How to disable the Windows 10 Action Center sidebar

Not every user appreciates the Windows 10 Action Center. You can disable the feature by wading through several Personalization configuration screens.

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Image: NicoElNino, Getty Images/iStockphoto

One of the primary quality-of-life features of Microsoft Windows 10 is the Action Center, which will, among other things, notify users when new email arrives, systems or drivers need updating, and malicious malware and other threats have been detected. Depending on how you set it up, the Action Center also provides easy access to several key and often accessed configuration settings. But not everyone is enamored with the "benefits" of the Windows 10 Action Center.

In a previously published article, How to tweak the Windows 10 Action Center to make it less annoying, we showed you how to tone down the number of notifications this feature tracks. However, if you would like to eliminate the Action Center altogether, there is a way to do it through a modification of the right configuration setting.

This how-to tutorial shows you how to change a configuration setting deep inside the Windows 10 Personalization screens that will completely disable the Action Center sidebar notification area from your desktop.

SEE: System update policy template download (Tech Pro Research)

Disable Windows 10 Action Center

In previous iterations of the Windows operating system, disabling the Action Center would have required a much more complicated and potentially dangerous tweak to the Registry file. But, while you can still disable the feature that way, the current process for disabling the Action Center is currently much simpler and safer.

The first step is to open the System settings screen by clicking the Start Menu button in the lower right corner of the Windows 10 desktop and then selecting the Settings icon. You could also use the Windows Logo key + I keyboard shortcut to accomplish the same thing. You should see a screen similar to Figure A.

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Figure A

Click the Personalization item to reach the screen in Figure B and then select the Taskbar item from the left navigation bar. After clicking that item, scroll down the listings on the right side to find an entry that says Turn icons on or off and click it.

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Figure B

On the next screen (Figure C) you will see a long list of on/off buttons for the various features and settings shortcuts you can add or subtract from the Windows 10 Action Center. Among the list will be an on/off switch for the Action Center itself.

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Figure C

Switch it to off, and the icon to that feature will be immediately eliminated from the bottom corner of your Windows 10 desktop, as shown in Figure D.

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Figure D

Turn the switch back to its "On" position to reactivate the Action Center. Note: if you are working with Windows 10 Pro or are in an enterprise setting, disabling the Action Center can also be accomplished by accessing the correct setting via the Group Policy Editor.

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By Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.