What’s in your Quick Launch Toolbar / System Tray

It’s time of yet another show and tell moment. It always interests me to see what people have in their quick-launch tool bar and/or system tray. I know, not all of us use these things. I remember quite a few people in the Show me your desktop thread were using desktop managers that eschew tool bars and trays. We had some users of Awesome, some users of Ratpoison and few others. But if you own a system that does have a quick launch tool bar of sorts, let me know what is in it.

Why do I want to know this? Because it shows me what software you use on your daily basis – what tools do you consider to be so essential they need to be accessible with just one click. For most of my software I use Launchy and Katapult. I hate navigating application menus. But I still keep bunch of apps on the tool bar for an even quicker access:


This is a screen shot from my Kubuntu machine at work. Let’s ignore the K menu which is standard, and the two icons next to it. One expands to a list of frequently used file system locations (home, storage media etx..) the other is a standard KDE “show desktop” icon. These are fairly standard in KDE. The rest of the apps (from left to right, top to bottom) are:

  1. Kontact – my default email client on that machine
  2. Terminal – opens a kterm for me – I tend to hit this 10 million times a day on average
  3. Firefox – first thing I open, last thing I close before logging off (I close it because of memory leaks)
  4. Kile – LaTex editor. I used to use it a lot when I was in school – I don’t really need it for work, but it’s there
  5. SmartSVN – it did not have an icon, so I used this squirrelly thing
  6. Virtual Box – I use it to run a Windows XP copy so that I can test windows specific things on it
  7. Komodo Edit – my current IDE of choice for PHP
  8. CrossLoop – remote screen sharing app based on TightVNC I often use to troubleshoot things with coworkers on location. Runs perfectly well under Wine btw.
  9. Speed Crunch Calculator – just a basic calculator for when I need to crunch some numbers or make a quick dec to hex/binary conversion
  10. KSnapshot – basic KDE app for taking screenshots

My Windows box at home has a much more minimalistic setup:

Windows Quicklaunch
  1. Firefox – as above
  2. Thunderbird – my primary email client on the windows platform
  3. µtorrent – it only weighs in at few hundred KB, is full featured and the memory footprint is almost nonexistent – there is just no way you couldn’t love it.
  4. Foobar 2000 – if I want to listen to music, I use Foobar because it is minimalistic simple and functional

This sort of shows that at home I’m primarily running Firefox. Everything else is secondary. Also, the canonical “Show Desktop” icon is not there because I simply use Win+D for that.

The system tray is another matter. It shows how many services you are running on your machine. Here is my Kubuntu tray:


This may seem like a lot of stuff but it is not. Almost all of these apps are actually native to KDE and start with my window manager. If you use KDE you should recognize them:

  1. The flag is the keyboard layout switcher (I frequently switch to Polish Programmer’s layout and back).
  2. The padlock is the GPG key manager (running because Kontact is using it).
  3. The standard Network tray icon
  4. The standard power management icon
  5. The Korganize notification daemon (part of the Kontact suite)
  6. The standard volume management icon
  7. The standard clipboard management icon (aka Klipper)
  8. The standard bluetooth management icon
  9. The standard Kmail icon (shows a number of unread emails)
  10. Kwallet – the standard KDE password manager (not shown)
  11. Google Desktop Search – yeah, I use it – sue me (not shown)

Here is my windows machine:

Windows Tray

Once again, minimalistic approach. I try to run as few things on that machine because it is old, and I want to squeeze as much performance out of it as I can.

  1. The Language Bar – for switching keyboard layouts
  2. The Standard Network Manager Icon
  3. McAfee Antivirus (hidden) – I paid for it few millenia ago and they have been diligently charging my credit card ever since and I never got around to cancel it and use something else
  4. There is also a sound manager, and “safely remove hardware” icon there and nothing else.

Now it’s your turn. What is in your Quick Launch tool bar? What is running in your tray. Let me know!

[tags]quick launch, system tray, icons, launchy, katapult[/tags]

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13 Responses to What’s in your Quick Launch Toolbar / System Tray

  1. feeshy Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    Well two machines really; I’m not one for the wasted space of docks so a single bottom menu bar of 24 pixels is it….

