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Customize your Windows 10 notifications

Get notified on your PC the way you want to (or not at all).

The Windows 10 notifications system is still a work in progress -- universal-ish app notifications that appear on your lock screen, on your desktop and in your action center. In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft has added more notifications (Windows can now link to your Android phone via the Cortana app and mirror Android notifications on your desktop) and more notifications options, including the ability to prioritize certain apps over others.

The notifications/action center is getting there, but it's still pretty confusing. Here's how to wrestle Windows 10 notifications into submission, whether you want to prevent them from appearing on the lock screen or turn them off altogether.

Privacy, please

Notifications automatically appear on the Windows 10 lock screen -- so you can stay in the loop without having to unlock your device. But you may not want all (or any) notifications appearing on the lock screen, in which case you can turn this feature off.

Turn off this toggle to get rid of notifications from the lock screen.

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To remove all notifications from the lock screen, open the Settings menu and go to System > Notifications & actions > Notifications and turn off the toggle under Show notifications on the lock screen.

This toggle lets you turn off lock screen notifications for each specific app.

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To hide lock screen notifications from a specific app, open the Settings menu and go to System > Notifications & actions > Get notifications from these senders and click on the app you want to configure. In the app's notifications menu, turn on the toggle under Keep notifications private on the lock screen.

Pick your priorities

Notifications may pop-up everywhere (on your lock screen, on your desktop, on your phone...), but they actually live in the action center. Not all app notifications are important, though, so Windows 10 allows you to prioritize which apps get prime action center real estate.

This will let you prioritize the types of notifications you receive.

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To set an app's notification priorities, open the Settings menu and go to System > Notifications & actions > Get notifications from these senders and click on the app you want to configure. Under Priority of notifications in the action center, select a priority level: Top (displays at the top of the action center), high (displays in the middle of the action center) or normal (displays at the bottom of the action center). Apps are set to 'normal' priority by default.

In this menu, you can also choose how many of an app's notifications are visible in the action center at any given time. The default setting is 3, but you can also set it to 1, 5, 10 or 20 from the drop down menu under Number of notifications visible in action center.

Switch sounds

If you want the notifications but not the sounds -- or you want a different notification sound -- you'll need to go into the Control Panel. You can turn off sounds for individual apps in the Settings menu (Settings menu > System > Notifications & actions > Get notifications from these senders > [App] > Play a sound when a notification arrives), just not for all notifications at once.

The Sound menu in the Control Panel.

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Right-click the Start button and open the Control Panel. Click Sound to open the Sound menu.

Pick your sound, or no sound, here.

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In the Program Events box, scroll down until you see Notification (under the Windows tree). Click Notification to select it and then click the drop-down menu under Sounds. You can either choose a different notification sound, or you can scroll to the top of the menu and choose (None) to turn off notification sounds completely.

No more notifications

If notifications aren't your thing, no problem -- it's easy to make them virtually invisible in Windows 10.

Flip this to turn off all notifications.

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To turn off all notifications from all apps, open the Settings menu and go to System > Notifications & actions > Notifications and turn off the toggle under Get notifications from apps and other senders.

Turn off notifications from some apps using this menu.

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If you just want to turn off some notifications, go to the Get notifications from these senders section and toggle off individual apps.

Hide the action center taskbar icon here.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To hide the action center taskbar icon, right-click the taskbar and go to Settings. Under Notification area, click Turn system icons on or off. Toggle off Action Center to remove the icon from your system tray.

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