How to Turn On or Off Action Center Messages in Windows 8

information   Information
Action Center checks several security and maintenance-related items on your PC. If the status of any of these items changes, Action Center notifies you with a message (balloon notification) in the notification area at the far right side of the taskbar.

This tutorial will show you how to turn on or off getting Action Center messages for items in Windows 8.

Note   Note
When there's a problem, you'll see two types of messages in Action Center:

  • Red items Name:  Red_items.png
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Size:  925 Bytes - These messages are labeled Important, and indicate significant problems that you should address soon. For example, if your PC's antivirus software is out of date, you'll see a red message. Red messages have a red X in the Action Center icon Action Center icon with a red X.
  • Yellow items - These messages are suggested tasks that you should consider addressing. For example, if there's an update for an app to help it run better on your PC, you'll see a yellow message. Yellow messages don't change the Action Center icon.


You can view all areas that Windows monitors under Security or Maintenance by tapping or clicking the heading or arrow to expand the section.

Action Center item Description
Automatic Maintenance Runs maintenance tasks to keep your PC running smoothly.
Device software Checks for whether you need to install additional software for devices to run correctly.
Drive status Checks to make sure the file system is working correctly and is free of errors.
File History Checks to make sure your PC is saving copies of your files so you can get them back if the originals are lost or damaged.
HomeGroup Checks that a homegroup is working correctly (if available).
Internet security settings Checks to make sure that your security settings are working correctly.
Microsoft account Informs you about whether your Microsoft account is working properly. (This section will only appear if you've set up a Microsoft account.)
Network Access Protection Helps protect the overall security of the network (mostly used on corporate networks).
Network firewall Checks info coming from the Internet or a network, and then either blocks it or allows it to pass through your firewall to your PC.
SmartScreen Helps protect your PC by warning you if a downloaded file is known to be malware or has an unknown reputation.
Spyware and unwanted software protection Detects whether your spyware protection is turned on and up to date.
Storage Spaces Informs you of any issues with Storage Spaces if used.
User Account Control Informs you when a app makes a change that requires administrator permissions.
Virus protection Detects whether your virus software is turned on and up to date.
Windows activation Informs you about whether you've activated your copy of Windows.
Windows Backup Informs you of any issues with Windows Backup if setup by you.
Windows Troubleshooting Provides messages from troubleshooting.
Windows Update Gathers the latest security and PC updates from Microsoft via the Internet.


EXAMPLE: Action Center Messages in Taskbar Notification Area

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Here's How:

1. Do step 2 or 3 below for what you would like to do.

2. On your desktop, click/tap on the Action Center system icon in the taskbar notification area, click/tap on Open Action Center, and go to step 4 below. (see screenshot below)

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3. Open the Control Panel (icons view), click/tap on the Action Center icon, and go to step 4 below.

4. Click/tap on the Change Action Center settings link at the top left side. (see screenshot below)

Click image for larger version

5. You can now check (turn on) or uncheck (turn off) messages for what you want. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: Some items have their own settings page. You can find these items under Related settings on the Change Action Center settings page. These include Customer Experience Improvement, Problem reporting, and Windows Update.

Click image for larger version

6. When finished, click/tap on OK to apply for your user account. (see screenshot above)

7. You can now close Action Center if you like.


That's it,
Shawn