Notification balloons in Windows 7 Explained - Action Center

This post dive into a bit more detail regarding notification balloons as well as one of the ways we’re working to quiet the system in Window 7. Where We're At Today: Windows can be a busy place – with many things vying for your attention, even while you’re trying to do work. One we hear a […]

This post dive into a bit more detail regarding notification balloons as well as one of the ways we’re working to quiet the system in Window 7.

Where We're At Today: Windows can be a busy place – with many things vying for your attention, even while you’re trying to do work. One we hear a lot about from you is the system notification balloons – those little pop-ups that appear above icons in the notification area (typically right side of the taskbar near the clock). In this post I’ll be talking to notifications sent utilizing Shell_NotifyIcon function provided in Windows, not custom notifications, often called “toast”, like the notifications presented by many applications (some like Outlook even from Microsoft). We see these in instant messenger programs, printer notifications, auto updaters, wifi and Bluetooth utilities, and more – these often use custom methods to present these “balloons” from the system tray, not necessary the Windows API. People have made their feelings loud and clear – Windows is too noisy and the noise distracts from the work at hand. Here are some quotes from the Windows Feedback Panel that illustrate that point.

“Too many notification messages, esp. re: security (eg. Firewall), activation”
“Notifications telling me my system is secure, when I know it is secure, are annoying”
“I'm tired of error messages and pop ups.”[…]

Windows 7: Our effort to quiet the system and make sure you are in control took the following approach:

  • Working across Windows 7 to reduce unnecessary notifications
  • Put you in control of the notifications you see
  • Creating Action Center with the following goals
    • Reduce the number of notification balloons sent to you and make the ones that are sent more meaningful
    • Provide a contextual way to address the issues with a single click
    • Reduce the user-interface clutter in the system to streamline solving system issues

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