How to clean the notification area icon cache in Windows

Do you need to remove obsolete notification icons, from the notification area on the Windows taskbar? Do you still see icons for programs that are no longer installed and you want to get rid of them? While you can do this with dedicated software tools, a simple trick is to remove two registry values and then restart the explorer.exe process in Windows. Doing this will reset the icons cache for the notification area and keep only those icons used by active applications. Since editing the Windows Registry is a rather complex task, we decided to provide a simple tool to assist all our readers. Anyone can use it in just a few clicks.

The problem: obsolete notification icons

After using Windows for a while, installing and uninstalling programs, you will end up with a long list of icons showing up in the notification area, on the taskbar.

Notification, area, icons, programs, cache, Windows

You will have to deal with this long list of programs, especially when you want to configure which icons appear on the Windows taskbar. If some of programs have been removed, there is no way to remove their icons from the list. So, what do you do?

The solution: download, extract and run our notification area icon cache cleaner

At the end of this article, you have an archive that you should download on your Windows computer or device. Extract it and inside you will find the Notification_Area_Cleaner.bat file.

Notification, area, icons, programs, cache, Windows

To clean the cache for the notification area and restart explorer.exe, double click or double tap this file. Windows might warn you that the publisher could not be verified. Don’t worry! You are safe. In the security warning dialog click Run. For a brief period, the taskbar and your Desktop icons will disappear. You will only see a Command Prompt window similar to the one below:

Notification, area, icons, programs, cache, Windows

The process explorer.exe is restarted and the notification area icon cache is cleared. After a few seconds, everything will be back to normal. If you computer is very fast you might not even get to see the Command Prompt window.

NOTE: Some security solutions might warn you or prevent you from running our batch file. Do not worry, we are not distributing malware. This file does what we say it does. However, we can’t provide any warranties either.

What’s next?

After this procedure, installed programs which had icons in the notification area, won’t have their icons displayed there. The notification area is now completely reset and Windows will show only its standard icons.

Notification, area, icons, programs, cache, Windows

Now you can get back to configuring which icons are shown in the notification area, using these guides:

Conclusion

We hope that our file has managed to help in solving your problem. If you have any feedback or questions, use the comments form available below.

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About the Author: Ciprian Adrian Rusen
I love technology and I work in IT for more than a decade. I am the co-founder of Digital Citizen and its chief editor. Alongside my work as an editor, I am also an author. I have written and published 7 books, most of them about Microsoft products and technologies. They are translated into more than 12 languages. In 2014, I have been recognized by Microsoft for my technical expertise and involvement in the community with the title of Microsoft MVP - Windows Consumer Expert.