Windows® 8.1 lists opened windows as tabs on the taskbar, but apps that don't have a display window appear as icons in the taskbar's notification area. Windows optionally conceals these notification icons to reduce congestion and make it less obvious that the app is currently running. However, tabbed windows can be hidden only if the app itself offers that feature or if you install third-party software. Alternatively, you can shut down offending apps or prevent them from running at startup to remove the tab, icon and active process.
Hiding Notification Icons
Right-clicking an empty area of the taskbar, selecting "Properties" and then clicking "Customize" grants access to icon configurations. Deselecting "Always Show All Icons and Notifications on the Taskbar" enables individual control over icons. By selecting "Hide Icon and Notifications" next to a listed app, the app runs silently in the background without displaying an icon in the notification area. Alternatively, selecting "Only Show Notifications" hides the icon unless the app opens a balloon notification.
Ending App Processes
Closing an app ends its process and removes its icon from the notification area. Some apps present an Exit option when you right-click the icon, but others require you to use the Task Manager. Right-clicking an empty area of the taskbar and selecting "Task Manager" displays a list of running apps on the Processes tab, but you may need to click "More Details" first to view all apps. Clicking an app and then choosing "End Task" forces the app to shut down.
Preventing Startup Programs
Startup programs automatically run when you restart the computer, so even if you close the program, it will reappear when you reboot your computer. To make these apps run only when manually selected, disable them from the Task Manager's Startup tab by selecting the program and then clicking "Disable."
Hiding Taskbar Tabs
Open windows appear as tabs on the taskbar, rather than as icons in the notification area. Unfortunately, Windows 8.1 doesn't offer an option for concealing these program tabs on the taskbar, but the program itself might; look for an option to "Auto-Hide" or "Minimize to System Tray" where you can then hide the program's notification area icon. Alternatively, third-party software enables you to hide open windows and their respective taskbar tabs.
Photo Credits: Pamela Follett/Demand Media
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