Microsoft Windows 10 has a feature that, in theory at least, sounds like a great idea: an area where the operating system can display important notifications about what your computer is doing and perhaps what problems it is having. The Action Center feature is also an easy and quick way to get to specific setting and configuration screens. To see your Windows 10 Action Center, just click the message bubble icon in the lower right-hand corner or swipe right to left if you are using a touch display.
As you'll likely notice (Figure A), the default setup for the Windows 10 Action Center is less than ideal, mixing tablet and desktop functions in a jumbled mess of unrelated icons. Fortunately, we can fix that with a few tweaks.
Customize the Action Center
The Action Center configuration screen is accessed under the Systems Settings screen. Since we are customizing the Action Center, let's use it to get where we need to go. Open the Action Center and click the All Settings button, which will take you to the Windows Settings screen. Click or tap the System link on that screen and then click the Notifications & Action menu item. You should see a screen similar to Figure B.
Click or tap the Add Or Remove Quick Actions link to get a list of potential actions you can have displayed in your personal Action Center. In my case, on this particular computer, I don't need to worry about airplane mode, VPN, battery life, or connecting to a projector, so I can turn them all off (Figure C).
Once you get a list of actions you want displayed, you can rearrange them any way you want. I like the All Settings button to be as far right as it can be, but that is just a personal preference.
The Notifications & Action menu item is also where you can change and customize the notifications Windows 10 sends your way. For example, I use Outlook for my email client. Outlook does a good job of notifying me when I have unread email, and I don't need the Outlook email notification followed immediately by the Windows 10 notification. Therefore, I turn off system notifications for email and calendar.
The other notification setting I always turn off is Get Tips, Tricks, And Suggestions As You Use Windows. That is definitely not something I need to see.
Periodically, Microsoft will shoot you a notice asking for feedback about a specific Windows 10 feature or asking you to take a survey about your Windows 10 experience. If you enjoy providing that feedback on a regular basis, good for you. But if you don't want to provide feedback and you'd like to see those notifications disappear, be sure to turn off the Feedback Hub. Or if you prefer, change the settings to make the notifications less intrusive—it's your choice.
SEE: How to customize the Windows 10 Anniversary Update Start menu using the "Pare It Down" technique
You might also want to scroll down to the bottom of the notifications list where you will find the setting that allows the Microsoft Store to send you notifications. I don't know about you, but I have no interest in seeing notices about what is going on in the Store (Figure D).
- Windows 10: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- Windows 10 tip: Disable annoying app notifications (ZDNet)
- How to use Windows 10's Projecting To This PC feature to create a wireless multiple-monitor configuration (TechRepublic)
- Extend your mobile battery life with Windows 10's Battery Saver (TechRepublic)
Have you customized Windows 10 to be more useful and less intrusive? Share your tips with fellow TechRepublic members.
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.