The Action Center is a major part of Windows 10, acting as the main area for all your alerts and as a quick stop for settings.

If you upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 8/8.1, the Action Center replaces the Charms Bar. But for those of you coming from Windows 7, the new Action Center will be even more alien to you.

Not to fear though, as the Action Center is there to make our computing lives easier. Here’s everything you need to know about it:

 

The Action Center in Windows 10

The Action Center is a hugely important part of your PC. It’s a place where you can view all Windows security alerts, along with app notifications such as news emails, eBay alerts and Facebook updates, without having to launch individual apps.

Launch the Action Center by clicking the square box with three lines in the taskbar. A number will be displayed next to it if you have any unopened alerts.

The Action Center in Windows 10

It’s split into two, with notifications at the top and quick actions at the bottom.

When you get a notification, click the down arrow to view it or click the X to dismiss.  Alternatively to remove them click Clear all.

Controls in the Action Center in Windows 10

Move through your notifications using the scroll bar on the right.

[Read more: Microsoft Edge: 8 tips to get started with the Windows 10 browser]

Within the quick actions at the bottom you’ll see an option called ‘Quiet hours’, which turns off all notifications.

Quiet hours option in the Action Center in Windows 10

 

Customising notifications

The Action Center can be fully customised, so you only get the alerts you want.

Step 1: Open the Start Menu and select the Settings cog, followed by System - Notifications and actions.

Scroll down to ‘Notifications’ and use the sliders to determine which notifications should and should not appear.

Notifications options in Windows 10

Step 2: Underneath, you’ll see a list of apps you currently get notifications for. Flick the slider to Off to disable notifications for any of these.

Notifications options in Windows 10

Step 3: Click an individual app to view more options, allowing you to decide if you want to show notification banners or play a sound when a notification arrives.

App notification settings in Windows 10

 

Quick actions in Windows 10

Underneath the notifications you’ll see squares containing quick actions such as: Note, Battery saver, Bluetooth and Airplane mode.

Quick Actions in Windows 10

Click Collapse to just show four and leave more space to show notifications.

 

Customising Quick actions

Quick actions can be customised – and since the Anniversary Update, they can be shuffled around too.

Return to the Notifications and actions menu and you’ll see all the boxes from your Quick actions.

Editing Quick Actions in Windows 10

Click and hold an icon to drag it to a different part, or go to Add or remove quick actions below if you’d like to get rid of one altogether.

 

The taskbar in Windows 10

The Taskbar in Windows 10

Users of Windows 7 will recognise the taskbar. By default the four options are: battery (for laptops), wi-fi, sound and notifications.

Click the arrow on the left pointing up to view additional tasks.

 

Customising the taskbar

Customising the Taskbar in Windows 10

To add and remove features to/from the taskbar, search Select which icons appear on the taskbar.

Scrolling through the list, move the slider from Off to On to add new items to the taskbar.

How are you finding the Action Center? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Read more: Microsoft Edge: 8 tips to get started with the Windows 10 browser

Watch - find out what's new in Windows 10 with the Anniversary Update:

 

Article updated by Jamie Harris on 16/12/2016