If you don't want to see icons in your notification area (the bottom-right corner near the clock), regardless of whether or not they're in use, here's how to remove them:
1. Right-click the Start menu and then click Properties.
2. Click the taskbar tab and then click the Customize button.
3. Scroll to the icon that you want to remove and click its behavior listed on the right. Change the icon's status by selecting from the drop-down menu.
4. When you're finished, click OK.
Tip is courtesy of the book Windows XP Killer Tips by Kleber Stephenson.
"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else."
by Charles Dickens