How to Access the Action Center Utility in Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1

Having something to remind or notify you of some important tasks that needs to be done in your computer would be of great help especially if you are in a busy schedule everyday. In the advent of portable devices and the mobile operating system platforms that runs in them, there has been a boom of apps that offer help in keeping you updated about the things that you need to do such as those that allow users to create reminders or to-do-lists. Whenever the set time for a certain task to be done arrives, an alarm would play to alert the user of it.

In the case of the Windows operating system, there’s a built in tool in it that alerts you of things to do in order to keep your machine running in the best condition possible. This feature is known as the “Action Center” and it has been existing since Windows Vista and even down to Windows 7 and recently in the latest operating system edition by Microsoft called Windows 8.1, the tool has been improved to better serve users in keeping their machines working on its top performance.

Tasks such as keeping your antivirus software updated, saving backup of your files or even updating some drivers of the hardware that is installed on your computer are all detected by the Action Center utility. In this tutorial, we will be learning how to access this tool and as well as explore the steps that are involved in tweaking its settings and customizing the alerts that it is capable of showing so be sure to follow each step and you will surely be on the way to using Action Center like a boss!

Accessing Action Center in Windows Vista and Windows 7

If you own a computer that runs in an older Windows edition such as Vista or Windows 7 then you can easily access the Action Center Window from the Control Panel. To do this, just click on the Start button that is located at the bottom-left corner of the screen in order to open the Start Menu. After doing so, just click on the “Control Panel” link in order to access its Window.


Now, on the Control Panel Window, all you need to do is click on the link that says “System and Security” and on the Window that follows, you should be able to find the link that says “Action Center” which you will need to click in order to open the Action Center Window where you should be able to find all available tweaks that you can do to this free utility in your Windows machine.

WindowsTechies_899If you want a shorter way in accessing the Action Center Window in your Vista or Windows 7 machine then you can simply click on the “Action Center” icon that is located on the “system tray” at the bottom-right corner of the screen (extreme-right end of the taskbar) as shown on the screenshot below.


After you click on the icon, a pop-up box will appear and show the current issue(s) and task(s) that Action Center was able to detect. From here, you will also find a link at the bottom that says “Open Action Center” which you will need to click so you can access the Window where all of the tweaks for this free tool is found.


The Action Center Window in Vista and Windows 7 looks like the one shown on the screenshot below and as you can see, there are two main categories of messages that the tool is capable of displaying every now and then which are “Security” and “Maintenance”. At the left hand portion of the screen, you will also see some quick links that will take you to different sections of the tool itself but we will be talking more about the details of doing tweaks as we move on.


Accessing Action Center in Windows 8.1

If you are using Microsoft’s latest operating system, the methods in accessing Action Center is quite different. Although the fastest way which is done by clicking the Action Center icon on the system tray is still available, the first method that we’ve shown which involves the Start Menu is no longer possible. This is because the Start Menu has been removed from Windows 8.1 and was replaced by a better feature called the Start Screen.

To access the Action Center Window in your Windows 8.1 machine, simply click on the Start Button or press the Windows key. After you do so, you should be able to access the Start Screen and from here, you will need to press the Windows + S keys in order to summon the Search screen that will appear from the right edge. On this screen, you should be able to see a search input box on its top portion where you will need to type the words “action center”.


Now, you just need to wait for a few seconds and the search results should start appearing just below the input box. From these search results, all you need to do is click on the “Action Center” link in order to open Action Center’s main Window. You can also access the same Window from the Control Panel. To do this, simply press the Windows + X keys in order to summon a hidden menu that will appear from the bottom-left portion of the screen. In this menu, simply click on the link that says “Control Panel” and you will be able to open its main Window.


After you do so, the main Control Panel Window will then open and from here, simply click on the “System and Security” link then on he Window that follows, click on “Action Center”. Accessing the same settings Window from the Action Center icon on the system tray is just the same as how you do it in Windows Vista of Windows 7 so there’s no need to show the details here.

Changing What Messages Action Center Displays

Now, when you arrive on the main Window of the Action Center utility, you can start changing its settings. First, if you want to select the maintenance and security stuff that it displays messages and notifications for, simply click on the link that is found at the navigation pane at the left-hand portion of the screen which says “Change Action Center settings”.


After doing so, you will be able to access a list of all maintenance and security features with a check box located at their left side. From here, simply uncheck the ones that you don’t want Action Center to display messages for and leave the other ones checked.

How to View Archived Messages and Message Details

There’s also another link which is still found on the navigation pane at the left that will allow you to view all the other messages that you have decided to move into the archive. Try to go back to the main Window of the Action Center utility and click on the link that says “View archived messages” so you can access all available messages from the Action Center. For a specific message that is also currently displayed, you can just click on the button that says “View message details” and you should be able to see what the Action Center message is all about and see what you can do in order to solve it.


To move a message that is being displayed into the archive, you can simply click on the link that says “Archive this message” and it will automatically be hidden and kept for future reference. Working with the Action Center utility is quite simple and it doesn’t take an expert to master the things that can be done with it. Take time to explore this feature in your Windows 8.1 machine and you’ll surely be able to get your computer work at its best all the time!