How to Configure or Turn off Focus Assist in Windows 10

Microsoft’s May 2019 update¬†brought focus assist to Windows 10, an improved Do Not Disturb mode that’s the successor to ‘Quiet Hours’. The feature lets you prevent annoying Action Center notifications, but its default settings aren’t always ideal.

Without some tweaks, focus assist can cause you to miss important information. By default, it blocks when duplicating a display, gaming, or in a full-screen app. Essentially, watching a Netflix show can be enough to miss an important email.

On the latest versions of Windows 10, you’re able to change focus assist quiet hours and several other automatic rules. We’re going to show you how to configure those Do Not Disturb options or turn it off entirely if you wish.

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Set up or turn off Focus Assist (Do Not Disturb Mode) in Windows 10

First, right-click on the speech bubble icon on the right side of the taskbar to open the Action Center.

Windows - Open Action Center
Windows – Open Action Center

Right-click the “Focus assist” tile and select “Go to Settings”. Your tile may say ‘Priority Only’ or ‘Alarms Only’ if it’s already enabled.

Windows 10 - Action Center - Focus assist
Windows 10 – Action Center – Go to Settings

At the top of the settings wizard, you’re able to select three options. You can turn off Focus assist in Windows 10, have it show notifications from specific apps or only ring for alarms.

Windows 10 - Settings - Focus assist
Windows 10 – Settings – turn off Focus assist

At the bottom of the page, you can also enable automatic rules to determine which of the three previously defined modes will apply during certain sleep periods or activities. By clicking on one of these automatic rules, you can access the settings that apply to it.

Windows 10 - Settings - Focus assist - Automatic rules
Windows 10 – Settings – Focus assist – Automatic rules

You can also set specific periods when you want one of the rules to apply. Some may want only priority notifications during work hours, while others will want to turn on Do Not Disturb as soon as they finish for the day.

Windows 10 - Settings - Focus assist - During these hours
Windows 10 – Settings – During these hours

Of course, behavior often changes at the weekend, so the Do Not Disturb mode has the option to repeat the schedule during weekdays, weekends, or daily. You can also have Windows send you a notification when focus assist is automatically enabled.

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