Windows XP will neatly hide any icons in the notification area when they become inactive. You are also given the option to also permanently hide or display the icon if you so wish.
Unfortunately, although this idea neatens up your notification area, if you right click the task bar , select properties and then, in the taskbar and startup menu properties window, you click the customise button under the notification area section you will see, not only the current icons displayed, but also every single past icon that has been in the notification area. To get rid of these past items requires editing the registry as follows:
Before making any changes to the registry it is recommended that you make a backup copy of your registry either from within the registry Editor (see 62. How do I backup the Registry in Windows XP ) or by using the freeware registry backup utility called ERUNT (available from www.larshederer.homepage.t-online.de/erunt ).
1/ Click the Start button.
2/ In the Start menu click Run.
3/ In the Run dialog box type: regedit.
4/ The registry editor window will open
5/ Navigate to the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\TrayNotify
6/ Delete the following registry key values: IconStreams and PastIconStream.
7/ Now Open the Task Manager by Right clicking on the taskbar and selecting task manager from the menu.
8/ In the Task Manager window click the Processes tab.
9/ Click Explorer.exe and then click End Process.
10/ Next click File on the Task Manager main toolbar. From the drop down menu click, New Task.
11/ In the Create New Task dialog box type: explorer
12/ Finally click OK.