Windows 7: Action Center Overview

So far, in our Windows 7 Overview series, we have published the following, along with a quick Windows 7 Beta review:

Over the next few weeks we will be adding many more focus items on Windows 7 including Touch, Internet Explorer 8, Windows 7 networking and media enhancements. Stay tuned for the ultimate Windows 7 focus from Neowin.net. Here is an overview on the new Windows 7 Action Center.

Windows Vista Security Center
Microsoft introduced the Security Center in Windows Vista where users can find information about the system security and also troubleshoot security problems if any.

Eventhough it gives users the necessary information they need, it is not sufficient enough and troubleshooting problems is not an average joe's job. The security center does not give any system maintenance information and users had to look for those information in other places inside Control Panel.

Windows 7 Action Center
Windows 7 Action Center is a one stop place where you can find system maintenance information, security information and also troubleshoot computer problems if any. Microsoft has reformed Vista's Security Center into a more useful and informative Action Center.

Action Center Notifications
The Action Center notifies users when there are important messages so that users can take appropiate action.

The notification itself is very informative and users get to know about the problem instantly. Some users may feel annoying with those messages and prefer them to be turned off. Action Center settings provides options to customize these notifications.

Action Center addresses two categories:

  • Security
  • Maintenance

Action Center - Security
In this section, users are presented with all of the needed security information, problems and the options to troubleshoot.

This is similar to the Vista's security center with almost same options.

Action Center - Maintenance
In this section, users can find information related to their system maintenance like system backup, windows update etc., It also provides the ability to check for solutions.

Troubleshoot Options
Troubleshooting computer problems has not been so easy as in Windows 7. The troubleshooting wizard detects any computer problems and tries to fix them. The wizard is very informative and provides detailed step-by-step instructions.

There are various tasks on which users can troubleshoot:

Interesting to see an option to troubleshoot Aero desktop effects.

Troubleshooting Report
Providing troubleshooting report to the user is as important as providing a fix. Windows 7 troubleshooting report gives detailed information on the task, issues' description and their status (fixed or not fixed).

Screenshot of a troubleshooting report providing information on the Performance task selected for troubleshooting:

Screenshot of a troubleshooting report providing more information on the issues and their status:

If nothing helps, the wizard provides additional options available to troubleshoot the issue.

Action Center certainly is one of the very useful features added to Windows 7 providing various options to troubleshoot and fix computer problems.

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12 Comments

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I think many people here are getting the misconception that the notifications would be annoying. Unlike in Vista, in Windows 7 the notifications stay in the background and unless you click the Action Center icon in the superbar, the notifications do not appear.

This feature is much appreciated if seen in action

The biggest problem with the majority of casual windows users is that they rarely think of troubleshooting their own problems before contacting someone for assistance. And more advanced users already know how to troubleshoot and don't necessarily need an action centre to do it. While the action centre is a great addition, I'm just wondering what percentage of the people who NEED it will actually USE it.

Robin.B said,
The biggest problem with the majority of casual windows users is that they rarely think of troubleshooting their own problems before contacting someone for assistance.

Oh, really? Show me where you got those stats, I want to see the source of your research. Or it's just your guessing? Please be serious people.

It amazes me how people have the inability to see beyond their own needs. MS are trying to help the unwashed masses solve problems with their PCs and that's a _bad_ thing? They even go so far as allowing you configure it all to your heart's content to suit _any_ user and we still whinge?

dangel said,
It amazes me how people have the inability to see beyond their own needs. MS are trying to help the unwashed masses solve problems with their PCs and that's a _bad_ thing? They even go so far as allowing you configure it all to your heart's content to suit _any_ user and we still whinge? ;)


A lot of people don't belong on computers. They should stick to their Gameboys and stay off-line. Things were cooler before AOL came along and screwed it all up!

They should've called it Annoyance Center instead because it seems to be just the Security Center with a new name and somewhat better options. It's only purpose is still to nag you about missing antivirus programs and whatnot.

LaXu said,
They should've called it Annoyance Center instead because it seems to be just the Security Center with a new name and somewhat better options. It's only purpose is still to nag you about missing antivirus programs and whatnot.

All you have to do is turn off all the notifications after you've set it up to your liking.

what percentage of users would go through all that?

"i paid money for this thing, now i just want it to work!"

mocax said,
what percentage of users would go through all that?

"i paid money for this thing, now i just want it to work!"

It will work as is. But those who care also have additional options for customizing their OS to fit their tastes. It's win win.

archer75 said,

It will work as is. But those who care also have additional options for customizing their OS to fit their tastes. It's win win.


Seriously without customization it'll become a brainless OS "i paid money for this thing, now I just want it to work!"