Windows 7Windows 7 introduced a highly useful feature called the Action Center. Your Windows 7 Action Center processes all the information your operating system gives you regarding maintenance, security, error reporting and overall accounting control.

Instead of alerts coming at you from all angles in Windows, they are consolidated in one place to make it easier to sort through, deal with and pay attention to urgent issues on your computer.

 

How does the Action Center work?

If you are unfamiliar with the Windows 7 Action Center, you want to take a look at your Taskbar. To the right-hand side of your screen, you will see a variety of icons at your disposal. If you see a Flag icon, you are looking at the Action Center.

Action Center flag

For some users, this Flag icon may be found by clicking the “Arrow” next to your Taskbar icons. Click on the “Flag” icon.

Windows 7 toolbar

This will open the Windows 7 Action Center. If you have current issues, they will appear in the box for you to deal with; if not, you will be given a message that says no current issues detected.

No messages in Action Center

Click on “Open Action Center.”

Windows 7 Action Center

This is the main window for the Action Center. From here, you can address problems, change settings and work with other Windows 7 settings that make your system more secure, efficient and continuously running smooth.

On the main window in the Action Center, you will be given a header for each option you use to track. In this case, the Security and Maintenance areas are highlighted. By clicking on one of the headers, you will open them up and can see all the options associated with a particular area. These are what your computer will look for when problems arise and alert you when they occur. You can then deal with each problem individually and keep your computer afloat.

Click on “Change Action Center settings.”

Change Action Center settings

This is where you change the primary things the Action Center looks for on your behalf. This includes the following under the Security section: Windows updates, spyware, user account control, virus protection, Internet security settings and your firewall.

You can also check for Windows backup and updates through the Maintenance sections. Simply check what you want to monitor and click “Ok.”

Now, click on “Change User Account Control settings.”

User Account Control settings

The User Account Control settings allow you to set the bare minimum of notifications your computer will alert you to. This includes installing programs, changing settings, registry edits and more. This makes your computer more secure by not allowing changes to make your system insecure from threats.

There are four different settings with the Never notify being the least protected and the Always notify being the most secure. You have to pick the right set of settings for your computer. Go through each one and determine what level of protection you need, then click “Ok.”

Click on “View archived messages.”

(8) archived messages

This will give you an archive of messages you have ignored in the past. If you have not ignored one, you will see nothing here. Click “Ok” when finished.

Finally, click “View performance information.”

Windows 7 Performance Score

This is one of the hidden gems of Windows 7. Windows will actually give you a computer a score based on performance settings, such as graphics, hard disk security and more. Your score lets you know just how well your computer stacks up on a scale of one to 7.9. You can take a look at each area in more depth to get an idea on what changes might make your computer score higher and work more efficiently.

Windows Experience Index

You are judged on five areas: Processor, Memory, Graphics, Gaming Graphics and Primary Hard Disk. Each area is then judged on one feature.

Your Processor is judged by how many calculations it can make per second. Your Memory, or your RAM, is judged based on how many operations it can perform per second. Your Graphics are judged on how well the Aero Desktop Experience works with what is built-in to your computer. Your Gaming Graphics is based on how well 3D performs. Your Primary Hard Disk is judged on the transfer rate for data.

All of these numbers are displayed but you are given the lowest value as your Windows 7 performance score.

You can run a performance test at any time from this window by clicking “Re-run the assessment.”

A pop-up will appear showing you what tests are being run. Your screen may flash on and off during this test. It can take several minutes for it to finish, so let it run its course.

When it is finished, your new score will be displayed.

Is the Windows 7 Action Center effective?

For some users who do not necessarily pay attention to what is going on with their operating system, the Windows 7 Action Center can be an effective tool to alert them to any problems. For those with more advanced computer knowledge, the Windows 7 Action Center can be annoying and most opt to turn off its features rather than take advantage of them.

The more you use the Action Center and see what it can do, the more you may realize one way or another if it is for you. If you are using the Action Center, you will see that it can offer you help when you may forget to check on something you overlooked.

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