Windows devices have a variety of system and app notifications (sometimes incorrectly called program pop-ups) that alert you about events happening in real time. Be it incoming VoIP calls, Outlook calendar reminders, or frequent prompts for a Windows version update, they might all seem equally urgent.
However that’s not always the case; and even if it were, any user action required from you can easily wait a bit longer. Notifications can be especially annoying when you’re hard at work or enjoying your favorite game or TV show.
To stop these alerts from being intrusive, we recommend disabling them, hiding them temporarily, or enabling only the important ones. We’ll show you how to do disable computer notifications on Windows.
How to Permanently Disable Notifications
When you really must focus, you should know how to turn off all notifications on your computer. This kind of muting is controlled by a notifications center.
- Open the “Notifications & actions settings” menu option from the search box. In Windows 11, you can also navigate to it from the Settings icon under “System -> Notifications.” For Windows 10, the corresponding option is “System -> Notifications & Actions.”
- Once the notification preferences window is visible, switch off the “Notifications” toggle key; it’s enabled by default. This disables all notifications from apps and other senders, which means you don’t have to deal with them one by one. Notice how the toggle switches next to individual apps appear grayed out.
- To completely turn off Windows 11 notifications, uncheck the boxes for “Offer suggestions on how I can set up my device” and “Get tips and suggestions when I use Windows.”
To ensure that the Focus assist setting does not interfere with your permanent and total disabling of the system notifications, keep it turned “Off.”
Windows 10 has a similar mechanism for turning off all notifications except for one thing: the menu placement and wording for the relevant options (including Focus assist) differs slightly when compared with Windows 11.
How to Dismiss Notifications
Instead of turning off all Windows alerts and pop-ups, it may be far more convenient to quietly dismiss the notifications to the desktop background. There are two ways to do this: using the Action Center, and through a notification timeout.
Use the keyboard shortcut Win + A to open Action Center. If it has any notifications, you’ll see a white outline around them. Just hit the Del key to remove the notifications.
Alternatively, dismiss notifications by setting a timer. In Windows 11, search for an option called “Notifications timeout after” in System settings.
The timer option is available under “Accessibility -> Visual effects.”
From the “Dismiss notifications after this amount of time” drop-down menu, choose the amount of time you want to allow a notification to remain on your screen. It can be as short as five seconds before the notification is dismissed automatically.
While Windows 10 doesn’t have a Notifications timeout button, you can set a timer manually from Registry Editor.
- Open Registry Editor with the keyboard shortcut Win + R.
- Search for the following path:
- Double-click on the DWORD component “Message Duration” in the right-hand panel. This opens a new pop-up edit window.
- Change the DWORD (32-bit) value data base from the default hexadecimal to decimal. Now you can set value data at a minimum of 5 seconds.
How to Disable Specific App Notifications
If you want to disable notifications for select apps while retaining them for others, it’s possible to do so. To disable specific app notifications on Windows:
- Go to “Choose which apps show notifications” from the search box. In Windows 11, you can also navigate to the menu from “System -> Notifications,” and on Windows 10 from “System -> Notifications & Actions.”
- Choose any app for which you want the notifications disabled and turn the specific app “Off.” In the following example, we are choosing Microsoft Store.
- Click the arrow button next to the toggle switch for more granular settings. Of course, it’s best to skip the customization as there are so many other apps to deal with.
How to Temporarily Hide Notifications With Focus Assist
To get the benefits of computer notifications without them being too intrusive, we recommend enabling Windows Focus assist, an advanced power user feature accessible from the Windows system tray. It can minimize distractions by temporarily hiding notifications with an “automatic rule.”
- Open “Focus assist automatic rules” from the search box. In Windows 11, you can navigate to the option under “System.” For Windows 10, look for the option under “Settings.”
- In the Automatic rules section under Focus assist, turn the toggle switch off for the options you don’t need. (For more granular settings, click the arrow button next to each automatic rule.)
For example, if you set quiet hours for nighttime, you won’t be disturbed by anything other than priority messages.
Likewise, you can restrict all notifications to “Alarms only”, say, when playing a game. This option is also useful while using an app in full-screen mode (for example, while watching Netflix/YouTube in a web browser).
If you want to set down rules for the types of notifications you receive, scroll to the “Focus assist” section and select the “Priority only” or “Alarms only” radio button as applicable. (By default, the radio button is set to “Off.”)
The “Priority only” option allows you to receive notifications for important contacts and apps while silencing the rest. Click on the “Customize priority list” link below this option to configure whether to include notifications for VoIP, reminders (regardless of app used), and pinned taskbar contacts.
Lastly, go to the list of apps under Priority list. Here you can add/remove apps based on whether you want them to send notifications on priority.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I view notification history in Windows?
All old Windows notifications are stored in a database (.db) format. View them at “C: -> Users -> Username -> AppData -> Local -> Microsoft -> Windows -> Notifications.” To open this DB file use an application like Thumbs Viewer available on GitHub.
2. How do I turn off Windows lock screen notifications?
In Windows 11, the lock screen notifications can be easily switched off from “System -> Notifications.” Deselect the “Show notifications on the Lock Screen” checkbox under Notifications. If required, disable reminders and incoming VoIP calls on the lock screen from the same location. In Windows 10, these options show up under “System -> Notifications & Actions.”
3. How do I disable Windows notifications sounds?
Windows notifications sounds can be turned off from “System -> Notifications” in Windows 11, and “System -> Notifications & Actions” in Windows 10. However, this only affects the app sounds but not the sudden warning messages. To disable notification sounds for general system alerts:
- Open Control Panel and under “Hardware and Sound,” click the “Sound” menu. This opens a new pop-up window.
- Go to the “Sounds” tab and under the active Windows sound scheme, scroll down and select “Notification” under Program Events.
- Now go to the “Sounds” drop-down selection below and set it as “None.” Click “Apply” to save the changes.
Image credit: Dean Pugh on Unsplash
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