Windows is all about multitasking, enabling users to run and use multiple apps simultaneously from the taskbar. You can minimize some apps to keep them away until you need them again. However, such multitasking clutters the taskbar with minimized windows.
Windows 11 has no feature to hide apps on the taskbar. Therefore, the only obvious way to clean up a cluttered taskbar is to close windows and reopen their apps later. However, you can choose to hide software windows on the taskbar without terminating their processes with Taskbar Hide and WinRAP.
How to hide running apps on Windows 11 taskbar with Taskbar Hide
Taskbar Hide is a smart app for hiding and showing taskbar items that you can use on Windows 11 and other platforms in the series dating back to 2000. It allows you to selectively hide both taskbar windows and system tray icons for active apps. Here’s how to hide running apps on the taskbar in Windows 11 with that software:
- Open the taskbar Hide the webpage.
- click on Download website option there.
- To see File Explorer, click the taskbar button with the folder library icon.
- Open the folder Taskbar Hide setup wizard downloaded in.
- Double click on TH Setup.exe file.
- Keep clicking Next in the welcome window to install Taskbar Hide in a default directory.
- Click on the installation wizard Finish option.
- Select OK to complete the installation by restarting Windows.
- Start the taskbar Hide after reboot.
- Open some software windows and minimize them to the taskbar.
- Select the checkboxes for the minimized software windows in Hide taskbar.
- Then click on Hide selected program window the Hide’s taskbar option Menu button.
Now the software windows you chose to hide will have disappeared from the taskbar. However, you can easily restore them when needed. To do so, check the checkboxes for apps to be restored on the taskbar and click Show selected application window.
Taskbar Hide has one Tray the tab that includes all visible third-party apps in the system tray. You can hide these system tray icons in much the same way as taskbar windows.
Select the check boxes for system tray items to remove and click Hide selected icons from system tray option. You can restore them by selecting Show selected items from the system tray.
You can also set a window to stay on top of others with Hide on the taskbar. Select the check box for an app on the Hide taskbar and click Up button.
Select the software to be kept on top in Change window status, click Always on topand press on OK button. Then that window will remain on top of all others open.
Taskbar Hide has customizable keyboard shortcuts to hide/show taskbar windows. To display default keyboard shortcuts, click Menu button and select Settings; the Hotkey tab in the Options window displays the program’s default keyboard shortcuts. You can change them by clicking in their boxes and pressing alternative keys.
F6 is Taskbar Hide’s default keyboard shortcut for hiding an active software window, also known as a “boss key”. Boss keys originated in the 1980s when developers added quick keyboard shortcuts to hide games so the boss couldn’t see what you were playing.
To adjust general Hide Taskbar settings, click Usual tab in the Options window. You can add the program to the startup by selecting Autostart with Windows checkbox there. If you don’t want hidden apps to close with Hide on the taskbar, select Displayed radio button there. Click OK to save any new settings.
How to hide running apps on Windows 11 taskbar with WinRAP
WinRAP is a portable alternative to Taskbar Hide that you can use from a USB stick (or flash drive). This software also includes a lock mode with which you can set a password to show hidden windows. You can hide apps on the taskbar with WinRAP as follows:
- Access the WinRAP download page.
- Select Download now > Exterior mirror 1 to store the app’s ZIP.
- Open the folder containing the WinRAP ZIP in Windows File Explorer.
- Extract WinRAP’s archive as covered in our guide on how to extract files on Windows.
- Double click WinRAP v1.25.exe in the extracted WinRAP folder.
- Bring up and minimize some software windows.
- click on Refresh button in WinRAP’s window.
- Select a window to hide in the list of running apps.
- click on Hide button or press H.
The selected window will now be hidden. You will see it listed in the list of hidden apps in WinRAP. You can restore the taskbar window by selecting it in the list of hidden apps and clicking Show off.
WinRAP’s lock feature ensures that no one can sneak in and snoop through the software you’ve launched while you’ve temporarily left a PC. To lock the hidden software windows, click Lock Menu. Select Usual mode option on that menu. Then WinRAP’s options will be dimmed until you unlock the software. Click Lock > Unlockand enter the standard 1234 password.
WinRAP also has a stealth mode to completely hide that app (and disable Task Manager). To activate that mode, click Stealth mode on Lock menu. By pressing the Shift + Z hotkey and entering the WinRAP password will exit stealth mode.
You can change the default lock password in WinRAP’s options window. Click File select Configurations. Then type an option in new password box and click on Save and close button. You can also specify an option Stealth mode hotkey from that window.
The Additional equipment the menu contains a few more options. There you can choose Hide all to quickly hide all taskbar windows. Or choose Hide the taskbar the option to make the taskbar invisible.
Clean up the Windows 11 taskbar with WinRAP or Hide the taskbar
Taskbar Hide and WinRAP give you more control over the taskbar by configuring what is and isn’t visible on it. These apps are useful for cleaning up the Windows 11 taskbar and conserving space on it when you run many programs. Hide their keyboard shortcuts will also come in handy if you ever want to hide the fact that you’re running certain apps on a PC in a corporate environment.