How to get rid of the Volume OSD in Windows 8 / 8.1 and 10

What are we talking about?

With Windows 8 Microsoft decided to add a small volume OSD to the system. In previous versions of Windows such a display was optional. You could either install the Microsoft Intellitype software which had a volume OSD or any 3rd party tools like Volume2 or 3RVX, which are skinnable and configurable in many ways. With Windows 10 they changed a lot of things in the UI, but the volume OSD has remained the same and – despite of many user complaints – can’t be deactivated. The only thing that is adjustable, is the time the bar is displayed on the screen before it disappears again (Settings / Ease of Access / Other options / Show notifications for).

 

Many notebook manufacturers install their own software which provides a OSD when changing volume via dedicated keys on the keyboard. These often imitate the look of the Apple OS X OSD.

What’s wrong with it?

Well I don’t want to talk about its Minecraft-inspired design, but in my opinion this has some disadvantages:

 

  • It is at a fixed position and can’t be moved
  • It can’t be skinned (if selected, the bar color is adjusted to the background)
  • There is no setting to turn it off

I had Windows 7 on my HTPC in the living room with MediaPortal running. A lot of very nice skins exist for MediaPortal and every one of them comes with its own volume OSD, that visually fits perfect to the skin.

 

Then I decided to upgrade to Windows 10. Now I have 2 volume bars when watching TV or a movie. The one from MediaPortal and the one from Microsoft:

 

With the time I got really anoyed by this.

 

When searching for a solution I found a lot of posts with complaints from people having similar problems (SuperUser, Microsoft Answers, Microsoft TechNet and Reddit), but no hint how to get rid of this bar.

 

I could have turned off the MediaPortal OSD, but the skin-provided OSD is where the skin designer wanted it and therefore fits perfect to the skin, whereas the Microsoft bar in most cases is not.

The solution

After some research with WinSpy++ I saw, that this bar is just a top-level window on the desktop. If it’s a window we can hide it, said and done. I wrote a small Application called “HideVolumeOSD”. It is written in C# and needs .net Framework 4 which is already contained in Windows 8 and above.

 

During installation you can choose between 2 different versions.

HideVolumeOSDSetup

Tray icon version

The tray icon version of this app has a small context menu with 3 items, which is pretty self explaining.

 

 Context menu
 To hide the volume OSD you can select the menu item “Hide Volume OSD” or just click on the tray Icon. With this item you can toggle between visible and hidden volume OSD. If you exit the application, the volume OSD is always restored to visible state.

During Installation the tool is added to the startup folder, therefore once hidden the toolbar remains hidden after a reboot.

 

This is how the tray icon looks like:

 

Volume OSD visible Volume OSD hidden
   

Additionally it is possible to toggle volume OSD visibility by just clicking on the tray Icon.

Silent mode version

This version was a user request from Daniel, who just wanted to hide the volume OSD without any system tray app. This one just hides the volume OSD at user login and quits then. In case you want to turn the volume OSD on again, just look into the program group called “HideVolumeOSD”. There are 3 different launch icons:

 

Icon Action
HideVolumeOSD Starts the system tray version.
HideVolumeOSD (Hide) Starts the silent mode version to hide the OSD and quits then.
HideVolumeOSD (Show) Starts the silent mode version to show the OSD and quits then.

Thats all

At this point I want to finish with a variation of a famous quote from Paul DiLascia, a software developer and author who wrote a lot of C++ columns  for the MSDN long time ago:

 

“If this code works, it was written by Marcus Venturi. If not, I don’t know who wrote it.”

If there are questions about the software or problems, just leave me a note. And don’t forget: Sometimes a reboot is doing wonders…

 

HideVolumeOSD download

This version has an installer for Windows 8 / 8.1 and 10. It runs on 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows.

HideVolumeOSD 1.2 download

Update 09.02.2017: On some Windows 10 installations the above version doesn’t seem to run after restart. If thats the case, please try this one.

 

Source code: HideVolumeOSD on GitHub

109 thoughts on “How to get rid of the Volume OSD in Windows 8 / 8.1 and 10

  1. Daniel

    First of all I want to say thank you. I have been looking for something like this ever since I started using Windows 10. It’s a great little program, but there is one thing I don’t really like about it. I don’t really like that it has to stay in the system tray as I like to keep the icons in my tray to a minimum. (Even the hidden ones) I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Volume2 or not but I like how it has it’s tray functionality set up. It has the ability to turn off the tray icon and if you ever want to see the settings all you have to do is open the exe like your gonna open the program again and the settings pop up. The two main reasons I would like it like that is what I said above and the fact that most likely once you open the program you’re not really likely to interact with it in the near future. I would like for it to be one of those programs you open and let it run in the background and forget about it.

    Reply
      1. Daniel

        It’s not really working well. The first time I installed it in silent mode it wouldn’t block the OSD. So I tried restarting but it just crashes about a minute after windows loading. I tried reinstalling it which it worked that time it blocked the OSD like it should but after reboot it still just crashes. I also noticed on the first version after reboot it wouldn’t block the OSD and you had to turn it off then back on and it would start working again.

