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How to Fix the Action Center Not Opening in Windows

The Action Center is an important feature in Windows, providing you with notifications and a flyout that allows you to quickly change some system settings. But sometimes, the Action Center can become unresponsive, leaving you with no way to use it, which can dampen your Windows experience. If that’s happening to you, keep on reading to learn how to fix the Action Center not opening in Windows.

Good to know: having issues with the Start menu instead? Learn how to fix it.

Quick Fixes to Try

Prior to delving into the more specific solutions suggested below, consider giving these easy fixes a shot initially to determine whether they can effectively resolve the issue.

  • Reboot your system: the first and obvious thing you should do when you face any sort of problem on your system is restart it. Sometimes, it’s all you need to quickly resolve any small glitches that have caused your computer to misbehave, including the Action Center not opening.
  • Fix corrupted and broken system files: if the Action Center isn’t popping up because some of your system files are corrupt or broken, firing up the SFC can quickly provide help.
  • Use a system restore point: a good habit that all Windows users need to get into is regularly creating system restore points. If you have one from before the Action Center stopped opening, taking advantage of the system restore point now can get the Action Center to open again.

1. Restart Windows Explorer

If the above generic fixes didn’t solve your issue, restarting Windows Explorer in Task Manager can help unlock any locked files that may be causing the Action Center issue.

  1. Right-click an empty part of the taskbar, and select “Task Manager.”
  1. Select the “Windows Explorer” process in the “Processes” tab, and click “Restart task.”
  1. Windows Explorer will restart, and the Action Center should reappear.

Tip: if File Explorer starts acting up, check out our comprehensive list of the most common issues associated with Explorer and their solutions.

2. Re-Register Action Center via PowerShell

If the Action Center is still not opening after restarting Windows Explorer, try re-registering the Action Center.

  1. Press Win + X, and select “Terminal (Admin)” or “Windows PowerShell (Admin).”
Opening Terminal as admin via WinX menu.
  1. Copy and paste the following command into PowerShell, and press Enter.
Get-AppxPackage | % { Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppxManifest.xml" -verbose }
Executing command to register Action Center in Powershell.
  1. Restart your Windows Computer, then check whether you can open the Action Center.

3. Perform a Clean Boot

The reason you can’t open Action Center could be that there’s a software conflict. A good way to isolate the offender is to boot Windows with minimal apps, programs, and drivers running. Put your computer in a clean boot by following the steps below:

  1. Open a Run dialog by pressing Win + R, then enter msconfig in the text box, and click “OK.”
Opening System Configuration using the Run window.
  1. In System Configuration, select the “Services” tab, tick the “Hide all Microsoft services” checkbox, and click “Disable all.”
Closing all non Microsoft services In System Configuration app.
  1. Click “Apply” but don’t close “System Configuration” just yet.
Applying changes in System Configuration app.
  1. Select the “Startup” tab, and click “Open Task Manager.” This will open Task Manager with the “Startup” tab selected.
Opening Task Manager from System Configuration app.
  1. Check the “Status” column for each item, and if it says “Enabled,” select the item, then click “Disable.” Do this until you’ve disabled everything.
Disabling Startup Apps in Task Manager.
  1. Click “OK” to close “System Configuration,” then close Task Manager as well.
  1. Once you restart your computer, you will have performed a clean boot. Check whether you can open the Action Center. If you can, it means that one of the items you disabled is the culprit. Launch or enable them one by one to find the offender.

4. Enable Action Center

If you can’t get the Action Center to open, even after re-registering it, then perhaps someone or something disabled it without your knowledge. To fix that, you just need to enable it again. You can do that in the Local Group Policy Editor or Registry Editor.

Tip: Windows Home users need to activate the Group Policy Editor first.

In the Local Group Policy Editor

  1. Open a Run window, enter gpedit.msc in the text box, then click “OK.”
Opening Group Policy Editor via Windows Run.
  1. Navigate to “User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Start Menu and Taskbar.”
Navigating to the "Start Menu And Taskbar" folder in the Local Group Policy.
  1. Double-click the “Remove Quick Settings” policy in the right panel on Windows 11 or the “Remove Notifications and Action Center” policy in the right panel on Windows 10.
Clicking on "Remove Quick Settings" policy in the Local Group Policy Editor.
  1. Set the radio button to “Not Configured,” and click “OK.”
Setting policy to "Not Configured" in Local Group Policy Editor.

