Understanding Action Center

by Barry Dysert
(last updated April 4, 2019)

In Windows 7, Action Center is a localized place where you can view system alerts and possibly take action based on those alerts. Using Action Center regularly can help keep your system running smoothly. You can get a quick overview of concerns that Action Center has by clicking the small flag icon in your system tray. This icon may have a red "X" on it, indicating that there are potential problems. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Action Center alert in the system tray.

When you do click the flag, Windows helpfully displays more information about any alerts on your system. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Action Center alert screen from the system tray.

As you can see from the figure, Alert Center is warning me about antivirus programs, the Windows Firewall, the status of my backups, and unreported problems. You can click the "Open Action Center" link to get to Action Center's main screen, or you can also get there by going to Start | Control Panel | Action Center. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. The Windows Action Center.

As was indicated by the system tray summary, there are indeed messages related to virus protection, my firewall, my backup, and unreported problems. At this point I have several choices. I may want to click the small down-arrows in each category (Security and Maintenance) to get even more detail about the issues in those categories. I may want to click the hyperlink messages (e.g., "Turn off messages about virus protection"). I may also want to click the buttons related to each issue (e.g., Find a program online).

What you do in the Action Center is, of course, entirely up to you. The intent of Action Center is to bring security and maintenance issues to your attention so that you can address them appropriately.

With the Windows 10 update, Microsoft changed how you are notified of system alerts. You can access any alerts by clicking the Show Hidden Icons tool (upward facing arrow) in the Notifications and Alerts area at the far-right on the taskbar. In the resulting context menu, you will see a shield icon (Actions Recommended) which may have a "!" in a yellow triangle or a red "X" in a circle on it. (See Figure 4.)

Figure 4. Hidden icons in the Notifications area on the taskbar.

When you click the shield, Windows displays the Security at a Glance section of the Windows Security dialog box. (See Figure 5.)

Figure 5. Security at a Glance in the Windows Security dialog box.

As you can see, Windows is warning me about virus, threat and account protection. At this point I can either set up the suggested protections by clicking on the Set Up OneDrive or Set Up buttons or I can dismiss them by clicking on the Dismiss links.

As with the Action Center, what you do in the Security at a Glance window is entirely up to you. The intent of Security at a Glance is to bring security and maintenance issues to your attention so that you can address them appropriately.

 This tip (12672) applies to Windows 7 and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

How to Remove Cortana's Search Box

If you want to free up some space on the taskbar, consider eliminating Cortana's search box. This tip tells you how.

Discover More

Restoring from a Backup

Being able to restore from a backup is just as important as making the backup in the first place. This tip tells you how ...

Discover More

Adjusting Speaker Volume

Adjusting your computer's speaker volume is a quick process. Windows gives you simple access to the overall volume level ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Recovering a Forgotten Administrator Password

Forgetting your administrator password may be cause for panic because there is no supported way to discover it. Before ...

Discover More

Limiting the Number of Login Attempts

You probably don't want to allow someone to continually attempt to login to your system until they finally guess your ...

Discover More

Understanding Data Execution Prevention

Windows has many malware-prevention features. One of these is Data Execution Prevention. This tip provides an explanation ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 9?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.