How to use the notifications from the Action Center in Windows 10

If you use Windows 10 on your PC, then you are acquainted with notifications. You probably see them regularly. Whether you get a notification about a new email, or Skype message, a new device that you just plugged into your Windows 10 PC or device, or a notification about new system features being installed, the notifications system is always helping you stay on top of things and know what is happening on your PC or device. If you want to know more about notifications in Windows 10, how to open them, work with them, and clear them out, read this tutorial:

NOTE: The screenshots from this tutorial are take in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, available to all users, for free, as of October 17th, 2017.

How to open the Action Center in Windows 10

Windows 10 notifies you each time something new is taking place on your device. When something happens, the system displays a notification on the bottom right corner of your screen.

However, this notification banner usually goes away in a few moments, so unless you can also find that notification elsewhere too, after awhile, you might not remember what it said.

Fortunately, until they are taken care of, all the notifications are stored in the Notifications section of the Action Center. There are multiple ways in which you can open the Action Center. If you are using a mouse, the easiest way to open the Action Center is to click on the Action Center icon found in the system tray. Note that, when you have new notifications, the icon also has a small number badge on it, which tells you how many new notifications you have received.

If you also use a keyboard, there is even a faster way: press the Windows + A keys simultaneously, and the Action Center immediately pops into view.

If you use Windows 10 on a tablet or another kind of touchscreen device, swipe inwards from the right side of the screen.

What kind of notifications do you get in Windows 10?

The Action Center has two major sections: Notifications and Quick Actions.

The Quick Actions section is a significant feature of Windows 10, so we believe it deserves its own dedicated tutorial, which you can read here: How to access, use and customize quick actions in Windows 10.

In the Notifications section you get messages about all kinds of things happening on your Windows 10 device:

  • Security and maintenance: if there are security settings or maintenance tasks that you should take care of, Windows 10 notifies you about it.
  • Settings: whenever the system makes a critical change on your device from a settings point of view, you also get notified in the Action Center.
  • Apps: each time something happens in an app you use, you get a message in the Action Center Notifications area. For example, you get a notification each time you receive an email, or an event logged into your Calendar app is due to take place soon. If for some reason, you do not want to receive notifications from a particular app, follow the steps from this guide to block it.
  • Cortana: Each time Cortana has something to say, she sends you a notification which you can find in the Action Center. Also, if you use Cortana both on your Windows 10 PC and your Windows 10 Mobile or on your Android smartphone and you have linked the two devices, you also get notifications from your smartphone on your computer.
  • Other Windows 10 events: you also get notified for different kinds of events, like choosing what happens when you plug in a USB stick or a DVD.

These are the just some examples of notifications that you can get. However, there are also other kinds of notifications, depending on your activity.

How to view a notification from the Action Center

Clicking or tapping any notification message from the Action Center triggers its corresponding task. For example:

  • If you click or tap on an email notification, Windows 10 automatically opens the Mail app and takes you to that specific message
  • If you click or tap on a settings notification, Windows 10 launches the Settings app and takes you to the location of the setting you need to take care of
  • If you get a Skype notification and you click or tap on it, Skype opens and shows you the message you received
  • If you plug in a USB flash drive on your device and you click or tap on the notification you get for it, you can choose the AutoPlay action that you want to perform.

The list can go on, depending on what app or system feature has pushed the notifications.

Sometimes, a notification can contain too much information to fit on only one line. If that is the case, you get a small downwards pointing arrow to its right. Click or tap on t to see the entire notification content.

Then, you can see the whole content of that notification.

How to dismiss a notification from the Action Center

Each time you open a notification, Windows 10 automatically removes it from the Action Center Notifications area. However, you might not want to open and view what some notifications are all about. If you only want to clear a single notification, you can dismiss it. To do that, click or tap the small X icon on the notification's top right corner. Note that you only get to see the X button when you hover the mouse cursor on top of the notification.

Instead of pressing the X (Close) button, you can also close a notification by hovering the mouse over it and then by pressing the Delete key on your keyboard. Alternatively, if you have a touchscreen, you can swipe the notification to the right to dismiss it.

How to clear all the notifications from the Action Center

If you want to clear all the notifications, click or tap the Clear All button. It is found on the bottom right corner of the notification area from the Action Center.

When you do that, you dismiss all the notifications, and the Notifications section of the Action Center tells you that there are “No new notifications.”

NOTE: If you want to block some apps from sending notifications your way, read this guide: How to configure and block specific Windows 10 apps from sharing notifications. Also, if you do not want to receive any new notifications for a specified time period, but then get them again, follow this guide: Temporarily stop Windows 10 notifications with Quiet Hours.

Conclusion

As you can see, the Notifications feature from Windows 10's Action Center is an excellent way of knowing if there is anything you need to take care of on your PC or device. Accessing and handling notifications is both comfortable and fast, or at least we think that is the case. At the end of this article, we would like to get your view on this feature of Windows 10. Do you enjoy using this feature? Does it work well for you? Did you have any issues? Do not hesitate to leave a comment below.