What is Action Center?

Action Center is a central place to view notifications and take actions that can help keep Windows running smoothly. If Windows finds any problems with your hardware or software, this is where you'll get important messages about security and maintenance that need your attention.

Action CenterAction Center

To open Action Center

  • Tap or click to open Action Center.



    You can quickly see whether there are any new messages in Action Center by tapping or clicking the Action Center icon Action Center icon in the notification area at the far right of the taskbar. Tap or click a message to address the problem.
Action Center notificationAction Center notification


If you don't see the Action Center icon, then it might be hidden. Press and hold or right-click the notification area, tap or click Properties, and then turn on Action Center.

Show all

Action Center messages

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

  • Red items. 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 For example, if your PC's antivirus software is out of date, you'll see a red message.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.

Action Center areas

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 itemDescription
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.

Windows Update

Gathers the latest security and PC updates from Microsoft via the Internet.

Virus protection

Detects whether your virus software is turned on and up to date.

Spyware and unwanted software protection

Detects whether your spyware protection is turned on and up to date.

Internet security settings

Checks to make sure that your security settings are working correctly.

User Account Control

Informs you when a app makes a change that requires administrator permissions.

Windows SmartScreen

Helps protect your PC by warning you if a downloaded file is known to be malware or has an unknown reputation.

Network Access Protection

Helps protect the overall security of the network (mostly used on corporate networks).

Windows activation

Informs you about whether you've activated your copy of Windows.

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.)


Action Center itemDescription
Check for solutions to problem reports

Checks for solutions to software or hardware crashes that happen on your PC.

Automatic Maintenance

Runs maintenance tasks to keep your PC running smoothly.


Checks that a homegroup is working correctly (if available).

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.

Drive status

Checks to make sure the file system is working correctly and is free of errors.

Device software

Checks for whether you need to install additional software for devices to run correctly.

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