The Windows 10 Action Center is a central location that collects notifications and gives users control over certain features of the operating system.
It is very similar to the notification system on mobile devices that inform users about new events and offer toggles to turn features like WiFi or Mobile Data on or off.
The Action Center on Windows 10 is hidden by default. Microsoft made the decision to place an icon on the Windows Taskbar, or more precisely the System Tray area of it, in the Anniversary Update of Windows 10.
The icon, placed on the right of the system clock, indicates the number of notifications that require user attention, and acts as a gateway to the Action Center.
The Action Center has its uses, certainly. It enables you to control features like wireless or network connections, tablet mode, or Bluetooth with two clicks.
While some of the features may be useful on desktop computers as well, most are probably more useful on mobile devices.
The notifications are mostly reminders to turn features on, or that an automated process completed (updates were installed, Windows Defender completed a scan). I consider these information irrelevant for the most part, but it depends on how you are using the computer.
Microsoft added some controls to Windows 10 that allow you to hide certain quick actions displayed by the Action Center. That's useful, but only if you do use it and want to streamline what is displayed by the Action Center when you open it.
You can manage quick actions in the following way:
If you don't use the Action Center on your Windows 10 PC, you may want to consider removing it from the taskbar to free up room and move the system clock to its rightful place.
If you don't need the Action Center icon, you may hide it in the following way:
Step 1: Right-click on the taskbar and select Settings from the context menu
You may also get there in another way. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows-I to open the Settings application. Navigate to Personalization > Taskbar when it opens.
Step 2: Click on "Turn System icons on or off" when the Settings app opens
Step 3: Locate Action Center on the next screen, and switch it to off
Doing so removes the Action Center icon immediately. Please note that this does not disable the Action Center itself. You may still open it at any time using the keyboard shortcut Windows-A.
If you don't require the Action Center at all, you may disable it completely as well.
You may turn off the Action Center using the Group Policy Editor or the Windows Registry. The former is only included in professional versions of Windows 10 officially.
The following guide walks you through the steps of turning off the Action Center in Windows 10 using the Group Policy Editor.
Step 1: Tap on the Windows-key, type gpedit.msc, and hit enter. This launches the Group Policy Editor on the system.
Step 2: Use the tree hierarchy on the left to navigate to User > Administrative Templates > Start Menu and Taskbar.
Step 3: Find "Remove notifications and Action Center", and double-click on the policy. If the listing is not sorted alphabetically, click on the "setting" header to do so. This makes it easier to location the policy.
Step 4: Switch the state of the policy to Enabled to disable notifications and the Action Center. Click on ok to complete the process.
Tip: Use the shortcut Windows-A to verify that the Action Center is disabled. If it is not launched when you use the shortcut, it is turned off.
You may use the Registry Editor for the operation as well. This is especially useful to Windows 10 Home users who don't get the Group Policy Editor by default.
Step 1: Tap on the Windows-key, type regedit.exe and hit enter. Confirm the UAC prompt that appears.
Step 2: Use the tree hierarchy on the left to navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
Step 3: Check on the right if the key DisableNotificationCenter exists. If it does, skip ahead to step 5.
Step 4: Right-click on Explorer and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value. Name it DisableNotificationCenter.
Step 5: Double-click on DisableNotificationCenter, and set its value to 1.
Step 6: Restart the computer.
The Windows 10 Action Center has its uses. It can be useful if you need to toggle certain features on or off quickly for instance, or find some of the notifications useful that it displays.
It is probably more useful if you use a mobile device, and less useful if you work on a desktop PC.
Now You: What's your take on the Action Center?
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