Question: I would be so grateful if you tell me how to remove icons from the Windows bar at the bottom. I have two which appear uninvited (Photo Impact, Real Player) and one (volume control) which disappears even though I like it there.
Answer: You’re talking about your system tray. That’s the little sunken box on the right side of your Windows taskbar in XP (and not sunken in Vista). The taskbar is the bar that runs across the bottom of the Windows screen and includes the Start button on the left (In Vista it is called the Windows button).
The System Tray is full of icons that represent programs that can either be started quickly or are running in the background.
Often, programs will put applets into the System Tray during installation. RealPlayer is particularly guilty of this. The idea is that when you encounter RealAudio content on the Internet, the player is not far away and will start when you click on a reference to a Real Audio file on a Web page.
The Photo Impact program you mention has also put an icon in the System Tray during installation.
The problem with these little taskbar-polluting software gizmos is that they can be difficult to get rid of.
In the case of the RealPlayer, right click on the System Tray RealPlayer icon with your mouse and choose “Disable SmartStart”. This will make it go away next time you boot your system.
Most System tray icons have that kind of switch. Right click and search for something that means “go away”.
The other place to check is your StartUp menu. This is a folder that contains applets that start when you boot Windows.
The folder in Windows 98 or XP can be found in C:\WINDOWS\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp or C:\WINDOWS\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp. In Vista it can be found in C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
To stop these programs from launching and appearing in your System Tray on Windows start up simply delete the icons in this folder. Conversely, drag an icon or put a shortcut to a program into this folder if you want something to start each time you boot up Windows.
Another place to look for applets that pop into the System tray uninvited is the Control Panel, which can be found by going to your Start button, then to Settings, then Control Panel. Under the Multimedia icon, click on the Audio tab and click on the “Show volume control on taskbar” option.
You can also disable programs from starting on Windows boot up is to use the System configuration applet, which is hiding in the C:Windowssystem folder.
It’s known as “msconfig” and can be accessed by typing “msconfig” in the “open” box, when you go to the Start menu and select “Run”. In Vista simply type “msconfig” in the search box on the Start menu and hit enter
When msconfig opens, click on the Startup tab to see all the programs that Windows opens when it boots. Uncheck the ones that you don’t want to start, but be careful which ones you choose to disable as there are some key programs that need to start. For example, you’ll see one called SysTray. This is the program the runs the System Tray. Uncheck it and nothing in that area on the taskbar will run.
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