Windows

How do I turn off the Solve PC Issues notification in Windows 7?

Jack Wallen shows you how to disable the Solve PC Issues feature in Windows 7 so that end users don't use a solution that causes bigger problems.

Microsoft Windows 7 has proven to be a very good computing environment. It's not perfect, but it's as close as Microsoft has ever come. But if you are like me, you hate some of the annoying "features" of Windows 7. One of those features is the Solve PC Issues white flag that pops up to inform you that Windows can show you just how to solve a specific problem.

These problems can range from the innocuous and easy "Updates Available" to more complex firewall and security issues. Having this notification is all fine and good when you are an old hat at using a PC, but when you are a new user (or an end user who thinks they are an old hat), the ability to "solve" problems only causes more problems in the end. So, to get around this issue, I always like to disable this little "feature" in Windows 7 so that end users don't use a "solution" for a "problem" and as a result cause more problems.

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To make this feature go away, there are a few options. I will outline three different ways to change this behavior:

  • Change visibility of actions
  • Disable some action notifications
  • Disable the feature all together

The above list goes from easiest to most difficult. The first option removes all notifications from the notification area. The second option allows you to specify which warnings are shown. The final option disables the service all together. Which method is best suited for you? Let's look at the easiest method first.

Change visibility of actions

Instead of completely disabling this service, you can simply change the visibility of the notifications. This will mean the service is still available, only it's not made visible to users. To make this change, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Flag icon from your notification area in the right corner (Figure A).
  2. Click the Open Action Center.
  3. From within the Action Center, click Change User Account Control Settings.
  4. From the User Account Control Settings, pull the toggle all the way down to Never Notify.
  5. Click OK.

Now the user will receive no notifications of warnings or issues.

Figure A

If you click on the Flag icon, you will see all the current issues that are occurring on your machine. This behavior can clue users into taking steps to "fix" the problem.

Disable some action notifications

But what if you want your users to be notified of certain issues? Say, for example, you want to make sure you user gets warnings related to virus protection (such as out-of-date signatures). In order to do this, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Flag icon from your notification area.
  2. Click the Open Action Center.
  3. From within the Action Center, click Change Action Center Settings.
  4. Leave checked only the options you want your users to be informed of (Figure B).
  5. Click OK.

That's it. Now your users will be made aware only of those issues you want them to know about. This can come in very handy when you don't want to have to babysit an end-user PC for EVERY issue. Good candidates are virus protection (as mentioned) and the User Account Control.

Figure B

Use caution when disabling the User Account Control. Although an annoying feature, it does do a good job of warning new users when they might be doing something they shouldn't.

Disable the feature all together

The final choice is the most difficult as it involves editing the registry. This option will completely disable the feature all together. I will warn you, as any other time you are dealing with the registry, make sure you back up your registry (in case something goes very wrong). Here are the steps to disable this feature in the registry:

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. In the Run dialog box, enter regedit.
  3. If the UAC window opens (warning you that the program is going to start), allow the application to run.
  4. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting entry.
  5. Double-click on the disable parameter.
  6. Change the disable parameter from 0 to 1.
  7. If the disable key is not present, right-click in the window and select New Dword.
  8. Name the new Dword disable and set it to 1.
  9. Close the Registry Editor.

That's it.

Final thoughts

Depending on your needs, one of the above methods will be able to serve you. Whether you need to not let your users see all warnings, only see specific warnings, or disable the feature all together, there is a way. Just remember, when they don't see those warnings, it might fall to you to make sure their PCs are running well and all warnings are taken care of. It's a good idea to remove certain notifications from your users (do they really need to know there are updates available for their system?). Not only can this avoid certain headaches, it can keep your users from growing frustrated because they think something might be "wrong" with their machine.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

8 comments
alexedm88
alexedm88

Regarding the 'disable' parameter you mentioned, I think you referred to the 'Disabled' dword rather than disable..

fwes
fwes

This article is a big help! Retired, I am my own help desk. Between MS and HP I get far more "help" than I can stand. It is all enhanced by the clever way MS (Win7) hides messages behind windows, hanging the system until you ferret them out. I prefer to get my help for articles like  this.

TomMerritt
TomMerritt

Excellent article, Jack. Now if we could only bundle this with several other like-minded tools into a Windows Update, we'd have the Non-Idiot Mode I've been dreaming about since Windows-95. We would need to make sure only Non-Idiots could install this update. I would suggest putting it at the top of the Start Menu. If you could not find it there, then you would not be able to install it.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Is the Solve PC Issues enabled on the PCs you support? Why or why not?

David A. Pimentel
David A. Pimentel

There is no such thing as a "non-idiot mode" as there is no way to make things "idiot proof." As the old adage states, "The world will just build a better idiot!"

bkindle
bkindle

I see no reason to disable that feature, beyond a help desk not wanting any phone calls. The environment I work in relies on end users to let us know if they see or notice something we need to take care of, since the area I help is rather large and no systems management in place currently.

{DvT}Hex
{DvT}Hex

When you make it idiot-proof, the world will build a better idiot...AND THE WORLD IS WINNING.