    Ubuntu T61 ThinkPad – All programs are launched with Gnome-Do and I mean ALL ;)

    Menu Bar:
    Standard Gnome Menu (not the Ubuntu Menu Bar)
    Show Desktop
    Window Switcher
    Desktop Switcher (2×2)

    System Tray:
    Tomboy Notes
    Google Desktop
    Gnome Power Manager
    Gnome Bluetooth
    Gnome Network Manager
    Weather Applet

    Home XP PVR/Media Centre Box;

    Start Menu:
    Show Desktop
    Command Prompt
    Window Switcher

    System Tray:
    Network Icon
    Copernic Desktop Search
    Yahoo Widgets
    AVG Free
    Sygate Firewall (I know, but it is still the best Windows Firewall)
    Daemon Tools
    Nvidia Tray Icon
    Volume Control
    Device Eject Icon

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  2. Scott UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    Ubuntu 8.04 amd64 — Screenshot

    Menu bar –
    1. Gnome menu (accessed vi alt-F1)
    2. Window list (blank area on the screenshot)
    3. Deskbar applet (tried Gnome Do awhile ago but the memory use seems waaaay too high).
    4. Trash applet (so I don’t inadvertently fill up the trash and forget about it if I don’t hit shift-delete)

    Tray –
    1. Thunderbird minimized using kdocker (yes,yes, kde app on gnome…along w/ amarok)
    2. Wallpaper changer
    3. Wicd
    4. Fusion icon to reload compiz when it messes up after a resume (I should probably ditch this and write a small script to do this instead after each resume).
    5. Volume (could probably ditch this too since I mostly use the volume slider on the laptop)
    6. Weather, clock and date

    I use ctrl-alt-z to launch my terminal, ctrl-alt-m to maximize thunderbird, and fn-f3 (the default) to launch firefox. Deskbar applet pretty much launches everything else. I leave the menu on there if I forget what I’m looking for, or get bored and find something I forgot I had!


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  3. Adam Dempsey UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    At work I have my taskbar docked to the left side of the screen with about 20 items in quick launch, 5 browsers for testing, puTTY, a few custom programs to automate stuff and FTP client etc.

    My Quick Launch

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  4. Mads DENMARK Opera Windows says:

    I use a two line taskbar.

    Quick launch: Top line: Show desktop, IE, Outlook, Windows media player.
    Bottom line: Firefox, Opera and safari.

    In the taskbar I have Task manger, Resource Manager, outlook, Opera, RoyalTS (Terminal services), first firefox window, MSN Messenger, WMP, Programmers notepad. The rest is random, there’s some putty, more firefox windows (because I like not having to swich between tabs in firefox, easier just to open a new instance), Word 2007, serveral open emails (recived and writing), some httpheader thingy (Live HTTP headers, a plugin for firefox), VMware management thingy, two IE windows (with serveral tabs open each).

    Sysytem tray: Whatpulse, outlook new mail, printer thingy, java runtime, opera icon, network, outlook standard icon, MSN Messenger, sound icon, task manager and another sound icon.

    I’d like to consider myself a power user, but I don’t have enough ram to do so :(


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  5. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Running XP, I made myself a custom toolbar across the top of the screen and stuck all the programs I use on there. That way they’re accessible whatever window I have open, I rarely have to delve into the start menu and my desktop is relatively clear of icons.

    Up on there I have shortcuts to My Computer, My Documents, My Videos, My Music, My Pictures and my downloads folder, Firefox, Msn, VLC, Foobar2000, GIMP, uTorrent, SUPER, Alcohol, CloneCD and CloneDVD, Steam, Team Fortress 2, OOo Writer and Calc, MSOffice Word, Excel and Publisher, Notepad, Paint, Paint.net, the Windows Calculator and the Recycle Bin (hooray for horizontal screen space)

    Having that, I don’t use the quick-launch bar. My systray is kinda cluttered… I don’t like it hiding the things I use, so I turned off the hide inactive icons thing, this means the one’s I don’t use are also not hidden. So in there we have a VNC server, the default network connection icon, Steam, PeerGuardian, MSN, the “catalyst control” thing from my graphics card, Volume Control, “Safely remove hardware” because Windows thinks my printer is a USB mass storage device, AVG, Flashmute (useful thing that) ATNotes, another audio control thing from my sound card, Logmein’s icon, and a little doodad that keeps my clock synced up to the right time.

    There’s also commonly the little yellow shield from Windows Update, waiting for me to reboot. This is because I generally go to standby instead of off and I’ll be damned if I’m doing any different just ‘case some snotty yellow shield says otherwise. Since AVG now requires a reboot after every update (fucking v8, v7 would update fine without a reboot) so that’s normally displaying the “something’s wrong” icon to guilt me into rebooting.

    Pinned to my Start Menu I have Firefox, MSN, VLC, Foobar, uTorrent, Notepad, Paint and the Calculator. I like having Notepad/Paint/Calculator on hand for the myriad little simple jobs where a more sophisticated program would be overkill.

    So yeah.. that’s all the shortcuts that are a click away on my setup.

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  6. Adam Kahtava CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I primarily use Slick Run on my non Vista / Sever 2008 machines. I try to avoid the mouse as much as possible.

    All my Quick Launch menus contain these basics: Firefox, Notepad++, Thunderbird, and Skype. On my dev machine I have these additional items: Visual Studio, SQL Sever Manager, and Reflector.

