The Action Center in Windows 10 is a tool contained in Microsoft’s newest operating system. It allows fast access to some key commands and avoids the need to dig into Settings or Control Panel to perform some fundamental actions. As this is quite a useful feature, this tutorial will show you how to open Action Center in Windows 10 and what to do when you’re there
Also see our article How To Speed Up Windows 10 – The Ultimate Guide
Action Center built on Charms from Windows 8 but makes them easier to live with and much more useful. Desktop users may not get quite so much value from it but mobile and laptop users certainly will. The ability to quickly turn a feature on or off with a swipe or mouse click has obvious potential.
Action Center is installed as standard in all Windows 10 editions but this being Microsoft, it will need a little tweaking to get it working properly.
How to open Action Center in Windows 10
Opening Action Center in Windows 10 is about as simple as it gets. Just tap or click on the little speech bubble icon to the right of the clock in the Taskbar. A vertical window should appear with notifications at the top and quick actions at the bottom. Click anything in this slider to read the notification or perform the action.
You can also use the shortcut Windows key + A to access Action Center in Windows 10.
If the speech bubble icon is empty, there are no notifications waiting for you. If the speech bubble has three lines in it that look like text, it means there is a notification waiting. If the bubble has a tiny quarter moon on the bottom right, it means you have Quiet hours turned on.
The exact actions you see in the slider depend on what device you’re using and how you have it set up. Desktop versions will differ from laptops unless you have a Wi-Fi card, Bluetooth or a touchscreen on your desktop.
How to configure Action Center in Windows 10
As I mentioned earlier, Action Center will need a little tweaking to tune it to your needs. By default, it has a habit of notifying you about absolutely everything and allows any installed app to pop up a notification. Most of us really aren’t going to want that so we can tune it a little.
- Open Action Center and select All Settings.
- Select System and Notifications & actions.
- Select the Add or remove quick actions text link in the right pane.
- Select what actions you want to appear on the lower half of the Action Center.
- Go back to Notifications & actions.
- Tweak Notifications to suit your needs.
I like to limit notifications to the apps I use. So will leave Get notifications… toggled on, turn off Show notifications on the lock screen, Hide notifications when I’m duplicating a screen and Get tips and tricks… That last one is essential. It turns off a lot of the more annoying Windows advertising.
- Open System and Notifications & actions if you closed it.
- Scroll down to Get notifications from these senders.
- Select the apps you are happy to notify you while using your device.
- Toggle off any you can to keep quiet.
You can also change priority of the messages you choose to receive in Action Center. This is useful if you allow lots of them on your device. For example, you can prioritize email and Facebook updates over security notifications or the other way round.
- Open System and Notifications & actions.
- Select one of the apps you get notifications from and click it.
- Scroll down to Priority of notifications in Action Center.
- Select the priority you want to assign it and the number of notifications you are happy for it to display.
- Repeat for any app you want to modify.
Turn notifications on or off in Action Center
If you find Action Center notifications more of a hindrance than a help, you can turn them off.
- Open System and Notifications & actions.
- Toggle off, Get notifications from apps and other senders.
- You can also toggle off individual apps if you prefer under Get notifications from these senders.
If you find you miss things, just toggle the same setting(s) back on.
Disable Action Center in Windows 10
You can also disable Action Center as a whole should you want to work or play without being distracted. You will need to change a registry setting so make a backup of your registry before making any changes. Then:
- Press Windows key + R, type regedit and hit Enter.
- Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer.
- Right click the Explorer file on the left, select New, DWORD (32-bit) Value and call it DisableNotificationCenter. Give it a value of 1.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer.
- Right click the Explorer file, select New, DWORD (32-bit) Value and call it DisableNotificationCenter. Give it a value of 1.
Again, if you find you miss it, just change these two values to 0 to disable them.