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The system tray Manage And Tidy The Windows 7 System Tray Manage And Tidy The Windows 7 System Tray Every Windows user has seen the Windows system tray (also known as the notification area) become cluttered over time. We’ve covered disabling distracting desktop notifications in the past, but what if the icons themselves are... Read More is perhaps one of the most undervalued features of the Windows taskbar 7 Useful Toolbars You Can Add To Your Windows Taskbar 7 Useful Toolbars You Can Add To Your Windows Taskbar The Windows desktop can be a super productive work space. Native toolbars can help you make it even more efficient by placing shortcuts and information at your fingertips. Let's have a closer look. Read More . The icons represent running programs or system functions you can manipulate. For the uninitiated, the system tray sits in the bottom right hand side of the screen, also hosting date and time.

Some system tray icons do nothing but sit there until you close them. Others have pop-up menus with settings functions, whenever you right-click on the icon with your mouse. Good examples of this include Skype, Dropbox, Google Drive, CCleaner, and any anti-virus suite you may have installed.

But there is also other software available which adds some useful functionality to the system tray, making it the truly bad boy on the OS. Here are 9 of them rounded up for your reading pleasure.

Hyperdesktop

Do you often find yourself uploading images to image hosting sites 4 Imgur Alternatives For Uploading & Sharing Images 4 Imgur Alternatives For Uploading & Sharing Images It's easy to forget the free image hosts are still a viable and useful service for many people online. Practically every IM and SMS client supports the sending of images. Email obviously does too. But... Read More such as Imgur or Photobucket? If so, you will like this small app which is designed to make sending images to Imgur as easy and painless as possible.

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You can either drag an image onto the Hyperdesktop window, click the “browse” button to find the image on your computer, or capture a screenshot 4 Best Tools For Creating Screenshots Compared 4 Best Tools For Creating Screenshots Compared CTRL + SHIFT + 4. Three keys - that's all you need for perfect screenshots. It doesn't need to be a hassle! Try these advanced screen capturing tools and you won't ever look back. Read More using the buttons provided. However you do it, the image is then instantly uploaded to Imgur in seconds, and an Imgur direct link is copied into the “Image Links” box provided. It will also open that link in a new tab/window.

WizMouse

It’s a situation we have all experienced. You move the mouse over to move a window or click a tab shut (or close an app), and then discover that the wrong window is in focus. Which means you then have to click on what you want to close, and then close it with the mouse.  OK, it’s only a matter or milliseconds, but still….it does get a bit annoying after a while. Wizmouse to the rescue then.

With Wizmouse enabled, you can use the mouse to close whatever you want, without clicking on it first to bring it to the foreground. Does one job, but does it well, and removes one small computing irritant.

Of course, Windows 10 does that automatically How to Upgrade to Windows 10 via Windows Update How to Upgrade to Windows 10 via Windows Update Windows 10 is offered as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. When you're ready to upgrade, you can use Windows Update and keep all your installed programs and settings intact. Read More .

SuperF4

If I was the developer of this app, I would have given it a more bad-ass name such as App Annihilator, or Software Stomper. SuperF4 pounces like a wolf and kills whatever process happens to be in the foreground. So click on the app window, then click the keyboard shortcut Windows Shortcuts 101 - The Ultimate Keyboard Shortcut Guide Windows Shortcuts 101 - The Ultimate Keyboard Shortcut Guide With so many shortcuts built into Windows and its software, it might seem impossible to learn them all. Here's the ultimate guide to the most useful keyboard shortcuts. Read More CTRL+ALT+F4 to watch it instantly disappear. Remember to save your work first though.

ALT+F4 asks it very politely to get lost and the app can decide whether or not to play nice. CTRL+ALT+F4, with the assistance of SuperF4, makes it hit the road, whether it wants to or not.

ShareX

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Are you into screen capturing and screencasting Show, Don't Tell! 3 Best Free Screencasting Tools for Windows Show, Don't Tell! 3 Best Free Screencasting Tools for Windows They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so a video must be priceless - and there are times when a video is more convenient and effective than simple words. A screencast, also known... Read More ? If so, take a look at GetShareX which turns you into a capturing and casting grandmaster.

Screenshots can be annotated, edited, and modified using a wide array of features. Screencasts are captured in MPEG format or turned into an animated GIF. Afterwards, upload to image hosting sites such as Imgur, or file cloud sync services such as Dropbox. Finally, get the URL as a short URL or as a QR code.

Soundswitch

I am REALLY glad I found this one, because the sound settings were driving me ballistic. I use my headphones for talking on Skype 10 Tips To Make You a More Efficient Skype User 10 Tips To Make You a More Efficient Skype User Skype can do more than you think. With this article, you'll learn all about its best hidden and advanced features. It's the Skype productivity manual. Read More and Google Hangouts, and I then use my speakers to listen to music and watch TV programs and movies.

But when I used the speakers, to be able to switch it over to my headset for calling, I would have to go to the Start menu, choose the audio settings, and then click on the headset. Then after calling, go back to the audio settings and click on the speakers again!

