MSFN is made available via donations, subscriptions and advertising revenue. The use of ad-blocking software hurts the site. Please disable ad-blocking software or set an exception for MSFN. Alternatively, register and become a site sponsor/subscriber and ads will be disabled automatically.
Sorry to bump an old thread but I was just installing XP on an old laptop and run into this issue while installing the Realtek drivers. I managed to remove the annoying task bar icon by going to start -> command -> regedit, then navigating to HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Software -> Realtek -> HDAudio and editing "ShowIcon" from "1" to "0". After a restart there is no icon.