notes to help me remember

Monthly Archives: October 2013

Notification Area Icons

On some computers running Windows 7 the notification area hidden icons become messed up.  The notification area icons are what shows up when you click on the little arrow to the left of the icons in the lower right corner of the desktop.  Sometimes these show up with many blank spaces amongst the icons.  Often, the icons I am looking for (such as for safely removing a USB device) are not visible at all.

A couple of changes to the registry, followed by re-logging in, clean this up nicely.  (As ever, make sure you are careful making changes to the registry, and back it up first if you can’t afford to rebuild your whole OS.)

I found these instructions at for cleaning up the notification area:

  1. Click Start and in search box, type “regedit” without quotes and hit Enter. (Click continue/allow if required.)
  2. Right click on Computer on the right hand side and then click on Export.
  3. Name the backup of the registry as tray_notify and click on Save.
  4. On the left hand side of the registry editor, Navigate to the following location –
  5. On the right hand side, delete IconStreams & PastIconStream.
  6. Close the registry editor.
  7. Restart the computer.  (Logging out and back in will suffice.)
  8. Check if the issue is resolved.


Windows 7 Update Settings

Sometimes the Windows 7 update settings are unavailable, that is, grayed out.  The options may be restored to availability in the group policy settings as detailed in this sevenforums thread (as slightly paraphrased below): 

To change the settings in the group policy editor in Windows 7:

1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor (enter group policy editor in the Start menu search box)

2. In the left pane, click on to expand Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, and Windows Update

3. In the right pane, right click on the option you want to change and click on Edit.  Setting this to ‘not configured’ will allow the option to be selected in the Windows Update Settings dialog