System Tray

Name

In Windows 95, the section of the “task bar” with the small icons was called the “system tray”.

Later, Microsoft Press released official training material to cover Windows XP Professional, and by that time Microsoft started referring to this as the “Message Notification Area”. Microsoft seems to just refer to this as the “notification area” in some other documentation, such as MS KB 307729 : disabling balloon tips and MS KB 319095: Enabling and Disabling Volume Control icon for System Tray and TechNet: Displaying a Message in the Notifiation Area and MSDN: Notification Area (Windows).

In Windows 7, the system's clock shows up as one of the options in the “Notification Area” applet for the Control Panel.

Configuration

These directions are from Windows 7. Access the context menu of the task bar in Microsoft Windows. On the “Taskbar” tab (which is the default tab), there is a “Notification area” section that has one option: a button labelled “Customize...”. That would simply open up: Control Panel, All Control Panel Items, Notification Area Icons.

Icons
Bundled with the operating system
Network-related

See: “System Tray& rdquo;/“(Message) Notification Area” Network-related Icons.

Volume Control

This might look like a speaker that blasts sound sideways. (e.g.: Windows 7 64-bit.) Or, with some operating system versions (e.g. Windows XP), this might be intended to look like the front view of a speaker, which basically just looks like a grey circle.

In Windows XP, MS KB 319095: Enabling and Disabling Volume Control icon for System Tray notes that there is a checkbox named “Place volume icon in the taskbar”. This is found from the “Sound” control panel applet.

In Windows 7, that checkbox was nowhere to be found. However, the icon could be disabled. See: Control Panel, Notification Area Icons. This showed the “Customize Notification Area” subscreen. Below the list of icons, a hyperlink says “Turn system icons on or off”. The “Volume” icon shows up in that list.

Based on MS KB 319095: Enabling and Disabling Volume Control icon for System Tray, it appears that this is related to the “SndVol32” program.

Action Center flag

Perhaps Windows Vista? Certainly seen in Windows 7. This is related to the “Action Center”. The “Action Center” can be reached by using a Microsoft Windows Control Panel icon.