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How to Clear the Tray Notifications Cache in WinXP


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CCleaner Unofficial Tutorial


How to Clear the Tray Notifications Cache in Windows XP :)



PART 1 - Frequently Asked Questions


What are Tray Notifications, and what is the Tray Notifications Cache?

Tray notifications are user-defined behaviors that you can set for each item that appears in the System Tray. Keep reading to learn how you can change those settings. The Tray Notifications Cache is where Windows stores this information. Tray items are only added to the cache. They are auto-detected by Windows and are never removed unless the user clears the cache manually. After a time, the cache will contain many obsolete software entries.


Where are the Tray Notifications settings located in Windows XP, and how can I change or customize them?

1. Right-click anywhere on the taskbar and select Properties.

2. Go to the Taskbar tab and click the Customize button.

- You will see a very long list of programs, including some that are no longer installed.

3. For each item in the list, you can select one of three behaviors. "Hide when inactive" is the default setting, but you can choose to "Always show" an item in the system tray or "Always hide" it.

4. To change the behavior of an item, click on the dropdown list in the Behavior column for that item to select your choice.

5 Then click OK to save your custom settings, click Apply on the Taskbar Properties, and then click OK to close Taskbar Properties.


Where is the Tray Notifications Cache setting located in CCleaner?

You can find it on the Windows tab in the Advanced category.


What does the CCleaner Online Help say about clearing the Tray Notifications Cache?

The "official" CCleaner Online Help for this feature can be found here and here. The section for Tray Notifications Cache appears below.


Tray Notifications Cache

In Windows XP the System Tray (the set of icons next to the clock in the bottom-right corner) orders and hides items automatically for you. Whilst this is useful, it records a list of every program that has been run from the tray. This option clears the list of previous programs and removes any custom display/hide options. (Warning: This won't have any affect until you manually restart the explorer process from the Task Manager.)

What is CCleaner's warning message about clearing the Tray Notifications Cache?

The message states "System tray cache will be reset, you need to restart the explorer.exe process."


The Online Help and the warning message mention restarting explorer.exe. What does that mean?

It means that you will need to perform additional steps with the Windows Task Manager after using CCleaner, or the tray cache will not be cleared. Those steps will be outlined later in Part 2 of this tutorial. See the next question to learn what clearing the tray cache will do to your system.


What will clearing the Tray Notifications Cache do to my system?

* It removes ALL current and past items that have ever appeared in your system tray, including references to programs that are no longer installed.

* It removes ALL your custom notifications for each item ("Always show," "Always hide," or "Hide when inactive")

* It gives you a fresh clean list of current items.


You will have to manually set the notifications again the way that you want them for each item in the list. Since the list is very short now, this should not take very long. If you follow the proper procedures to clear the cache, there should be no ill effects in Windows or any of your programs. :)



PART 2 - Clearing the Cache: Step-by-Step Instructions


1. Close as many open programs as you can, including those on the Windows taskbar and the System Tray.

- You can leave your firewall enabled if you like, but temporarily disable your antivirus and security programs. (If, however, you have a firewall suite that includes antivirus, you may wish to disable it for this procedure.) This can prevent some error messages and will give you fewer running programs to worry about when you get to the Task Manager steps.

2. Open CCleaner and go to the Windows tab.

3. Go to the Advanced catagory, and place a check mark in the box for Tray Notifications Cache.

- If you have warnings enabled, then the warning message will display at this point.

4. Select any other cleaning options you would like to perform on the Windows tab and the Applications tab.

5. Click the Analyze button, if desired, to review the list of items that will be cleaned.

6. Click the Run Cleaner button to clean your system, and then click OK. If desired, click Run Cleaner again and click OK.

- Sometimes it is good to clean twice for good measure. :)

7. Close CCleaner.

8. Open the Windows Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del.

9. Scroll down the list of running programs and select explorer.exe.

- There should only be one instance of explorer.exe, but if there are two, you must disable them both. See Step 10.

10. Click the End Process button. You will get a warning message. Say Yes to acknowledge it.

- The taskbar, start menu, and all desktop icons will disappear. :( (Do not panic. This is normal. ) :)

11. On the File menu of the Windows Task Manager, select New Task.

12. Type explorer.exe or C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe in the box. Then click OK.

- The taskbar, start menu, and desktop icons will reappear. :)

13. Close Windows Task Manager.

14. Right-click anywhere on the desktop, and select Refresh.

15. Right-click anywhere on the taskbar, and select Properties.

16. On the Taskbar tab, click the Customize button. You will see a very short list of system tray items. Your system tray has been reset.

17. IMPORTANT: Immediately reboot your computer. When Windows restarts, make sure your firewall and all security programs are enabled. Turn on any that are still disabled, so that you can once again be protected. :)

18. Go into Taskbar Properties (see FAQ above) and enter your custom tray notification settings the way that you want them for each item in the list.


That's it! :)



PART 3 - Reference


Windows XP Professional Product Documentation

- What's new in Windows XP --> What's new topics --> What's new on your desktop --> Taskbar notification area overview

Microsoft TechNet: Usability Improvements in Windows XP for Knowledge Workers

- Taskbar Grouping and Notification Area Enhancements

Microsoft Knowledge Base

- Windows System Tray Icons (KB310578)

- How to Clear Past Items from the Notification Area (KB283084)


Disclaimer: Mr. G is the developer of CCleaner and holds the copyrights to the program. This tutorial was written by seamaiden. Seamaiden is not affiliated with CCleaner in any way, other than being a user who loves the program. :)

Windows 10 (x64). Android 11. CCleaner Pro 6.02.9938.

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Try these two fixes first, one at a time.


Restore Taskbar and Desktop to Default Functionality (Line 164)



Restore Taskbar to default settings (Line 99)



If neither solves the problem, try this.


Taskbar Repair Tool Plus!



Be very careful using this tool. Set a System Restore point first.


This tool is not for beginners. There are many advanced options. You may need administrative rights. There is no installer. Just copy the program to a folder (such as C:\TOOLS) and run it from there. Use it only to solve your problem, and then delete it.

Windows 10 (x64). Android 11. CCleaner Pro 6.02.9938.

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:D There is a much easier way of clearing out the tray notifications on taskbar, without going through the task of getting into registry, etc. Works fast and easy and no problems


If you download and use ScrubXP and run it a couple times, it will clear that.

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