One of Power Downloader's pet personal computer peeves is the Safely Remove Hardware icon that pops up and nags him anytime he removes a device. External hard drive, thumb drive, a USB-powered fan--there's no escaping that pesky pop-up.

Except, of course, there is a solution. In fact, there are two easy solutions, says Power Downloader: One uses a small program, while the other involves tweaking the QuickLaunch bar's properties.

The tiny and free program called Icon Remover comes with two functions: a button to remove the Safely Remove Hardware icon, and a second button to restore it. That's all the app does, but it's certainly the simplest way to tame that unruly icon. Simple and effective, it's a reasonable way to solve the problem without having to remember various twists and turns in the QuickLaunch properties box.

The QuickLaunch bar properties give users control over pop-up icon behavior. (Credit: CNET Networks)

If that labyrinthine pathway to icon removal appeals to you, or if you prefer to not download a 500KB program for such a tiny issue, there is a way to access that icon's behavior from within Windows that doesn't involve hacking the Registry. Right-click on the QuickLaunch bar in the tiny space below the clock, and select Properties from the context menu that appears.

Under the Notification area, hit Customize and then scroll through the choices until you see Safely Remove Hardware. Change the default setting of Hide When Inactive to Always Hide--you've now taught that annoying pop-up to stay down, and you've prevented one of Power Downloader's pet peeves from becoming your own.