In the Registry Editor

One important thing to keep in mind is that making a mistake in the Registry Editor can mess up the Windows registry. To make sure that you can roll back detrimental changes, we highly recommend creating a backup of the Windows registry before you proceed.

  1. Open Windows Run, enter regedit in the text box, and click “OK.”
Opening the Registry Editor via Windows Run.
  1. Navigate to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Software -> Policies -> Microsoft -> Windows -> Explorer.”
Navigating to the Explorer key in Registry Editor.
  1. Right-click the “Explorer” key on the left panel, and select “New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value.”
Creating New DWORD value in Registry Editor.
  1. Name the value you just created “DisableNotificationCenter,” then double-click it to edit it.
Creating the "DisableNotificationCenter"' value in Registry Editor.
  1. Set “Value data” to “1,” and press “OK.”
Setting value data for key to "1" in Registry Editor.
  1. Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Tip: is it a good idea to defragment your registry? Find out the answer in this guide.

5. Rename UsrClass.dat File

If the above method doesn’t resolve the problem, try renaming or deleting the “UsrClass.dat” file. This is where Windows stores all of the user profile information.

  1. Press Win + R, copy and paste %localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows in the text box, and click “OK.”
Typing command in Run window.
  1. By default, Windows hides the “UsrClass.dat” file. To make it visible in Windows 11, click “View,” and select “Show -> Hidden items.” In Windows 10, select the “View” tab, then tick the “Hidden items” checkbox.
Revealing hidden items in File Explorer.
  1. Select the “UsrClass.dat” file, press F2, and rename it “UsrClass.dat.bak.” If you receive a warning message when trying to change the file extension, click “Yes” to continue.
Warning about changing file extensions on Windows.
  1. Sometimes the “UsrClass.dat” file will be in use, and you will not be able to rename or delete it.
Warning of failure to rename file on Windows.
  1. You will need to log in to another user account, and try to change it from there.
  2. If you don’t have another user account, enable the Super Admin account, and use that instead. If you already have a second user account, log in to that.
  1. Press Win + E to open File Explorer, and head to “This PC -> Local Disk (C:) -> Users -> <username> -> AppData -> Local -> Microsoft -> Windows.” Be sure to replace “<username>” with the username of your original account.
Navigating to the Windows folder in File Explorer.
  1. Try to rename “UsrClass.dat” to “UsrClass.dat.bak.” Since the file is no longer in use by the previous user account, you should be able to rename it without issue.
The Usrclass Dat File Renamed
  1. After renaming the file, restart your system, and see whether the Action Center is working.

If it isn’t working after trying all the steps in this guide, you may need to reset your Windows computer. Before you do, learn how to reset Windows without losing data.

FYI: is your PC showing a “User profile service failed the sign-in” message? Learn how to handle this error.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I edit the Action Center in Windows?

In Windows 11, edit the Action Center by opening it (Win + A), and clicking the pencil icon. In Windows 10, open Settings, head to “System -> Notifications & actions,” and click “Edit your quick actions.” Then, add or remove quick actions as needed.

How do I prevent others from editing the Action Center?

If you don’t want others to edit the Action Center on Windows 11, open the Local Group Policy Editor, head to “Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Start Menu and Taskbar,” and set the “Disable Editing Quick Settings” to “Enabled.” This setting is not available on Windows 10, so disable the Action Center instead. (See method 4 on how to proceed.)

Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Chifundo Kasiya.

Chifundo Kasiya
Chifundo Kasiya

Chifundo is a tech writer who loves all things computers and gaming. He has been a freelancer writer for over 10 years and loves tackling complex topics so he can break them down for everyone to understand. He is also an artist, game programmer, and amateur philosopher. As a tech writer for MTE, he focuses mainly on Windows.

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