Best Practice Ezine #113 – Control Your Notification Icons

Best Practice Ezine #113 – Control Your Notification Icons

Purpose of this Ezine

The reason that I publish this ezine is twofold:-
1) To offer tips for Windows Server 2003 and XP, also for Vista and Longhorn.
2) To keep in touch with those who buy my ebooks.

Control Your Notification IconsControl Notification Area Icons

The problem is that some programs, which you install on XP, are bullies.  They act like Cuckoos by adding their unwanted notification ‘eggs’ to your Taskbar ‘nest’.  These icons appear, whether you want them or not, in the area that my friend ‘Mad’ Mick calls Systray, but Microsoft now entitle the Notification Area.  My tip is designed to give you control over these notification icons by hiding those you don’t want XP to display.  As you can see from the screen shots, this method also works on Windows Server 2003.

To control the notification icons, right-click on an empty area of the Taskbar and select Properties.  This is not as easy as it sounds, eventually I right-clicked the thin grey border just above the clock.  Next, under the Taskbar tab and in the Notification Area, check the box ‘Hide Inactive Icons’, the result is that the Customise button comes alive – give it a click.  In the list of Current Items, select the Behavior column of the unwanted program and choose, ‘Always Hide’ from the drop down box. 

Incidentally, you can also use Software Explorer in Windows Defender to manage start-up programs.

Customize Notification Icons

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  1. Seeking and zapping unwanted user accounts.
  2. Finding inactive computers.
  3. Bulk-importing new users.  Give this AD utility a try, it’s free!

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How to Disable the Notification Icon Balloon Tips

While I rarely miss an opportunity to hack the registry, I actually like the balloon tips, thus I will not be disabling mine.  However, my old friend ‘Barking’ Eddie cannot stand those balloons so here are his instructions:

1) Launch regedit
2) Drill down to the following subkey:
3) Right-click the right pane, create a new DWORD value called EnableBalloonTips.
4) Double-click this new DWORD and check it is set to a hexadecimal value of zero.
5) To see the fruits of you registry hack logoff then logon again (no need to reboot).

I have to say that when I tried Eddie’s instructions it did not work for me.  However, if I substituted HKEY_Local_Machine for HKEY_CURRENT_USER, then created EnableBalloonTips it did work as advertised.

These steps disable all Notification Area balloon tips.  Eddie tells me that he has not found a way to disable individual balloon tips.

Guy Thomas MVP (Microsoft Valuable Professional)

Once again Microsoft has renewed my MVP award for 2012.  This is a great honour as you cannot apply for an MVP, neither can you achieve it by passing exams.  While one gets nominated for services to Microsoft products, I would stress that MVPs don’t always have to agree with Microsoft, in fact, some of the most highly regarded MVPs are Microsoft’s greatest critics.  Interestingly unlike other awards, the MVP award lasts for year at which point it is renewed – or not.

In some ways I feel a fraud as I don’t have the in-depth knowledge of many of the other MVP, on the other hand I don’t know of any other MVPs whose speciality is ‘Getting you started’.  Probably the main reason for my MVP award is because I publish articles at my Computer Performance website.

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Will and Guy Humour -File Extension Game

The idea of this piece of fun is to match file extensions to job titles.  For example: .tiff = Marriage counsellor

Here are others file extension that you could link to occupations:

.api = Comedian
.asp = Snake-in-the-grass
.bin = Refuse collector
.doc = Fixer
.chk = Chess champion
.dic = Private eye
.exe = Hang man
.fav = Boot licker
.gem = Jeweller
.ico = Office pin-up
.inf = Filing Clerk
.ins = Insurance agent
.mad = Psychiatrist
.mam = Midwife
.mapi = Planning officer
.mov = Removal company
.mpg = Car salesman
.png = Table Tennis Champion
.ppt = Punch and Judy operator
.pub = Alcoholic
.qt = Office mouse
.rat = Spy
.snd = Disk Jockey
.sys = Sister
.tiff = Marriage guidance counsellor
.wav = Cheerleader
.wiz = Magician
.wri = Secretary
.zap = Company hatchet man

Best of all, invent your own and send them to me!

See any updates to ourFunny File Extensions

See more interesting Windows desktop tips

 • Windows 8 Explorer  • Ezines  •E 201 AutoHotKey  •Activate Administrator Win 8

E 127 Basics  •E 126 LCD  •E 109 Office  •IP Address Tracker

E 113 Notification  •E 78 Home Drive  •E 40 Alt Gr  •E 35 Colour Folder  •Wake-on-Lan