When you wish to minimize an app or program to the Taskbar, you simply click on the Minimise icon (–) and it gets added to the Taskbar. This way you can get fast access to maximize the apps and programs. However, minimizing the apps to the Taskbar can create a clutter making it difficult to manage and thus, reduces your productivity. All you want is for some apps or programs to run in the background and not jam up the Taskbar area.
For instance, you may want the files to be downloaded, play music, run torrent, etc., in the background. In that case it would be better to add the programs to the notification area or the system tray on your Windows 10 and windows 11 PC, so, you can open the torrent or the music file and close the app which will continue to download and play files in the background.
What is the Notification Area and Where Is It?
The notification area, previously known as the system tray, is the area on the Taskbar that contains the apps and programs that are running in the background. Go to the right side of the Taskbar, click on the up arrow head icon (^) and it will open the notification area or the system tray. You can simply open an app, minimize it to the Taskbar and it will appear in the system tray automatically, if it has the option to run in the background. For example, a media player, a photo editor, torrent file, etc.
However, not all apps or programs have the option to be added to the system tray automatically. Neither does Windows offer any such feature that can help you to send Windows 10 /11 apps or programs to the system tray.
Therefore, if you want to add programs to the notification area on your Windows 10 & 11 PC and make some space in the Taskbar, you can take advantage of some of the 3rd party tools that can help you to send a program straight to the notification area using a hotkey or simply by using the minimize option.
As the name suggests, MinimizeToTray is one of the most popular apps that adds the Windows 11 programs to the notification area or the system tray. However, instead of using the minimize button, it uses hotkeys to minimize the app or the program to the notification area, which makes it even easier to use.
Once you download and run the tool, the minimize and maximize hotkeys get activated. All you need to do is to press the Alt + F1 hotkey on your keyboard to add the active and open window to the notification area, and it gets cleared from the Taskbar.
To maximize and open the minimized window, press the Alt + F2 keys together on your keyboard. In fact, you can also maximize all apps in the system tray at a time by simply pressing the F10 key on your keyboard. Best of all, you can also change the hotkeys if and when you want by clicking on the MinimizeToTray tool seated in your notification area. The notification area will contain a list of all the minimized app windows.
Overall, it’s a perfect tool to keep your Windows programs minimized in the notification area and keep the taskbar clutter-free.
Download here: https://www.softpedia.com/get/PORTABLE-SOFTWARE/System/System-Enhancements/Minimize-ToTray.shtml
Traymond is another great tool that helps you send any Windows 10 app or program to the notification area using a hotkey. It’s an open-source, portable and a pretty low-key tool that helps you keep your taskbar clean by adding the almost any app or program to the system tray on your Windows 11 PC using a simple hotkey. This utility also allows you to restore the minimized apps by simply double-clicking on the tray items.
To minimize the apps or programs, you simply need to run the tool and the press the Win + Shift + Z keys together on your keyboard to send any active open app to the notification area. And, to restore them back, just double-click on the apps in the tray and the apps are active again.
Best of all, the tool does not need to be installed to be run. All you need to do is to by simply double-click on the file to run it from any location. The minimized windows data is store in a single file and is saved in the same folder where the .exe file is saved. However, you are not allowed to change the default hotkey without having access to the source code.
Overall, Traymond is a useful tool that supports most of the programs (if not all), is a portable and runs in the background.
Price: Free and Open Source
Download here: https://github.com/fcFn/traymond
Actual Window Minimizer
Considering that Windows does not offer a feature or a way to minimize apps or programs into the notification area, using an efficient tool like the Actual Window Minimizer for the purpose seems to be a great idea. The utility is just what you need to fulfill the requirement that Windows does not offer, that is, the ability to minimize any program to the system tray.
- It’s a compact yet a powerful tool that takes up minimal system space.
- It can be easily and quickly installed.
- Once installed, it appears as an additional icon (Minimize-to-Tray) to every programs or app’s title bar. This helps you to add any program or app to the notification area in just one click.
- It also offered additional ways to minimize the app or program to the system tray, for instance, you can reverse the behavior of the regular minimization icon (–) located on the upper right side of the window and instead make it function as the minimize-to-tray option.
- It also allows you to hide the app or program windows in the notification area by-default as they are launched or shut down.
Price: Free for 14 days; Priced at $19.95
Download here: https://actual-window-minimizer.en.softonic.com/
If you are struggling to add app or program windows to the system tray, you need a small yet efficient utility like RBTray to help you send the windows to the notification area.
- It helps you minimize nearly any program or app window to the notification area.
- To send the app or program to the system tray, you simply need to right-click it’s minimize button.
- It allows you to restore the windows by simply left-clicking on them.
- It does not need to be installed. Every time you want to use, simply start the app.
- You can also pin a shortcut of the tool on the Taskbar or the Start menu for quick access.
- Provides the option to be set as a startup application. This helps it to be started automatically with Windows start-up every time.
All you need to do is to download the RBTray tool, unzip it to your preferred location and run the app either from the folder or using the shortcut. The first time you launch the tool, you will see some on-scree instructions. Simply press OK to proceed. The tool now starts running without showing up as an icon or in any other way that shows it’s running.
To minimize an app or program to the system tray, right-click on any minimize button, or you can keep the Shift button pressed as you right-click on the title bar of any app or program window to minimize it to the notification area. Alternatively, you can also use the WIN+Alt+Down arrow key combination to minimize an open window to the system tray.
Run the RBTray tool again and when it asks if you want to close its duplicate window press OK.
Price: Free and Open Source
Download here: http://rbtray.sourceforge.net/
Minime is another great utility that that can help you to minimize the active app windows for instance, an email client, media player or IM contacts that have been constantly running, to the system tray.
- This helps you keep the Taskbar clean and save a lot of space.
- Keeps off distractions from other open applications while you are working on your system.
- Neatly arranges the minimized apps or programs in the utility’s context menu.
- Does not create individual icons for all minimized in the notification area. therefore, instead of making the area untidy, it minimizes the apps or programs on its own interface.
- It allows you to restore any or all apps or programs at once by simply right-click on the tool’s icon.
Download here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/minime-tool/
Above are some of the best tools to help you send app or program windows to the system tray/notification area on your Windows 10 and 11 PC that can make your life easier and keep your Taskbar uncluttered at the same time.