Hacking Your Way Through the Interface
Use Registry hacks to make a grab-bag of great interface changes.
Hidden in the mazes of the Registry are countless ways to hack XP's interface. Here are some of my favorites.
Hide All Icons in the Notification Area
The System Tray, also called the Notification Area, is the small area on the far-right side of the Taskbar, in which utilities and programs that run in the background, such as antivirus software, show their icons.
I don't find it a particularly intelligent use of screen real estate, so I'd prefer not to see the icons there. To hide them, run the Registry Editor [Hack #68] and go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Policies/Explorer. Among other things, this key controls the display of objects throughout XP. Create a new DWORD called NoTrayItemsDisplay. Assign it a value of 1. (A value of 0 will keep the icons displayed.) Exit the Registry and reboot.
While you're at the HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Policies/Explorer key, you can also delete the My Recent Documents icon on the Start menu. Create a new DWORD called NoRecentDocsMenu. Assign it a value of 1. (A value of 0 will keep the icon displayed.) Exit the Registry and reboot.
Hide Only Certain Icons in the Notification Area
You might like to display some icons in the notification area but hide others. If so, you can hide icons on a case-by-case basis. You'll do it by delving through menus, though, not by hacking the Registry. Right-click on the Taskbar and choose Properties → Taskbar. The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box appears. This dialog box, as the name implies, lets you control how the Taskbar and Start Menu look and function.
In the Notification area of the dialog box, check the box next to "Hide inactive icons," then click Customize. The Customize Notifications dialog box appears,
Click on the program's listing in the Behavior column, and choose from the drop-down menu to hide the icon when the program is inactive, always hide it, or never hide it. Click OK twice. Your changes will take immediate effect.
on Mar 17, 2008 | HP Pavilion a1410n (ER890AA) PC Desktop