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It's easy for the Windows 10 taskbar to become a convoluted mess of various symbols, alerts and notifications. Although many of these items do have a purpose, you can reduce the volume of help desk calls by disabling the various Windows notifications. After all, some users will inevitably call the help desk anytime they see something they don't immediately recognize, even if the item is purely informational.
How you clean up the taskbar and the notification area varies depending on which items you want to remove. You can remove notification icons and leave the other icons in place, or remove everything from the system tray, including the clock.
To make changes, right-click the left-most symbol -- which resembles an up arrow -- and choose the Properties command from the shortcut menu. This will open the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties sheet. Now click on the Customize button located in the Notification Area section.
The resulting screen contains lots of on/off sliders you can use to enable or disable various system settings and notifications. It's easy to disable notifications while presenting, for example, or turn off the option to show tips about Windows.
In this screen you can also enable or disable notifications on a per-app basis. For instance, you might turn off notifications for Mail, News or Outlook.
The Notifications & Actions screen also contains a link you can use to select which icons appear on the taskbar. You can use this option to hide anything that is likely to confuse users or result in help desk calls. Similarly, there is a link you can use to turn system icons on or off. You can also disable the Action Center, the network icon, the clock and more.
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