How to Minimize a Windows Program to the System Tray 2023.
The Windows interface has experienced many ups and downs over the decades. Some designs, like the Start Menu, are very popular. Others, like the ill-fated Windows 8 Metro interface, are largely disliked.
The taskbar, where your minimized windows are, is hardly the target of such hate. However, it can be quite crowded here. Not all of your programs, especially those that need to run constantly, need to take up space there. Unfortunately, Windows does not offer its own way to minimize a window to another usable space – the notification area. Previously called the system tray.
The Notification Area
Longtime Windows users have always known a small reserved area that contains the display of the clock in Windows as a “taskbar”. Basically, we still call it that, but the proper name for this part of the Windows user interface is the notification area.
What’s in a name? Not much to be honest, but the official name for the taskbar will be useful for any future Google searches related to it.
Using Minimize to Tray to, Well, Minimize to the Tray
Minimize To Tray is a free and open source portable application. Since this is a laptop, you are not actually installing anything. You just download and run the program. This also means that it will not start automatically every time Windows starts. So you can create a shortcut and pin it to the taskbar or to the start menu.
Using the Collapse to Tray feature is quite simple. Here are the basic steps:
- Download Minimize to Tray and unzip it to any location of your choice.
- Run the program from its folder or from a shortcut you created.
- Switch to any window that you want to minimize to the tray.
- Press Alt + F1 and this window will be minimized to the tray.
To restore the window, you can use Alt + F2 or right-click the application icon in the taskbar shown here.
Then select the window you want to restore from there.
Using RBtray to Quickly Minimize Almost Any Window to Tray
RBtray is an open source tiny applet that works in the most ingenious way. While RBtray is running, all you have to do is right-click the minimize window button. This is in contrast to the normal left-click, which minimizes the window to the taskbar.
You will find program icons in the notification area and you can restore program windows by left-clicking them there.
RBtray is not installed on the system. So you have to run the program every time you want to use it. It’s not a big problem. You can simply pin the program shortcut to the taskbar or start menu. Alternatively, if you feel a little out of the ordinary, you can set it as a launcher application so that it starts automatically every time Windows starts. Here’s how to use the program:
- Download RBtray and unzip it to any location of your choice.
- Run the program from a folder or using a shortcut.
- The first time you launch RBtray, you will see a window with some instructions, select OK to continue.
- RBtray is currently running, but it has no icons or other indication that it is working. anything.
- Right-click any minimize button to minimize its window to the notification area.
- Or hold Shift while right-clicking the title bar of any window for the same effect.
- You can minimize the active window using the keyboard shortcut WIN + Alt + Down Arrow.
- To close RBtray, start it again, and the program will ask you if you want to close the already running copy.
It’s really that simple.
Actual Windows Minimizer ($19.95)
Both of the previous tools are completely free, but if you’re willing to spend some money getting your windows squeezed into the notification area, then Actual Windows Minimizer might be a good choice as well.
There is a trial version of the software that you can try yourself to see if the extra polish and features are worth it. The first feature of the header compared to the previous two apps is the built-in option to launch the program on startup. Of course, you can set up any application to start at startup with a little grease, but a one-click solution is welcome.
Another feature of Actual Windows Minimizer is that it adds an extra button to application windows. This way you still retain the normal functionality of the minimize button. You also have the option to change the way the standard minimize button works. You can also check certain apps that start at startup to automatically minimize the window to the notification area.
Another important feature is the app’s control over which icons are always visible in the notification area. If you want an application to remain visible no matter what, you can set it to “persistent mode” for quick one-click access.
Once you’ve calculated all the different features that Actual Window Minimizer has to offer, the price doesn’t seem so unreasonable. If, of course, you will actually use these functions.
Apps With Native Tray Minimize Functions
Developers have realized that some apps are better suited for the notification area than for the taskbar. Therefore, it is worth checking in this application if it has the ability to fold into the tray.
You might even be lucky to send a feature request if your favorite app doesn’t have this option. Not all applications work well with the utilities mentioned above, in which case direct developer support will be required.
A Minimalist Solution
With luck, Microsoft may one day add the ability to minimize any application to the tray as a built-in Windows feature. It is not uncommon for operating system developers to adopt features from third-party applications that users love.
So if you really can’t live without the ability to minimize an app to the tray, it might be worth letting Microsoft know that you want this feature built directly into Microsoft Windows.
How to Minimize a Windows Program to the System Tray 2021
How to Minimize a Windows Program to the System Tray 2021