Managing the Action Center on Windows 7

Windows 7 has a convenient way of helping you monitor the status of your system and finding appropriate solutions to problems that occur every now and then. The feature that has this capability is known as the Action Center. This valuable tool is largely based on Windows Security Center which was first seen on the Service Pack 2 version of Windows XP and found more improvements on Windows Vista.

However, some users feel annoyed with all the balloon prompts and pop up messages that suddenly appears on the computer screen coming from the different security features that the Action Center contains.

If you are one of those who get annoyed with the Action Center on your computer then it’s about time that you learn some management tweaks that you can do with it so you’ll only see the notifications and warnings that you want. Read through this tutorial and learn how you can make the Windows Action Center work your way.

What Exactly is Windows Action Center?

Windows Action Center is a security feature that is included on your Windows system. This functions as an early warning tool for you to be alerted of some problems that happen anytime and provides you with possible solutions to it. If you’re not familiar with it you can check your computer’s notification area found on the bottom left corner of your computer screen.

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Action Center is represented by the flag icon on the notifications area. You’ll also notice that this icon would sometimes be overlayed by a “red  x” circle or a “black clock”.

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The “red x” overlay means that there is at least one important message that needs your attention while the “black clock” overlay tells you that there is a scheduled task that the Action Center is currently performing.

Clicking on the flag icon opens a pop up box containing all the messages that needs your attention and the tasks that are currently running.

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Opening the Action Center Messages

To view all Action Center messages, you need to click on the flag icon from the notifications then click on the “Open Action Center” link from the pop up box that appears.

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Alternatively, you can also click on the “Start” button or press the Windows key to open the Start Menu then type “action center” on the search box and once the search result appears, click on the “Action Center” item under the “Control Panel” search result category.

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Messages related to your computer’s regular maintenance tasks and security problems are shown on the Action Center Window all placed appropriate groups. Repair solutions and other fixes for the problems detected are also shown on it. The screenshot below shows three messages under the “Security” category and one item under “Maintenance”.

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You will notice that the messages under the “Security” category are marked red. The red mark means that the messages are very important and you need to address what it says as soon as possible. The yellow mark on the messages under the “Maintenance” section on the other hand means that the items are not that urgent compared to the ones under the “Security” section.

Errors and Warning Messages Displayed by the Action Center

  • Virus Protection Messages (Important)- These messages appear whenever the Action Center detects that you don’t have a virus protection program installed on your computer or whenever it has an outdated virus definitions and needs to be updated or else, it is turned off. When this happens, Action Center tells you to install a virus protection software, update it or turn it on if in case it is turned off.
  • Windows Update Messages (Important)- If you’ve chosen to set Windows to never check or install updates (not recommended), Action Center will alert you about it. The recommended setting which will be given by Action Center is the automatic download and install updates option. You can change the Windows Update settings by clicking on the “Change settings…” button and selecting the update option that you desire.
  • Spyware and Unwanted Software Protection Messages (Important)- Messages from this section of the Action Center will appear if Windows Defender or any other antispyware program installed on your computer is turned off or you installed more than one of it. To see a list of available antispyware programs on your computer, just click on the “View antispyware programs” link.
  • User Account Control Messages (Important)- Messages appear from this area of the Action Center whenever the User Account Control Feature is turned off or configured to a setting that is not recommended by Windows.
  • Internet Security Setting Messages (Important)- These messages appear when settings on Internet Explorer are set to a level lower than what your system recognizes as the default setting. You can easily solve these problems by restoring the Internet Explorer settings to default. This can be done by clicking the “Restore settings…” button on the message from the Action Center that involves Internet Security.
  • Windows Backup Messages- Provides a message when Windows detects that you need to set up a backup for your files. This is an Action Center message tagged as yellow because it is not as important as the ones under the security section. However, if your computer has an enough storage space, you can set it to backup important files and settings regularly.
  • Network Access Protection Messages- This feature refers to a system component that is enabled for corporate system environments like the ones used to manage  a centralized health information database. This feature is not available to home or customer editions of Windows.
  • Check for Updates Prompt- Gives notifications whenever non-critical software updates are available. These can be updates for your Windows system components or any other Microsoft software and products.
  • Check for solutions to reported problems- Checks for any online solutions to some problems reported by the Action Center that are related to other software and installed hardware.
  • Troubleshooting and System Maintenance- Notifies you whenever maintenance tasks needs to be done so Windows can maintain your system’s overall performance.

Turning Off Some Action Center Messages

All of the  Action Center items discussed above has a link that allows you turn off messages and notifications about it. If you get annoyed of seeing the pop up messages and balloon prompts coming from the Action Center security and maintenance sections then you can easily go over each of the items and click on the “Turn off messages about” link under each item.

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 Turning off the messages for Action Center items does not solve any problem. It only disables prompts and warning messages from popping out on your computer’s screen. It is therefore not wise to turn off messages for your Firewall and other security section items.

You can also turn off Action Center Messages from your computer’s “Control Panel”. To do this, just click the “Start” or press on the “Windows Key” then click “Control Panel”.

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From the “Control Panel” Window, click on “System and Security” and on the next Window, click on .

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On the Action Center Window, click on the “Change action center settings” located on the left side pane.

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You will then be directed to a Window that contains all Action Center features and items with checkboxes that you can check or uncheck to enable or disable messages from any of the items or features listed. Once you are done doing the actions that you want, click on the “OK” button.

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Once the Window closes, you’re already done configuring the Action Center and you’ll see that it will work exactly the way you want it to. We strongly insist that you just leave the “Security” items checked so your computer stays protected against all types of threats that can come from many areas of the computing space.