C# – How to make a .NET Windows Forms application that only runs in the System Tray


What do I need to do to make a Windows Forms application to be able to run in the System Tray?

Not an application that can be minimized to the tray, but an application that will be only exist in the tray, with nothing more than

  • an icon
  • a tool tip, and
  • a "right click" menu.

Best Solution

The code project article Creating a Tasktray Application gives a very simple explanation and example of creating an application that only ever exists in the System Tray.

Basically change the Application.Run(new Form1()); line in Program.cs to instead start up a class that inherits from ApplicationContext, and have the constructor for that class initialize a NotifyIcon

static class Program
    /// <summary>
    /// The main entry point for the application.
    /// </summary>
    static void Main()

        Application.Run(new MyCustomApplicationContext());

public class MyCustomApplicationContext : ApplicationContext
    private NotifyIcon trayIcon;

    public MyCustomApplicationContext ()
        // Initialize Tray Icon
        trayIcon = new NotifyIcon()
            Icon = Resources.AppIcon,
            ContextMenu = new ContextMenu(new MenuItem[] {
                new MenuItem("Exit", Exit)
            Visible = true

    void Exit(object sender, EventArgs e)
        // Hide tray icon, otherwise it will remain shown until user mouses over it
        trayIcon.Visible = false;