Keyboard shortcuts to surf the Windows System Tray

The notorious system tray!, the Windows hiding place for all those programs you need to run but not to see. What if you wanted to reach this minimized-in-the-tray application, in order to follow an update, change some settings or anything? Is there a way to do it without using the mouse?

The Win+b keyboard shortcut gives focus to the little arrow at the left boundary of the system tray, the arrow that opens this card containing the vast majority of the hidden system tray programs. Now, if you press Enter, you open this card, if you press the right arrow in you keyboard you shift focus from the system tray arrow to the next system tray icon that is not hidden in the card but is always visible in the taskbar part of the system tray.

Pressing a letter shifts focus immediately to the icon, the description of which starts with this letter (summarizing: Win+b, then arrow, then a letter – or just Win+b then a letter, if you always show all your icons and nothing is hidden). You can also keep pressing the arrow to reach the desired icon if you don’t know the magical letter of your icon.

When you have focus to any of the system tray icons, pressing Enter will perform the default action for the relevant program –it restores it on the desktop or open its settings, etc.– while pressing the context key (if your keyboard has one) opens the context menu of the relevant system tray icon.

Note that Win+b gives focus to the system tray even when you use Taskbar Control to hide the taskbar. In that case the taskbar will show up temporarily.