With Soundswitch, you can assign a Hotkey to toggle between different sound devices, and you don’t have to go anywhere near any audio settings.

PureText

In word processing, and in emails, there are many different types of formatting. Leaving aside the countless number of fonts out there, you also have different sizes of fonts, bold, italics, underlining, colors, weblinks, email addresses, embedded images…..the list goes on. And if you are in the habit of copying and pasting various pieces of formatted text from one place to another (say from an email to a word document), then you will know how frustrating it can be, when everything is uneven.

PureText enables you to turn a piece of formatted text into plain text 5 Ways to Strip the Formatting When You Copy & Paste Text 5 Ways to Strip the Formatting When You Copy & Paste Text Carrying all the rich text formatting along when copying and pasting text is irritating. Here are multiple ways to avoid that. Read More . Just highlight the text and copy it to your clipboard 5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro 5 Tips to Manage Your Windows Clipboard Like a Pro Better known as Copy & Paste, a tool for students to lift passages from Wikipedia, the Clipboard can save you loads of typing time. We'll show you how to use it like a pro. Read More . Then press the preset hotkey and that text will then be stripped down to just plain old text, ready for you to paste to wherever it needs to go.

Minibin

Are you the type of computer user that likes to have a completely clear desktop, devoid of anything? The opposite of our very own Matthew Hughes then, whose desktop looks like this:

Yes I know, I’m traumatised, too. Anyway, if you’re like me and you like nice clean desktops, then MiniBin is a good way to also remove the trash bin from your desktop.

Once installed, it will sit in your system tray and you can open and empty your bin from there.

X-Mouse Button Control

Here’s where you can give your computer mouse some steroids and really ramp it up. X-Mouse Button Control gives you a list of possible buttons on your mouse X-Mouse Button Control Lets You Bind New Functions To Your Mouse Buttons [Windows] X-Mouse Button Control Lets You Bind New Functions To Your Mouse Buttons [Windows] As a regular gamer, I know just how important of a peripheral the mouse is. The mouse offers so much control and, unlike certain areas of the keyboard, your hand is practically always resting on... Read More (assuming your mouse has them) and you can assign different actions to each button. So my left hand button activates my Electric Sheep screensaver, and the right hand button starts the coffee maker. Really.

Tray Status

Are you always wondering if the number lock key or the caps lock key is on? Do you mean to type “hello” and end up with HELLO? Tray Status gives you individual small icons in the system tray 3 Applications To Add System Data & Indicators To Your System Tray [Windows] 3 Applications To Add System Data & Indicators To Your System Tray [Windows] The system tray is a pretty big deal in Windows. I love having an application that allows itself to dock there rather than just sit in my taskbar, because that gets cluttered quickly. There are... Read More which show the following :

  • Number Lock status
  • Caps Lock status
  • Scroll Lock status
  • ALT key status
  • CTRL key status
  • Shift key status
  • Windows key status
  • Hard Drive activity with current speed

Just enable the ones you want to see and leave the rest disabled.

The beauty of the system tray is that it can be as minimal or as packed as you want it to be. Which camp do you fall into, and what programs would we find if we looked in your Windows system tray?

Image Credit : Hand Pressing Key Shortcut via Shutterstock

  1. Adam Garrett
    August 10, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    With the Anniversary Update, now you can simply click on the speaker icon and select the output device from the popup..

  2. arlene corwin
    April 17, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    I love them all. Now i just have to figure out which I would really, really use. It's still all a bit of Greek to me. Help! Anyone! I have a MacBook.

  3. Mark O'Neill
    April 15, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Well, it is extremely difficult for me to troubleshoot your problem, as I don't know the intricacies of your system, and I am not standing next to you. All I can say is that I have the same operating system as you, and Soundswitch works perfectly.

  4. Robert
    April 15, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    tried soundswitch, it will change to my headset, but wont change back to speakers. using win 8.1 pro 64bit. using digital output and usb wireless headset

  5. Just some dude
    April 15, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    You might want to mention 7+ Taskbar Tweaker (http://rammichael.com/7-taskbar-tweaker). It also works with Windows 8 and is probably the most useful little utility besides WizMouse.

  6. Arpit Kharbanda
    April 15, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Is it Mathew Hughes or Matt Huges?

    • Tina
      April 15, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      Matthew Hughes, aka Matt. Apparently there's another writer called Matt Hughes, so I changed it to his full name. :)

  7. Skeith
    April 15, 2015 at 8:53 am

    It's called ShareX not GetShareX

  8. Doc
    April 14, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    "In word processing, and in emails, there is many different types..." There *are*. "Types" is plural.

    None of these utilities sound very useful to me...but one I've used since the XP days is LClock. Still works on Win7 x64, but you have to install the 64-bit "patch," and the Control Panel for it doesn't seem to work; I've kept an .INI file from XP so I don't need to reconfigure it at all, solving that...

    • Tina
      April 15, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      Never thought there was anything wrong with the default Windows clock. Thanks for the perspective.

      Typo fixed.

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