        Reply
          1. Zentri

            The stealth version was doing the same thing for me on Windows 10 Pro.

            After restart the OSD came back, I even manually added your exe to the Windows startup folder.

            Then I tried the non stealth version, again after restart the OSD comes back, I have to manually relaunch your exe to disable the OSD.

            Not a huge problem, I don’t restart often and I’ve pinned your exe to my start menu so I can easily disable the OSD upon restart.

            However hopefully you can get get it fixed, I’m guessing it’s a problem with W10 being overtly controlling?

            Thank you again!

  2. Daniel

    I figured out what was causing the program to “crash” at windows startup. Since the program requires admin privileges to run it could not start it self on it’s own due to how windows starts it’s programs. Windows will not give admin privileges to a program in any of the startup folders or registry. To fix this I had to create a new task in the task scheduler that runs the program at user logon with admin privileges. After that the program now gets it admin needs and starts up just fine every time.

    Reply
  3. Marcus Venturi

    Thank you so much for your hints. I was not able to reproduce your problems yet. I was not aware that any part of my code might require admin privileges. I will check that. If I find no way arround that, I will create such a task from the setup.

    Reply
  4. Marcus Venturi

    Could you provide me the settings of your task? If I install a task from the setup it is installed as the admin user which is not the loged in user. If I then start the task, it fails because it does not run on the current desktop.
     
    UPDATE: Could reproduce the error when I turn on automatic logon for a user. Do you have automatic logon enabled? If yes, could you turn it off for a test. Just to see if it works then…
     
    UPDATE2: I testet my program on Windows 8 with normal user rights. If I start it manually it works without admin rights, but it does not start at logon if automatic logon is enabled.
     
    UPDATE3: As already said in UPDATE2, it is not a rights problem. It’s a timing problem. With automatic logon the timing at Startup is altered (faster). I think by creating a task, you just altered the startup timing. Could you test the following version:
    http://www.venturi.de/WordPressDL/HideVolumeOSD-1.2.exe
    Please disable or remove your task before testing.

    Reply
  5. Daniel

    Yes it seems that it runs without admin rights on Windows 8.1 just fine but, it always requires admin rights on Windows 10 as I have tested with multiple Virtual Machines. Using the one you posted it still will not start without being given admin rights with the task scheduler and the program will not run at all unless given admin rights on Windows 10.

    Reply
    1. Daniel

      Also if you turn off UAC the program can run without windows asking to give it rights as it does that automatically.

      Reply
      1. Marcus Venturi

        Thank you for the response, really strange. No clue what changed on Windows 10, but I will set up a Windows 10 VM, as I tested with Windows 8 VMs so far, assuming that Windows 10 behaves the same. The only thing I do is some calls in User32.dll via P-Invoke. When I have something new to test I will post it…

        Reply
        1. Zentri

          I am on Win 10 Pro x64 as mentioned in a prior post and I do not have automatic logon enabled, I have the standard login screen where I have to enter my password before logging in.

          I still have to manually launch a shortcut to the exe upon restart, so I don’t think automatic logon has anything to do with this.

          I may have to schedule a task as Daniel has, but I hope you can fix the problem 🙂

          If you need assistance testing something, I will be glad to help in my free time, feel free to email me.

          Thank you again for this invaluable tool 🙂

          Reply
  6. Ben

    It would be nice if you would provide the corresponding source code so people can see exactly what your program does.

    Reply
  7. David Refoua

    Thanks for sharing this great app with us.
    I already use 3RVX, and when I upgraded to Windows 10, I had to turn it off so I don’t have two bars like you did.

    However, I believe using your approach we may actually be able to also reposition the window, instead of completely hiding it. I see many users have also asked for the source code, so we’d be grateful If you could publish it sooner (preferably with GitHub), so we don’t have to re-code it with C#.

    I don’t blame you though, whenever I write code for my own apps these days they are usually messy, and I would pretty much prefer to clean them up and add comments before anybody else reads/modifies them. 🙂

    Please notify us when the source is ready.

    Reply
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  9. Imzadi

    I just upgraded to Windows 10 and also using MP with a remote. So the volume bar was a tiny bit annoying. No longer, thank you!

    Reply
  10. matt

    Am running Win 10 Pro and whether I run the exe as Administrator or not, it has not effect on the OSD. Anyone any idea why? I have auto login enabled but the exe runs fine on login – well it runs but has no effect – the OSD is still there, but only when I used media keys which i presume is the same problems for all.

    Reply
  11. Bmj

    The software doesn’t work on my computer. Have also tries a restart… Same with software Volum2. Not able to dismiss this osd. Any suggestions/information? Running win 8.1 enterprise (64-bit).

