How to Clear Customize Notifications (System Tray) Icons in Windows?

Over time, many invalid or obsolete taskbar notification icons may show up in the “Customize notifications” or the “Select which icons appear on the Taskbar” page with invalid or missing icons.

Customize Notifications Dialog with obsolete entries

This article describes how to clear the past and current items list in the Customize Notifications dialog in Windows. Information and the script here apply to all versions of Windows, including Windows 10.

How to Clear Customize Notifications Icons in Windows

Option 1: Clearing the Customize Notification icons Using Script

Here is a VBScript (for Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10) that clears the customize notification icons for you.

  1. Close all your running programs.
  2. Download
  3. Unzip and run the clear-notification-items.vbs script file. It clears Customize Notifications items, restarts Explorer shell automatically.

    Here is how the customize notifications dialog (“Select which icons appear on the Taskbar”) looks like after clearing the obsolete entries.

    Customize Notifications Dialog, after clearing. Programs will re-add their icons.

    You can see that the blank icons that appeared on the left, are also fixed. (Compare Snagit icons.)

Option 2: Clearing the Customize Notification icons manually

To clear the Customize Notifications items list manually using the Registry Editor, follow these steps:

  1. Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc
  2. Exit (don’t restart) the Explorer shell cleanly. See instructions for Windows Vista/7, Windows 8 & 10
  3. At this point, the Taskbar and your desktop icons wouldn’t be visible. From the Task Manager’s File menu, launch the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
  4. In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following branch:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify
  5. Delete the two values namely IconStreams and PastIconsStream
  6. Exit the Registry Editor.
  7. From the Task Manager’s File menu, launch Explorer.exe. This starts the Windows shell again.

The Windows shell is the graphical user interface for the Microsoft Windows operating system. Its primary elements consist of the desktop, the taskbar, the Start menu.

This clears your customize notification tray icons in the Taskbar.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

23 thoughts on “How to Clear Customize Notifications (System Tray) Icons in Windows?”

  1. THANK YOU SO MUCH IT WORKED SO FINE but the manual deletion didn’t work as there were no such values as iconstreams and pasticonsstream on windows 7

  2. thanks!
    no luck with the manual attempt, but the script worked perfectly, and will no doubt come in handy again…
    good work!

  3. I’ve been looking for this ages too! THANK YOU! but manual version does not work, don’t even waste your time. script version works as a CHARM!

  4. Re: “The manual system did not work”

    Instead of deleting the registry entries using the keyboard delete key, right click on the entry and select delete in the pop-up menu.

  5. Worked like a charm and deleted the junk in a second, great work and I’m sure that the script will come in handy again…


  6. Just used your automated .vbs script and it worked perfectly. Bye bye stubborn, old tray icons .. hello cleaned out tray! Fantastic stuff Ramesh and many thanks. 😀

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the automated.vbs script, it worked like a charm! Another computer aggravation bit the dust. The old stubborn crap is gone!

  8. The “clear-notification-items.vbs” zip worked like a charm! It doesn’t get any easier than that!

  9. I had to forcibly remove an old anti-virus and it left an annoying little icon that I couldn’t find anywhere else but in the notifications tray. Junk cleaner, registry hunt-down, skimming through files to find it nothing worked. This little magic file though…whatever it is and however it does it WORKED! I’m definitely going to use this in the future 🙂

  10. Dear Sir,
    Would you please to modify the VBS Script File to work on Windows 10 x64.
    Since I was unsuccessfully clear by Regedit manaully.
    Thanks in advance


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