I am building an application that minimizes to tray on the close-button (cross upper right corner). I found two different behaviours for this kind of application now:

  1. click on the tray icon to bring the application back to front again, and not use a ContextMenu.
  2. use a ContextMenu with a "Show Application" option (plus Quit and some control actions).

The first one is obviously the easiest to implement, but what is the way to go for "least surprise" ?

1 Answer 1


This really depends on the usage behavior of your app.

If you're able to provide some direct helpful actions in the "ContextMenu" then please use a contextmenu on click. So the user is able to interact with your app without opening it (= fast access). Best example would be the power mode of Windows 8.1, see screenshot. Windows 8.1 energy options

Here is the Windows 10 screenshot.

enter image description here

If you're just showing some options (like "Open"/"Settings"/"Quit"..) then please always open the open on a click. Implement a right-click behavior to open the ContextMenu. It is really destracting if you would like to open an app and you always need to click twice (Click on tray icon -> Click on open app).

  • As an aside, how is that window you show in your example called? Trying to look for information on how to implement that. Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 7:18
  • 1
    Your example from Windows 8.1 is so yesterday. :o Actually, I'm making a joke because Windows 10 was released yesterday. ;)
    – JeromeR
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 7:26
  • @JeromeR you're right, it's important to be up to date :) See the updated post above :) at Bart: it is called ContextMenu. Here is an example for the Systray ContextMenu stackoverflow.com/questions/718386/… Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 5:43

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