How to use the notifications from the Action Center in Windows 10
If you are using Windows 10 on your PC, then you are acquainted with notifications, and 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 that are 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 taken in Windows 10 Spring Creators Update, which will be available to all users, for free, starting April 2018. If things look different on your device, then you have an older version of Windows 10. Read this tutorial, to learn what version you have: What version, edition, and type of Windows 10 do I have installed?.
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 and, after a while, you might not remember what it said.
Fortunately, until they are taken care of, all 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 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 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 to your settings, 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, an event logged into your Calendar app is due to take place soon, or when you received a message on a chat app like Slack. 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 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.
Where are notifications stored? How to view them in 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 notification from a chat app like Skype or Slack and you click or tap on it, that chat app opens and shows 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.
- If you get a notification from your antivirus and you click or tap on it, your antivirus opens its user interface and usually takes you to the module that sent that notification.
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 it to see the entire notification content.
Then, you can see the whole content of that notification.
As you can notice in the screenshot above, some apps also allow you to do various actions straight from the notifications. For instance, the Mail app lets you Set [a] flag, Archive or Dismiss an email message directly from its notification in the Action Center. You do not even have to open the app itself for that. Nice, right?
Also, if a particular app has sent many notifications your way, the only last three of them are shown in the Action Center. However, the older notifications are not lost either and, to see them all, you can click or tap on the “See more (X)” link at the end of the list. Note that X means the number of notifications hidden from view.
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 it, click or tap the small X icon on the top right corner of the notification. 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 swiping the notification to the right, if you have a touchscreen.
How to clear an entire group of notifications
All the notifications you receive are grouped depending on what feature or app has sent them. For instance, all the notifications you get from the Mail app are grouped under the Mail title. The same goes for the notifications you get from Skype, Slack, Facebook Messenger, the Microsoft Store and so on.
If you want to dismiss all the notifications in a group, hover your mouse over that group’s title, and then click or tap on the small X button that shows up on its right side.
How to clear all the notifications from the Action Center
If you want to clear all the notifications you got, regardless of where they came from, click or tap the “Clear all notifications” button from the bottom-right side of the Notifications are in 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 period, but then get them again, follow this guide: Temporarily stop Windows 10 notifications with Quiet Hours.
As you can see, the Notifications feature from Windows 10's Action Center is an excellent way of finding out if there is anything you need to take care of on your PC or device. Accessing and handling notifications is both comfortable and fast, as you have undoubtedly discovered too. 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.