How To Hide Windows Live Mail As A Minimized System Tray Icon In Windows 7

Groovy How-ToWindows Live Mail is an effective yet simple program from Microsoft for managing your email, calendars, feeds, contacts, and newsgroups.  Windows Vista runs flawlessly and has nearly all of the features you would want and expect.  However, when you try using it in Windows 7 the “minimize to system tray” option is just – missing!  Let’s fix that.

Granted, with the new Windows 7 taskbar, you don’t need as much space as you used to.  But if Live Mail is something you leave running for an extended period of time then it makes real sense to get it off of the Taskbar when not in use.


In Windows Vista, there was a context menu option to minimize Live Mail to the system tray, but in Windows 7 I guess Microsoft just forgot about it.

how to minimize live mail to the system tray in windows 7


We can work around this by tricking Live Mail into thinking that we are running Windows Vista instead of 7, and here’s how.

How to Minimize Windows Live Mail To The System Tray For Windows 7


1. Right-Click the Windows Live Mail program icon on your Taskbar.  In the menu Right-Click the smaller Windows Live Mail icon and then Select Properties.*

*Note Live Mail will need to be open or pinned to the taskbar for the icon to appear on the Taskbar.

how to adjust live mail properties


2. In the properties window Click the Compatibility tab.  Here Check the box labeled Run this program in compatibility mode for: and then Select Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) from the drop menu below it.  Once you have it Selected, Click ok.

windows live mail vista compatibility mode


3. Completely Close Windows Live Mail.

restart live mail


4. Start Live Mail backup, and now you’ll see a Hide window when minimized option appears in the context menu for the system tray icon.  Check this option, and the program will no longer show up on the taskbar when minimized. Instead, it will just be available from the system tray.

hide window when minimized for live mail


You can use this Quick-Tip for other apps that behave the same as Windows Live Mail.  Any questions, drop a note in the Forum.



  1. Zaza

    July 9, 2010 at 1:15 am

    U R really smart guy, thank u very much.

  2. Kendra

    October 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Interesting — When I go to Compatibility, it’s all grayed out.

    • Expert

      October 9, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      Hey kendra are you logged In as an admin?

  3. coco22

    March 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

    GREAT tip !!!
    It successfully worked for me !
    Thank you so much

  4. tooplanx

    March 29, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Thanks for the tip, very useful!

    I have always been bemused that Microsoft cannot / refuse to enable their email handlers to stay active in the system tray- surely that is pretty vital for an email handler? Who wants to have the program window open all the time? Also don’t seem to make it easy to enable the email handler to start automatically on windows start up.

    A mail handler should:

    A) start automatically when you start windows.
    B) stay running in the system tray (even if you hit the ‘close’ button on the program window)
    C) check email frequently and give adequate notification (e.g. a ballon popup) when new mail is received.

    For some reason Microsoft finds it difficult to achieve these very simple things.

    • MrGroove

      March 29, 2011 at 9:37 am

      I agree with all 3 points. Should be simple (you would think). Even Microsoft Outlook the paid version requires the window to be open when you minimize the window. Now on the other side of things, Office Communicator and Live messenger they do stay open in the System Tray even when you close them and act like you mention the Mail handler should so it is possible.

      I guess the main problem Microsoft has to deal with is they want to sell to 1 billion people around the world and each of them want the software to run a little different. Microsoft like most other companies probably chooses a path and hopes the majority will be happy with the options. It is hard to please everyone.

  5. Richard

    April 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Great post, thank you very much for the trick! :-)

  6. Ottzen

    February 10, 2012 at 1:22 am

    Old thread, but Cheerios anyhow ;-)

    Soo simple yet soo nice feature.

    • Steve Krause

      February 10, 2012 at 7:18 am

      The simple ones are the best kind!

  7. Rob Koharchik

    January 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Not to beat a dead horse if it’s dead… But in case it’s not… Is there a way to do this with Windows Live Mail 2012 on Windows 8? It crashes if compatibility mode is attempted but there is no sent to system tray option only like there should be.

    • Brian Burgess

      January 10, 2013 at 11:18 am

      @robkoharchik:disqus I tried it in Compatibility Mode on two of my Windows 8 systems, and it freezes up on me, and I have to kill it in Task Manager.

  8. Raul G

    April 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Excellent tip. I used it to be able to minimize Skype to the tray, and silly me came to this site trying to do the same for Windows Live Mail. :p

    Never the less, thanks for the tip. You the man !!! :)

  9. Menno

    January 12, 2016 at 5:11 am

    Just tried this, and my Windows Live Mail freezes when starting.

  10. Menno

    January 12, 2016 at 5:12 am

    Note: i’m using Windows 10.

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