One of the most common complaints about the Windows 10 Action Center is that, well, it never seems to shut up. Unless you turn off automatic notifications, you’re going to get a barrage of pop-up notifications that can disrupt your workflow. If you want to get rid of these distractions, we’ve put together a simple guide to turning off notifications in Windows 10 or temporarily muting them if you just want a break from Windows Action Center.
Turn off notifications
Step 1: Open the Windows Settings menu by pressing the Windows Key and I, or alternatively search for Settings in the Windows search bar and click the corresponding result. Make sure you choose Systems in the Settings icons.
Step 2: Click Notifications & Actions in the left-hand menu. This will take you to a screen providing access to all the settings related to notifications and the Action Center.
Step 3: Click the System icon, then select Notifications and actions from the left-hand menu.
Step 4: If you want to change the quick actions or all the actions that appear in your Action Center, you can click Edit your quick actions. This will open a side panel on the right where you can customize the different alerts that show up here. Most of the panel will be filled with recent alerts or actions that you took. But look at the bottom, and you’ll see icons for different “classes” of notifications. Click Expand to get the full view. You can click the little pin symbols for each type of notification to remove them, or you can go to Add at the bottom to add in more notifications until it’s only what you want to see.
Step 5: Look for the Notifications subheading, where you will see a number of toggles for various types of notifications. The following is a list of the settings you can toggle on this screen:
- Get notifications from apps and other senders.
- Show notifications on the lock screen.
- Show alarms, reminders, and incoming VoIP calls on the lock screen.
- Hide notifications when duplicating my screen.
- Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows.
Turn them off as you need. If you don’t want any, just make sure they are all toggled off. You’ll need to install the particular app you want to view notifications for if it’s not already built into your system, and you can receive a notification first before an app will show up in the list.
Temporarily hide notifications
If you want to hide notifications without turning them off entirely, you can always temporarily mute them using Focus Assist.
Step 1: Open up the Action Center by pressing on the Notification icon on the far right-hand side of the Windows taskbar (it looks like a little dialogue box), or by pressing the Windows key + A
Step 2: Click on the moon icon that’s labeled Focus Assist. The icon will turn blue when on, and shift between a couple different modes. First, you will receive priority only alerts, and the second mode is “alarms only” alerts. Turn it to whatever works for your current project.
Step 3: You can further customize Focus Assist by editing your priority list and by optimizing your automatic controls. This will let you change times and priority levels for when you do and don’t want notifications enabled, be it during a more specific time or even when you’re playing a game.
Permanently mute notifications
Is it the notification sound that’s primarily annoying to you? Thanks to a late 2019 update from Microsoft, you can turn off all notification sounds on Windows so everything will appear silently from now on. To turn this feature on, head back to Settings, go to System, and go to Notifications & actions. If your Windows PC is fully up to date, you can look at the checkboxes and see an option that says Allow notifications to play sounds.
Simply make sure this checkbox is unchecked, and your notifications won’t make any noise from now on. You can return alert noises whenever you want by checking the box again.
How to dismiss notifications
Notifications are a phenomenal tool for keeping up with the hustle and bustle of our digital lives. However, an excess of notifications — especially ones you’ve previously seen — can clutter the Action Center and prevent you from seeing important notifications as they arrive.
To dismiss individual notifications, click the Action Center icon located on the right-hand side of the Windows Taskbar and mouse over the notification that you’d like to dismiss. Then, click the X button directly to the right of the notification. You can also swipe a notification to the right to dismiss it quickly with either touch or by clicking and dragging with the mouse.
You can dismiss all of the notifications for a given app by clicking on the X button to the right of the app group listing. You can also click Clear all to close every notification for all apps.
Note: In the spirit of being better connected, Windows 10 notifications will dismiss on other Windows devices when you dismiss them in the Action Center on your desktop.
In-depth: How to customize notifications for each app
In Windows 10, you can choose to view or hear a combination of banner notifications, which comprise a pop-up in the lower-right corner of your display and sounds. You can also configure various apps to only show notifications within the Action Center, with no other indication on arrival. A number of notification options are available for each app that supports them.
To access these settings, open the Notifications section in Settings, as before. Scroll down and click the name of the particular app you want to adjust the notifications to access a more advanced notification menu. Then simply toggle on and off whichever preferences you choose, whether you want to receive banner notifications, sounds, or neither.
Here are the settings you can configure for most app’s notifications:
- Turn notifications on or off
- Turn notification banners — the boxes that show up for each notification and then disappear — on or off
- Determine whether to keep notifications private on the lock screen
- Turn notifications on or off in the Action Center
- Determine whether a sound plays for that app’s notifications
- Indicate how many notifications are visible in the Action Center before the drop-down show more menu appears — either one, three, five, 10, or 20 notifications
- Determine the priority of notifications, allowing an app’s notifications to show up on top of other less-important app notifications
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