Notification Irritation

November 17, 2017

There is such a thing as too much information in Windows 10. Also, the new version of Firefox is here.


Notifications can be useful. Or maybe not so much.

Are you new to Windows 10? Or, have you been learning Windows 10 for a year or so? Either way, a frequently asked question is, “What the heck is that cartoon thing over there on the right?”

That icon in the lower right corner next to the clock is for the Action Center. When something happens, you get a notification there. Some of these notifications are useful. For instance, I have my backup set to run automatically at the same time each night. Often, I’m not at the computer when it runs. It’s nice to see the notifications that it started on time and either completed successfully or didn’t. Now I know where I stand.

Some notifications are just stupid annoyances. For a long time, I would receive a notification every time I plugged in a headset. Also, I’d receive another notification when I unplugged it. That hardly seems necessary!

This brings me to the second most frequently asked question on this topic, which is, “How do I turn that off?” Here’s the procedure:

  • Click on Start | Settings (the gear icon) or press WindowsKey + I
  • Click on System | Notifications and actions
  • Under Notifications, turn off Get notifications from apps and other senders

This will turn off most notifications. Notifications for some apps have to be turned off in the app itself. If you also want to hide the Action Center icon, in Fall Creators Update:

  • Click on Start | Settings (the gear icon) or press WindowsKey + I
  • Click on Personalization | Taskbar | Turn system icons on or off
  • Turn off Action Center

But you don’t have to turn off all the notifications just to kill the ones you hate. You can change whether and how different apps notify you.

I want notifications from WD Backup, but not the ones about headphones. So, with Get notifications from apps and other senders turned back on, I scrolled down until I found my audio manager, and turned that off. Audio works fine, but now no banners sliding in and no notifications in the Action Center.

I’m good with my backup program flying in a notification banner, making a sound, and putting a note in the Action Center. All that only happens twice a day. But holy buckets, I don’t want banners, sounds, and Action Center notices every time Outlook finds a new email. So, I scrolled down to Outlook, and instead of sliding the switch to off, I clicked on Outlook to open a whole new page of settings.

There, I allowed banners to fly in, but turned off notifications in the Action Center. And I turned off the notification sound. You’ll see other options there. Customize your apps to make them so YOU like them!


The big Firefox update is rolling out

Last month I mentioned that the new version of Firefox will break some extensions. The new version is here, and it certainly broke some of my favourite extensions! If you’re missing something, you can look for a replacement:

  • Open Firefox
  • Click on Menu (the three horizontal lines that look like pancakes in the upper right corner)
  • Click on Add-ons | Legacy Extensions
  • Next to any extension on the list, click on Find Replacement
  • Use the search bar to enter the name of the extension you’re looking for

Firefox legacy extensions do not work.

You might find an exact replacement. You might find something like the one you’re trying to replace. You might find nothing. Check again in a week or a month. Somebody will update/recode or in some way come up with something better.

What extensions do you miss? Have you found replacements?


Do you need help with your computer? I’m here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to

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This column also appeared on November 20, 2017