Using the Notification Area

Over on the right side of the taskbar is the Notification area (also called the system tray or tray). Each icon in the Notification area represents a program or service that’s running in the background. For example, antivirus and antispyware programs often show icons in the Notification area so that you know they’re running.

To conserve space on the taskbar, Windows 8 gives you the option of hiding inactive icons. When inactive icons are hidden, you see a button with up and down arrows on it at the left side of the Notification area. Click the button to see icons that are currently hidden.

As with any icon or button, you can point to an icon in the Notification area to see the name of that icon. Right-clicking an icon usually provides a context menu of options for using the item. Clicking or double-clicking the icon usually opens a program window that’s associated with the running background service.

A context menu is a menu that offers commands that are in the context of the selected item. In other words, the commands apply specifically to the selected item, not to other items. To open a context menu, right-click an item (such as an icon).

For example, the Volume icon provides a simple service: It lets you control the volume of your speakers when sound is playing. To change the volume, you click the icon and then drag the slider (shown in Figure 4.21) up or down. Optionally, you can mute the speakers by choosing the button at the bottom ...

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