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Fix: Notification area (system tray) icons are messed up in Windows 10

After using Windows 10 for a while, and installing/uninstalling programs, you may end up with many unwanted icons showing up in Settings -> Taskbar. There is no way to remove these icons from the list; certain icons remain there even if you have already removed their app. Another issue which users commonly report with the notification area (system tray) is that System icons like Network, Sound, Power get turned off and the 'Behaviors' dropdown which allows turning them on is greyed out. Let us see how to fix these two problems - both issues have one solution.

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In Windows 10, tray icon management has moved to Settings -> Taskbar. This is the case since at least build 14271, which is part of Windows 10 "Anniversary Update" (Redstone 1) branch. The notification area icons page looks as follows:

Windows 10 tray icon settingsThere, click the link Select which icons appear on the taskbar to manage tray icons:Windows 10 tray icons

If it gives you some unexpected behavior or you need to clean up the list of icons, do the following.

  1. Press Win + R keys together on the keyboard to open the Run dialog and type the following into the Run box:
    regedit

    This will open the Registry Editor app for you.

  2. Now, press and hold Ctrl+Shift and then right click the taskbar. You will see a new item Exit Explorer. Click it.Windows 10 exit explorerFor more details about the command Exit Explorer, refer to the following article: How to properly restart the Explorer shell in Windows.
  3. Now, return to Registry Editor.
    Go to the following Registry key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify
  4. In the right pane, delete the IconStreams Registry value.
  5. Now delete the PastIconsStream Registry value.Windows 10 fix tray icons
  6. Close Registry Editor.
  7. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager.Use File -> Run new task menu item in Task Manager. Type Explorer in the "Create New Task" dialog and press Enter to restore Desktop.

This will fix your tray icons issues. The Registry values mentioned above represent the notification area icon cache which stores the tray icons for all apps. If this cache is corrupted, it may also prevent system icons from appearing in the tray.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

16 thoughts on “Fix: Notification area (system tray) icons are messed up in Windows 10”

  1. My notification button is not showing, i tried this method but it was not worked. Please tell me solution of this problem

  2. I was freaked out because all the task bar was messed up! I followed the instructions and when opened again it was like a brand new computer, thanks!

  3. What fixed it for me, after many many trials, was changing the following Registry value:
    \HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\NoTrayItemsDisplay from 1 to 0

    1. Hi,
      Thank you your tweak worked for getting the icons to show again in the notification area next to the clock in windows 10

      Thanks again!!

  4. Didn’t work for me. WAMP server icon is missing. If I go to choose which icons to display, I have the option to show all icons selected, but the WAMP icon itself is set to “off”. If I change the option from showing all icons to not showing all icons, then I can change the WAMP switch to “on” – but it still doesn’t show. I went through the steps of clearing the registry – still no WAMP icon.

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