thank you so much
    loving
    Devendra Bhat

  • When I used this the icons were removed but the names of the programs are still showing and those still have drop down menu. What now? Is that normal?

  • Manual process didn't work for me on Windows 8.1 despite restarting but the Script did, and without restarting the system but just by restarting Windows Explorer! Well done. Not sure if this is also important but I found two instances of Windows Explorer in the Task Manager and restarted both of them. Then my two old icons had disappeared.
    Thanks so much for this tip.

  • Neither of the two methods works in Windows 7.

  • I use windows 7. I applied all steps
    (HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify)

    but after explorer step I did not find notifytay,, there are "Taskband" and "Typedpaths"
    How can I delete icons ??

  • Worked for me on Windows 8.1. I located the right keys in the registry. Next, I deleted them. I closed "Windows Explorer" via the Task manager, and then ran "explorer" from within the Task Manager to restart Windows Explorer. At this point, it was fixed! The only issue I came across is that now Task Manager has a tray icon, and it uses another application's icon. Not worried about it - I'll figure it out. Thanks.

  • Please remove "ASK" and all the icons from my7 computer. I do not use any of them. Thank you. Nor do I wish to do so. Mary-Nona

  • 12/19/14
    This is a follow up to my post on 7/3/14. I have found that manually deleting the IconStreams & PastIconStream does not work properly on my Dell 1764 Windows 7 Ultimate.

    I have to follow all of JMarco's 2/22/14 post above which includes steps (1), (2), & (3).

    Step (2) is "(2) Download the "Download Registry Script" provided above. Unzip the file and click and run Vista & 7 script. After that process is complete."

    Thanks very much to Vishal Gupta and JMarco and all of the other contributors.

  • Hey, thanks very much. i worked.

  • Hey, thanks very much. it worked.

  • Hi JMarco. It works for my Windows 7!
    Thanks a lot..

  • Worked for me on my Win 8.1. After having deleted 'IconStreams' & 'PastIconsStream' from the registry, do as @mottles says:

    {You must do as crudebuster says after deleting the registry entries and ctrl+alt+del to bring up Task Manager, then End Task for "explorer.exe"
    The taskbar will then disappear, ctrl+alt+del again and "Start New Task" and type "explorer.exe"}

    The unwanted icons in the notification bar are permanently removed now.

  • It worked only after shutting down explorer.exe from Task Manager and restarting it from File menu in Task Manager. Thank a lot for your advice!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Follow the steps described by JMarco on 2/22/14
    Download the "Download Registry Script" provided above. Unzip the file and click and run Vista & 7 script. After that process is complete.

    Right click on Taskbar and click Start Task Manager", under Processes find "explorer.exe" right click on it and choose end process. Your task bar will disappear. Go to "file tab" on top of Windows Task Manager and click on new task. In "new task" type explorer.exe and enter. Your task bar now reappears (for good measure reboot your pc) then go back to "show hidden icons" on Taskbar and see if the deleted software notification icon trays are gone.

  • Hi,

    I have Windows 7 under a Windows Vista laptop...I have this Windows 10 upgrade notification and I can't get that removed.How am I gonna get that permanently removed...

  • VG

    ^^ Check following:

    http://www.askvg.com/how-to-remove-get-windows-10-app-and-its-icon-from-taskbar/

  • trying to delete tweakbit pc cleaner hidden icon

  • what to do if i unexpectedly deleted balloon tips while deleting icon streams, paste icon streams for deleting hidden inactive icons in task manager in windows XP.

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