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Is there a way to split the taskbar parts? for example: quicklaunch icons on the side and the rest on the bottom?
I've been successful in stopping this "tray" icon stuff. Many programers think that their program is the most important thing on anyone's computer so they put a starting stub into memory so the program will start faster when you launch it. The icon in the tray tells you that it has loaded. Hense, your available RAM memory has been reduced. To remove this permanently, you have to use a utility, such as Iolo's System Mechanic. It will allow you to access the startup area where you either disable or delete it. I recommend disabling vice deleting.
While having a bunch of icons in the Taskbar is annoying, the more important issue (as was pointed out in the response to the question) is the number of programs(many unnecessary) running in the background - each one consumes memory and CPU cycles. Many programs and drivers when installed seem to think that you can't live without their background process to at least check for updates for their application, so they install a background utility to start up automatically when the OS boots. One of the best ways I've found to control this behavior, without having to become an expert in MSConfig and/or Services.msc is to install and use Mike Lin's Control Panel (currently version 2.8), a freeware utility available over the internet. This little program installs in the Control Panel in XP or as a standalone utility in Vista (be sure to set the utility to run with administrative privledges in Vista) and allows the user to easily control what background programs are allowed to start up when the computer boots up. You have to be careful what you turn off (look up what each listed program does by Googling it on the internet first), but the more unnecessary background programs you disable, the less icons will appear in the Taskbar, and the faster your computer will run. If, after turning off a background program, you decide that it's necessary after all, you can just turn it back on to start on boot-up through Startup Control Panel.
I am having the opposite problem with the icons for the network connection and volume control (Vista Home Premium) (Motorola SM56 Speakerphone Modem) disappearing. I updated the drivers for it and the icons were gone. When I right clicked the task bar/personalize/notification area the places to check/uncheck them was greyed out -- no way to restore. I did a system restore (and yes it did restore) and the icons were back. I haven't re-installed the update for the modem. One other update (unrelated to the modem) and the icons disappeared and were greyed out -- no way to get them back so I did a system restore and again the icons were back.
Is there any other way to get the icons back when some piece of software decides to remove them and not let them be put back? System restore is a bit extreme and doesn't always have a happy ending. I prefer having the icons in the notification area so I know what is running -- and to be able to access the volume control as needed.
Two possible payare solutions -
XNeat (it can hide taskbar windows; need to check for system tray) - http://www.xneat.com/
SysTrayX - http://www.xdesksoftware.com/systrayx.html
Also in the Windows customize notifications option, one can choose "Always Hide"
Windows Defender has a handy software explorer option. In this, select "startup programs". It's easy then to disable the annoying auto startup programs thus freeing up the sys tray and memory. PC runs more efficiently also. When required the programs can simply be started the old-fashioned way.
As Leo pointed out, there are a few solutons here. Personally, I use Startup Inspector for Windows (freeware) to keep programs from automatically starting when Windows starts. You have to 'turn on' most programs anyway, so why let them run in the background when you're not using them? By not letting them run all the time you are also conserving valuable RAM and CPU availability.
Also, if you use 'quick-launch'(next to the Start button) you are stuck with 3 icons. You can choose which 3 by 'dragging and dropping' your 3 favorite icons here. Otherwise Windows decides which three you get. This allows you to get rid of three 'Desktop' icons as well. (I can't stand my desktop cluttered with icons personally).
For the lost of your volume and internet icon, microsoft has a hot fix. Check out Microsoftfixit 50229.msi also winpatrol is a very good program to disable what exactly starts and sits in the system tray, just give it a try.
I usually get rid of the stubs with MSConfig which can let me decide which start-up programs to stop from running when windows boots up. Be careful. If you don't know what you are doing you may stop a necessary program from starting. Stopping most apple applications is ok as they are usually the result of installing quicktime.
I choose to hide all but "Safe to Remove...,"volume, power, and Networks(Internet).
As for the separate QuickLaunch, you can actually have a rectangle area separate from the rest of the task bar if you unlock that area and drag it around how you want it(I'm not surd if I understood your question, ERandall at September 22, 2009 9:00 AM)
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