How can I customize which notification icons are displayed by default on a new installation?

Raymond Chen

Windows 7 provides a new Unattended Windows Setup setting known as NotificationArea. This setting lets you replace the default Action Center and Battery icons with two icons of your choosing.

To specify the replacement icons, you need to provide the path to the application which is providing the replacement icon, and you need the GUID for the replacement icon.

The path you know how to get, because it’s where the application was installed. (Note that the application must also be signed.)

But where do you get the GUID from?

The GUID is provided by the application as part of the programmatic interface to the notification area. When the application creates its notification icon, it passes a structure known as NOTIFY­ICON­DATA, and one of the fields in that structure is the guidItem. If an application fills in the guidItem and sets the NIF_GUID flag, then that is telling the taskbar (among other things), “Hey, if an unattended setup file specifies this GUID as a replacement icon, that’s me.”

Okay, that says where GUIDs are programmatically specified, but where you do you, the system administrator, get the GUID from?

You get them by asking the application author, “Hi, we want to specify that your notification icon is displayed by default in Windows 7. Can you please tell us what GUID you are using for your notification icon?”

Given that application authors are always angling for a bonus, they will probably be more than happy to tell you how to give their icon more guaranteed face-time with the user.

This setting was originally designed for customization by computer manufacturers, and computer manufacturers will probably have a pretty close relationship with the companies that provide shov^H^H^H^Hvalue-added software for their systems.


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