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  7. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    [quote post=”2562″]There’s also commonly the little yellow shield from Windows Update, waiting for me to reboot. This is because I generally go to standby instead of off and I’ll be damned if I’m doing any different just ‘case some snotty yellow shield says otherwise.[/quote]

    Heh. Same here. I don’t reboot the computer. I just lock the screen and walk away and let it go into standby by itself.

    That said, at some point I got annoyed by that thing and set up my Windows update to run at like 5am every day. This way if the machine needs to reboot, it will reboot by itself while I’m sleeping and when I need to use it I will simply need to log in.

    [quote post=”2562″]I primarily use Slick Run on my non Vista / Sever 2008 machines. I try to avoid the mouse as much as possible.[/quote]

    I use Launchy which at a first glance seems to be a bit more powerful variation on the same theme. Have you tried it? Or do you prefer SlickRun for some specific reason?

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  8. Adam Kahtava CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    [quote post=”2562″]I use Launchy which at a first glance seems to be a bit more powerful variation on the same theme. Have you tried it?[/quote]

    I tried Launchy, it had install issues or didn’t work on some versions of Windows (I can’t remember which). Slick Run has worked every time.

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  9. freelancer SWEDEN Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Quick Launch:
    1) Show desktop (see below)
    2) Switch between windows (I’m actually not sure why I still have these. They came with Vista, and I just haven’t removed them. I think I’ll do that now)
    3) Firefox (always the first application I launch when logging on, and last thing I close when shutting down)
    4) VNC Viewer (use it frequently to connect to my server)
    5) foobar2000 (well…music :D fb2k is my favorite, and looks great with the Brumal Treeline skin/theme (which strongly inspired the PocketBar design). And it’s usually the second application I launch when logging on)
    6) mIRC (third application I launch)
    7) Internet Explorer (I try to avoid it, but sometimes the sites on the tubes just don’t agree with Firefox)
    8) Widescreen (see below)
    9) Standard (UltraMon display profiles. I move the computer between two places once a week. One has a widescreen monitor, the other does not)

    System Tray:
    1) Windows Update (…)
    2) DAEMON Tools (useful for…legal backups…)
    3) X-Fi Mode Changer (nowadays I just use it to change from headphone to speaker mode with a hotkey, when watching TV shows from the computer on my TV)
    4) SpeedFan (they don’t need to blow at 100% all the time ;))
    5) uTorrent (for downloading Linux distros and…other stuff)
    6) DVD Ghost (for watching all DVDs with my Region 2 reader)
    7) Safely Remove Hardware
    8) avast! Anti-Virus (2 icons actually)
    9) Standard Windows network icon thingy
    10) Standard Windows volume control
    11) Clock

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  10. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    My personal philosophy is: “if I’m not using it right now this second, it doesn’t need to be running”. First thing I do on a windows machine is to download Sysinternals Autoruns and banish all the unnecessary apps from my system tray, and forbid them from starting with windows.

    When I need to run Daemon Tools, I double click on the icon before I launch whatever requires it to be running. I don’t let it sit in the tray and boss me around as if it owned the place. :)

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  11. freelancer SWEDEN Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Heh, I generally like to have it that way too. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way, usually because I’m lazy. When I need to use for example Daemon Tools I want to be able to use it immediately. That might have made more sense a while ago though, since I don’t use it that much anymore.

    I haven’t used Sysinternals Autoruns myself, maybe I should try it. Thanks for the tip :)

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  12. Pingback: Recent Faves Tagged With "systemtray" : MyNetFaves UNITED STATES PHP

  13. JuEeHa FINLAND Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    Main computer (iBook, 2004, Mac OS X 10.4):
    -iCab 2.9
    -WannaBE PPC

    -Applications folder
    -Applications (Mac OS 9) folder
    -Home folder
    -Fast user switching
    -Keyboard language selector
    -Standard power managment
    -Volume control
    -Airport control
    -Classic menu
    -ClamXav sentry

    Secondary computer (PC clone by POMI, around 2000, own linux distro with kde 3.5):
    Tool bar 1 (Right, show always) :
    Tool bar 2(top, show when mouse on top right corner):
    -Quick file manager: ~
    -Quick file manager: /
    -Run command
    Tool bar 3(bottom, show when mouse on bottom left corner)
    -Desktop selector (4 desktops)
    -Running applications
    Kasbar(bottom, show always, windows grouped by application):

    Server/tinkering machine(PC clone by POMI, 1994, my own linux distro with JWM):
    Tool bar:
    -JWM menu

    Other computers I use either run OS that doesn’t have a tool bar/tray or use Linux+window manager without tool bar/tray(I use wwm, twm, openbox, mwm and keytools with key bindings to xmove(M-m), xresize(M-r), xclose(M-w), xraise(M-u) xlower(M-d) and xterm(M-n))

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