When I use notify-send to send a simple message to notification-daemon:

notify-send "hello"

it not only displays the message but also creates a system tray icon, as shown on the screenshot below:

enter image description here

This icon will stay in the system tray until I click on it and select "clear all notifications". This icon completely defeats the purpose of notify-send as unobtrusive notification. I have used notify-send few years ago and I am sure it did not have any tray icon back than. Needles to say, this is absolutely annoying.

I have found that I can use transient option

notify-send --hint=int:transient:1 hello

Which makes the icon disappear after a certain time. This is better, but still not acceptable.

Is there any way to get rid of the tray icon entirely?

I am using LXDE on Debian Wheezy

Some answers suggest, this is caused by my desktop environment (LXDE).

I find it hard to believe. I still suspect this is caused by notification daemon. I have downloaded sources for notification-daemon package, and there in the CHANGELOG I see, among other things:

  • Added better support for attaching context notifications to an icon on the system tray, even when it moves. Patch by Colin Walters.

Which seems to be the "feature" that I am complaining about.

Can anybody advice how to disable systray notification in notification-daemon? When I grep the sources for tray or systray, I don't find anything. I don't know where to start.

  • 2
    your tip for transient notifications is great
    – JonnyJD
    Aug 16, 2015 at 12:39
  • I added a -t 150 after your transient option which makes it disappear after 150 ms. Good enough for me.
    – Jason
    Aug 10, 2018 at 15:14

4 Answers 4


As far as I can tell, you are right in attributing the system tray icon to notification-daemon. If you are not happy with the icon, try another notification daemon. Notifications work on the basis of client/server. Any notification client can communicate with any compatible server.

I myself am using dunst and I am very happy with that. It does not have any system tray notification.

There are several notification daemons, notification-daemon being only one of them. In Debian, you can list them with following command:

$ apt-cache search notification | grep daemon | grep notification
dunst - minimalistic notification daemon
inosync - notification-based directory synchronization daemon
notification-daemon - daemon for displaying passive pop-up notifications
notify-osd - daemon that displays passive pop-up notifications
xfce4-notifyd - simple, visually-appealing notification daemon for Xfce

I can recommend dunst. It is a minimalistic, yet highly configurable notification daemon.


That icon has nothing, nothing to do with libnotify, nor dbus. This is entirely dependent of your DM/WM (I'm guessing cinnamon, but could be wrong) and dbus/libnotify can't do anything to control it.

For comparison: XFCE doesn't use such icon, and I'm aware that GNOME Shell does show a icon independently what method you use.

If you need to get rid of the icon, consult the documentation of your desktop environment, through if you are using a derivation of GNOME 3 it may be not possible.

  • I am using LXDE. Dec 21, 2014 at 1:04
  • I thought, LXDE only provides the system tray for applications to use. It is up to the applications whether/how they use the system tray. Dec 21, 2014 at 1:09
  • @MartinVegter I've checked the reference again, is up to the notify server how to deal with the notifications they retrieve. I've found nothing in the reference that indicates otherwise. What I saw was that you can use hints so the item is destroyed along with the bubble, which in your case should dismiss the icon, but I figure you don't want the icon in first place either.
    – Braiam
    Dec 21, 2014 at 1:40
  • Yeah, that icon does not appear for me in lxpanel. I've never seen it.
    – iyrin
    Dec 24, 2014 at 20:16
  • 1
    @DavidDombrowsky the icon itself is a selection of how the system you use decides. Dbus doesn't affect it, as you discovered in your own answer. The icon depends on the notification handler.
    – Braiam
    May 22, 2018 at 11:28

For what it's worth, I had the opposite request. I wanted the list of notifications to show up. Turns out the default in lxde (or maybe ubuntu) is notify-osd, which doesn't show this icon or the history of messages sent by anything, including notify-send.

I switched it to notification-daemon and it does exactly what I want it to do. Not sure how to hack the startup scripts or settings to get lxde to do it automatically, but that's a solvable problem.

  • I am using Lubuntu 18.04 and I would like to get a notification icon with the list of notifications, as I use quite a few software generating notifications which I don't always see right away. I have tryed to install notification-daemon but it was already installed so nothing changed. Any other ideas on how to activate an icon with a notifications list ? May 20, 2019 at 10:03
  • It's possible that the default notification handler is grabbing them. I had to make sure that all others (e.g. notify-osd) were REMOVED from the system, and then notification-daemon seems to work automatically. It shows the history of notifications also, which is nice. May 21, 2019 at 12:58
  • It was xfce4-notifyd that was running and it did not get listed by the command apt-cache search notification | grep daemon | grep notification as the text is in translated in French (I am running LXDE in French). I eventually found it and removed it (and killed it). I installed notification-daemon and started it manually with /usr/lib/notification-daemon/notification-daemon start and it works fine now ! May 31, 2019 at 15:14
  • I will see after next reboot if it does not start automagically, I will add it to the autostart apps in /etc/xdg/autostart. May 31, 2019 at 15:20

Use the --icon= flag with a path to a transparent image. Combine that with the short timeout and you don't see anything.

  • No, the --icon= option is for the icon within the tooltip.
    – user86969
    Dec 29, 2014 at 16:22

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