The Windows 10 Action Center recycles its name from a former feature in the Control Panel, but is opened up to all notifications and is more customizable than you might notice at first. 

In Windows 7, the Action Center was a modernized version of the Security center, which debuted when Windows XP was reborn as XP SP2, quite literally an altogether new OS from its predecessor. The Action Center served as a status monitor for the end user to check the health of their system security, maintenance, firewall, and backup. It even allows for a user to submit error reports and check for known issues with hardware, software, and drivers.

In Windows 10, Action Center is brought to the main UI rather than in the Control Panel, and picks up the ability to show notifications from all apps. The Action Center truly amounts to a message queue for what used to be system notifications in the “don’t call it a systray” taskbar notification center near the clock. Previous to Windows 10, these balloon and later fly-out tile style notifications were usually shown once and then inaccessible unless the app that presented it preserved it and reissued the notice.  No more: now Windows 10 queues up notifications like most mobile systems do, and allows you to browse and dismiss them at will.

However without customization, the Action Center can begin to feel like yet-another-inbox you must check and clear out periodically, at best becoming a trash can to empty (or not) and at worst becoming a chore.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Windows 10 Action Center with many notifications
Tired of dismissing old notifications but still want to get them as they happen? There’s a setting for that.

You can change the behavior by right-clicking a notification, but you’ll initially only see the option to turn off notifications for the app entirely.  However there are other choices if you don’t want to jump straight to nuclear annihilation.

To reach the setting, right-click any notification and choose Go to notification settings, or just open the Settings app your favorite way: right-click Start, press WindowsLogo+i key shortcut, or just find and open Settings from your apps list.

However you get there, you’ll want to click into System, then Notification and actions to reach the options for your Action Center notifications.

Windows 10 Settings app showing Notfications and Actions
Settings app lets you fine tune how notifications appear, sound, or queue up for any particular app.

PS. The security, maintenance, firewall, and other important system status information continues to have a home in the Control Panel, it’s just no longer called the Action Center. You’ll find it under System and Security, then Security and Maintenance.