    Reply
  12. Dean Florida

    Damm stopped working within a day, the pop up comes completely at random, usually when i just move the mouse, yes I have tried changing mouse, makes no difference.
    Nothing seems to make a difference, it will go for 10 minutes, then be flashing up on the screen every other second for the next hour.
    I would personally strangle the person who developed this stupid pop up.

    Reply
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  16. Andrew

    Thank you. Thank you. And thank you! Almost wanted to smash my computer because of that Stupid Volume icon. Can’t believe Win 10 still has this kind of problem!!

    Reply
  17. svenE

    Hi,
    I really support that Nobel Price suggestion from Oct 27 above. I am from Sweden, let’s see what I can do about it 🙂
    Marcus – Thank you so much for this feature! Really saved my day.

    Reply
  18. Daniel

    It doesn’t seem to work with the latest windows update (KB3199986) :/ It worked fine before that with build KB3201860

    Reply
  19. thatdudeyouknowyeah

    Hey Marcus!

    I’ve used your program for 3 day but I’ve stumbled upon a huge problem, each time i restart my computer I have got to reinstall your program. Because after a restart the script no longer works and winows’s interface interfere with my work. Could you help me?

    With best regards

    Reply
  20. And

    Never bothered me before Spotify made an update where a box showing the song currently playing imposes itself next to the bar, with no way of turning it off. So glad I found this.

    Reply
  21. Carl

    Is there a way to remove the music overlay? if you double click where it supposed to be it comes back, and then you need to click show osd and then hide osd to hide it again.

    Reply
  22. WT

    Hi,

    I’m running Windows 10, and for some reason I need to reinstall the program after shutting down and later starting up my laptop.
    Is there any way for you to fix this (or for us to fix it ourselves, if need be)?

    Reply
  23. Levi

    Thank you so much!
    I have a small request though.

    Could you please add an option to set a timer for it to go away?
    Like, I press “Pause” on my keyboard, and the overlay shows up in 3 seconds, and then goes away.

    Reply
  24. Rob

    Unfortunately can”t get it to work on Windows 10. After it is installed the OSD comes up and it is still enabled by playing/pausing through the media buttons.

    Reply
  25. Marcus Venturi

    Looks like the latest Windows 10 update causes some problems. I will check that as soon as I have more time. At the moment I have too much other things to get done. So please be patient….

    Reply
  26. Mateo

    Marcus thanks for writing this software! While I do not mind the volume level overlay itself, the killer for me is the album art with play and next icons… I have a keyboard with those keys. 😉

    Works on Windows 10 Pro.

    MUCH THANKS MAN!

    Reply
  27. Carlos

    THANK YOU SO MUCH MARCUS, this saved Win10 from being unistalled from my computer hahaha that volume/music popup was killing me.

    Seriously thank you man. Great job.

    Reply
  28. Degas

    Marcus,

    With the recent windows 10 update I believe this beloved script you wrote is broken. Can you please update it?

    Thank you for making a difference in my life.

    Reply
    1. GazB

      So this appears to be a permissions issue for me. If I debug the code directly it works and if I run the application from here with Admin permissions it works… :/ Not sure what changed!?

      Reply
    2. GazB

      Okay so the version on the GitHub is V1.2.2.0 and works but the version in the above download is V1.1.0.0 and doesn’t work any more. 😉

      Reply
      1. Marcus Venturi

        Sorry I had no time yet to look at it. I will check that at the weekend. Thank you for the hint.

        Reply
  29. tim

    THANK YOU!!! Works perfectly! Very annoying that they don’t have an option on windows 10 to just disable that annoying popup.

    Reply
  30. Ian McChesney

    I installed version 1.0 and it seemed to work but after a short while the sound bar appeared and disappeared after a few seconds. It did this repeatedly. I copied the location of Hide Volume OSD into my start up folder and this made no difference.

    I uninstalled v1.0 and installed v1.2. The sound bar now appears once and then disappears. However my laptop now takes much longer to boot in to Windows and I notice that all three options for the program are in my start up folder. Could this be the reason for the long boot up?

    Reply
  31. JOHN ALLEY

    Marcus . Thank you so much. The OSD was hiding critical parts of my screen. Downloaded and it immediately removed the OSD.
    Amazing. Keep up the great work.
    John

    Reply
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  58. Bruno

    Marcus, I just downloaded the 1.2 version on my Windows 10 x64 and it works like a charm, right off the bat!

    Great work and thank you a lot 🙂

    Reply
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  61. S

    Thanks for this simple and efficient app! I have a suggestion: could you make the system tray icon to show the volume level in real time? Also, it will be a good idea to post a PayPal link for those who want to make a donation (including me).

    Reply
  62. Paris

    Hey both versions don’t seem to work for me anymore after the windows 10 updates today ( 7-11-2017) Anyone knows a solution?

    Reply
  63. Kent Erickson

    Thank you!

    The volume control on my headset would oscillate between adjacent settings, causing the volume window to permanently stay visible. Now it’s gone.

    Reply

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