Windows 7 Action Center

In Windows 7, Microsoft has designated the new Action Center as the one-stop place to find all your system maintenance and security messages. The key design goal of the Action Center is to help users solve system issues quickly and conveniently. The system tray is now less cluttered, compared with its appearance in previous versions of Windows—it now has four main icons: Action Center, Network, Speaker volume, and Date and Time. Mobile computers will have a power icon as well.

In particular, the Action Center icon (represented as a white flag, which will include a red “x” if there are important messages requiring your attention) replaces several notification icons from Vista, reducing much clutter. When you click the Action Center icon, a pop-up window displays a summary of system messages of varying importance levels. In addition, it also provides a way for you to resolve the error. To view the messages, click the message icons or click the Open Action Center link.

The Action Center will display the details of the messages along with a button to help you solve the issue.

Besides displaying messages on maintenance and security-related issues, the Action Center can also help you troubleshoot problems with your computer and restore your computer to its setup from an earlier time.

Messages are classified into two main categories: Security and Maintenance. Security messages relate to issues concerned with:
• Windows Update
• Internet security settings
• Network firewall
• Spyware and related protection
• User Account Control
• Virus protection

Maintenance messages relate to issues concerned with:
• Windows Backup
• Windows Troubleshooting
Messages can be important or normal. Important messages display notification balloons in the System tray in addition to appearing in Action Center. A good example of an important message balloon is what happens when the Windows Firewall is turned off.

In the Action Center, you can also expand on each message category to view the status of each Security- and Maintenance-related item for your computer. You have the option to prevent messages from displaying by clicking the Change Action Center settings link in the left side of the Action Center window. Uncheck the item(s) for which you do not want to view a message.

The Action Center is for displaying messages and resolving problems, not managing tasks. For example, you can use the Action Center to help you find an antivirus program, but you cannot manage your Windows Firewall in the Action Center.

Turning Off Action Center
If you do not want to see the Action Center in the System tray at all, you can turn it off.
Perform the following steps to turn Action Center off:
• Right-click the “Show hidden icons” button in the Notification Area and select “Customize notification icons.”
• Click the “Turn system icons on and off” link.
• For the Action Center icon, select Off.

Source of Information : Oreilly Windows 7 Up and Running (November 2009)

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