Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Every time you update Quicktime, it reinstalls the Quicktime Icon in the System Tray. Annoying. And apparently unavoidable.

Every time I turn on my computer, I get the Quicktime Icon in the system tray. I ran MS Config and unchecked the line labeled "qttask" and rebooted but in a few days it comes back. What can I do to stop it once and for all from appearing in the system tray?

I feel your pain.

This is a clear case of an application vendor thinking they know what's best for us, regardless of what we really, really want.

The problem is simple: every time you update Quicktime, it re-installs the Quicktime icon in the system tray:

Quicktime Tray App Icon

This is compounded by the fact that Quicktime can get reinstalled as a result of other programs being installed or upgraded. The most common offender, at least on my machine, is iTunes. Each time iTunes is updated, no matter what I've done, the Quicktime tray application comes back.

Turning it Off

What I do to get rid of it is to right click on it and select Quicktime Preferences. In the resulting dialog, I then click on the Advanced tab:

Quicktime Advanced Preferences

I then make sure that the checkbox labeled Install Quicktime icon in system tray is unchecked:

Install Quicktime icon in system tray - UNchecked

As soon as I click OK on that dialog, the tray applet goes away.

Until the next time Quicktime is updated.

Some folks have reported that this isn't enough for them, and that it comes back on their next reboot. They've had to take an extra step:

  • Click on Start, and then Run

  • Type in msconfig and press OK

  • Click on the Startup Tab:

    qttask in the MSConfig Startup list

  • Locate "qttask" (highlighted above), and clear its checkbox:

    qttask UNchecked in msconfig

  • Press OK. MSConfig may ask you if you want to reboot. You don't have to, qttask will simply not start the next time you do.

"To have to have it repeatedly reappear even after I've explicitly told it to go away is, to me, exceptionally arrogant software behavior."

And, once again, the next time you update Quicktime, you'll have to repeat this process.

One Alternative

One alternative that I've heard of but haven't tried myself is something called, surprisingly enough, "Quicktime Alternative". It's a free codec (coder/decoder) for Quicktime files that will allow you to view them without Quicktime. Instead you can view them in other viewers such as Windows Media player or other applications.

My only hesitation is that I'm unclear on the interaction with other applications such as iTunes. I would expect that an update of iTunes will once again install Quicktime - and its icon.

Why Care?

Certainly just living with it is an option. Aside from taking up space and some of your computer's memory, the Quicktime icon is fairly benign. It doesn't add any value, in my opinion, but it also doesn't impact your computer's performance that much either.

For me, it's as much about the principal of the thing as it is anything else. I do dislike a cluttered tray (seems every application feels the need to put something there), so I definitely want the option to turn it off. The Quicktime tray item, as far as I can tell, adds no value. I see to reason to ever want to use it, or for it to exist - Quicktime works just fine without it. To have to have it repeatedly reappear even after I've explicitly told it to go away is, to me, exceptionally arrogant software behavior.

And a repeated annoyance.

Article C2932 - February 13, 2007 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
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?

Francis Schorr
February 16, 2007 7:24 PM

Another option I've used in Windows XP to make notification icons go away is to permanently hide specific system tray icons. I do this by right-clicking the task bar and choosing Properties from the menu. In the Properties window I check the box that says "Hide inactive icons". Then I click the Customize button and another window pops up. In that window I choose the icon I want to hide, and for the behaviour I choose "Always Hide". I don't know if this works for the QuickTime icon in particular, because I uninstalled QuickTime on my PC. I also realise that this just addresses the symptoms rather than the underlying problem, but sometimes dealing with the symptom is enough.

February 16, 2007 9:43 PM

Try the program autoruns. A free program which will display all auto starting programs and lets you disable them. It also helps to find auto starting viruses.

Nicholas Gimbrone
February 17, 2007 9:00 AM

Some versions of QuickTime have a Preferences window that is organized differently than described here. For instance in 6.5 there is a list box rather than a set of tabs. The check box to disable the SysTray setting is under the Browser Plug-in settings on 6.5.

February 19, 2007 12:38 PM

There is a great freeware program called WinPatrol (just Google for it) that monitors everything that tries to load itself into your startup file. You can update Quicktime and when it tries to load itself into startup WinPatrol will give you the option of saying "no."

Ms Global
May 7, 2007 10:00 AM

Thanks for the info. I had this QuickTime problem on two computers.

November 3, 2007 5:44 AM

My problem is very similar to quicktime icon. However, mine is with spydawn, the icon is very annoying because it keeps flashing the whole time, and every or 3 minutes a small window pops up saying that the program expired and must be re-install. HELP! I've tried the system configuration but I cannot find the name "spydawn" could it be listed by another name? I think they do this on purpose so that we can't find it. Please help me. Thanks, Maria

Sherif Basha
February 1, 2008 9:42 AM

Thank you Sir.Its very useful for a novice like me.

August 8, 2008 7:58 PM

I installed the free Quick Time program for Windows XP and received confirmation that the program was successfully installed. Wheb I click on the video, zip file, to download it the status does show that the 'video is downloading'. However, once the status shows 'done' all I get is the Q icon and no video? Why?

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.