system tray : Java Glossary


system tray
The bar at the bottom of the screen with tiny icons representing the programs currently running. The system tray is shared by all applications running on the desktop.

JDK (Java Development Kit)

In Java version 1.6 or later, java.awt. SystemTray lets you manage the tray if your OS (Operating System) supports it. In previous versions you will need some sort of JNI (Java Native Interface) code. There are a number of third party tools.


In Gnome it is referred to as the Notification Area, on KDE (K Desktop Environment) it is referred to as the System Tray. In Gnome, the default GUI (Graphic User Interface) for Ubuntu Linux, there is the panel. A strip across the top contains the menus. A strip across the bottom has a buttons such as ones to navigate between desktops. Part of it is the system notification area e.g. a message that updates are available.


In Windows, the sytem tray takes the form of a strip strip, usually at the bottom of the screen, called the task bar. The far left section of it is called the quicklaunch bar and is for the icons of frequently launched programs. In the middle are icons for running programs. This region is sometime called the slit. On the far right are small icons for background tasks, e.g. for controlling devices such as the display, mouse, volume, keyboard layout… Thee icons on the middle and right are sometimes called the system tray. Some people reserve the term system tray only for the icons on the right. Right clicking them lets you interact with the running program, usually exit and restore.


In Windows Vista, you have the following areas:

Vista task bar

Vista Desktop Terminology
Term Meaning
desktop The entire screen surface where the user can store programs, documents and their shortcut icons.
start menu button extreme lower right. Used to access menus to launch programs and special Windows places (Documents, Pictures, Music, Games, Computer, Control Panel), with most-recently-used lists for quick access to recently used programs and documents.
quick launch lower right. Used to launch commonly used programs with a single click.
taskbar lower middle. Used for programs are currently running.
deskbands lower right middle. Minimized long-running programs, such as Windows Media Player. Programs that minimize to deskbands aren’t displayed in the taskbar.
notification area lower right. Used for system and and background programs, as well as alerts and errors, e.g. notification that updates are available.
sidebar usually in a vertical strip along the right for things like weather, news, currency exchange rates, stock tickers, clocks…

Learning More

Oracle’s Javadoc on SystemTray class : available:
Oracle’s Javadoc on Is the system tray supported on your platform? : available:

This page is posted
on the web at:

Optional Replicator mirror
on local hard disk J:

Canadian Mind Products
Please the feedback from other visitors, or your own feedback about the site.
Contact Roedy. Please feel free to link to this page without explicit permission.

Your face IP:[]
You are visitor number