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The Windows 7 taskbar notifications area can be arranged in several ways by right-clicking in the taskbar "Notification Area."

I use an Acer Aspire notebook with Windows 7 Home Premium. The small arrow on the right side of the taskbar, used to select icons and notifications, has disappeared. My computer is working okay, but I do like to have access to make changes. I'd appreciate your assistance.

In this excerpt from Answercast #75, I look at how to configure the taskbar area in Windows 7.

Windows 7 taskbar notifications area

The thing to do in a case like this is to right-click in any of the empty areas near that area of the taskbar. That's actually formally called the "Notification Area." That's where the little icons that might notify you of something all live.

There are a couple of different ways that Windows can manage that - but it actually is all under your control.

Controlling the taskbar area

If you right-click in an empty area near that one side or the other, you should get a pop-up menu that then includes a "Properties" item. Click on Properties and that will open up the dialog box that will let you configure:

  • Which icons should show,

  • Which icons should not show,

  • And whether or not all icons should show all the time.

In the latter case, if all icons are shown all the time, Windows believes that there's no need for that little arrow that you're talking about, because there's nothing that it would do. It won't show you any more icons that aren't already there.

So, that's the thing to do. Go in and configure the settings for that taskbar: the notification area on your taskbar. That way you should be able to get better control over exactly what's showing in the notification area: when and how much.

Article C6096 - December 3, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

December 4, 2012 9:49 AM

Using Windows XP Home, I followed your instructions for making the Taskbar double height, but now have a problem with it. I can have it normal height with NO quick launch icons and the notification icons in a single line, or I can have it double height WITH quick launch icons AND all the notification icons stacked three high instead of in a single line as before. Why they insist on stacking up is beyond me. They never did before. I have tried closing the taskbar, I have tried it both locked and unlocked, I have even restarted the machine with it locked and with it unlocked, but this thing persists. Any idea what is happening here? Thanks.


Ken in San Jose
December 8, 2012 10:37 PM

I am running Windows 7 on a Dell Inspiron notebook. I have two programs (pwsafe and memopad) that start at startup and put icons in the notification area that I click on to access them. Sometimes an icon is missing after startup, but the program is shown in the task manager. If I try starting the program the computer says the program is already active. The only way to access the program is to open the task manager and end the process for the program. Then start the program manually! I don't know if something in the startup process just overwrote the icon so it is just missing or what. I wish there was some easy way to cause the notification area to refresh or something, so the icons would become visible.

As described in the article the properties for the notification area should let you control what gets display. I typically set "display everything always".

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