|Icons on the desktop or taskbar do not slow the system, however, icons in the systray (next to the clock) *may* slow things down. It's not the icons themselves but the programs that they represent. Each icon in the system tray is connected to a program that loads at startup, so if you have numerous icons, you *may* be taking a performance hit. The leaner you run, the better. The only icons that really need to be there are the volume control, antivirus, firewall (if you're running one), network connection.|
Things like AIM, Yahoo messenger, printers, cameras, scanners, Quicktime, Realplayer, iTunes, Adobe, etc should NOT be there. They can be started on an as-needed basis. There's no reason for them to load immediately at startup.
"If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions" - Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) in Pulp Fiction