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Windows XP - Change the Icon Behaviour

Welcome to this Windows XP tutorial on how to change the icon behaviour in the systray. You may want to change the systray icon behaviour for preference reasons. It may look untidy or you may want to see what programs are doing what at a given time.

Thinks To Note
  • Click the images to see a larger version
  • Yellow arrows or circles indicate where to look or click
  • Unless specified otherwise use the 'left' mouse button to click

Windows XP - Change the Icon Behaviour

windows xp taskbar properties

The icons that will change are the ones in the notification area next to the clock as pictured in our example.

This area is know as the systray and is where a lot of programs can run in the background.

image of windows xp taskbar

From the windows xp desktop you will see a horizontal blue bar running along the bottom of the screen, this is the taskbar.

To change some of the taskbar properties, right click the blue taskbar and a small menu you appear as pictured. Click the 'Properties' option.

windows xp taskbar properties

The Taskbar properties window will load up and present you with some settings.

At the bottom of the window you will see the options for the notification area and in particular a checkbox labelled 'Hide inactive icons'.

Click the 'Customize' button. This will launch the customize notification window.

exit windows xp taskbar

You will see a list of installed applications, each having a drop down box next to it. Depending upon how many programs are loaded you may also see a scroll bar on the right.

Choose the icon you wish to amend by clicking the drop down box and select one of the following actions.

'Always Show' as pictured in the example which will make the icon always visible next to the clock.

'Always Hide' is another option which as you may have guessed: always hides the icon from showing near the clock.

The other option is 'Hide when active' and means that the icon only shows when the program is running and active.

Click the 'Ok' button to exit the notifications window and click the 'Ok' button to close the taskbar properties.

Next tutorial - Change Windows XP Power Options

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