Windows can manage notifications from many programs and deliver them right to your desktop. It’s a great way to keep track of programs, from screenshots you’ve taken to messages from chat apps, or updates on your antivirus protection. These generally appear at the right corner of your taskbar and can be toggled on and off as you desire. If they aren’t appearing when they should be, try a few different ways to fix them.
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Why Aren’t Windows Notifications Working?
Notifications may be failing to appear for a few different reasons. The one relevant to your issue depends on your system configuration and the state of your Windows files.
- Your settings might need to be corrected. Windows notifications aren’t for everyone, so you can turn them on and off, depending on your preference. Check to see whether your settings are correct before you start troubleshooting the potential problems. If the only issue is improper settings, it’s an easy fix.
- Another app or function could be blocking the notifications. Things like Focus Assist or other programs designed to help you focus on another task can keep notifications from appearing even if all your settings are correct. Anything that interferes with notifications from Windows or even third-party apps can make it seem like they aren’t working.
- A non-notification setting may not be right. Therefore, your notifications aren’t coming through to be registered by the Windows notification function.
For example, if other programs can’t run in the background, the notifications may not go through until you bring the program back into focus. If notifications aren’t being sent out, Windows can’t grab them and relay them to you.
- Your Windows system files might be damaged or corrupt. Usually, you’ll notice other signs long before core Windows functions stop working on your UI – but there’s always the chance that’s the root of the issue. If all else fails, you want to check and ensure your system files are working correctly.
How to Fix Notifications Not Working on Windows
Once you’ve determined that notifications aren’t working right, try to fix it before any more time passes. Since system functions might be to blame, it’s crucial to discover the issue and ensure it’s not damaged or corrupt files. So even if it doesn’t seem necessary, this is still an issue worth getting to the root of.
Check Your Notifications Settings
Ensure your Windows notification settings are as they should be before you try fixing problems.
- Press the Windows Key + X and choose Settings.
- Choose System.
- Click Notifications and Actions in the left pane.
- Switch on Get Notifications from Apps and Other Senders.
- Choose the proper settings for your Windows notifications below. You can choose from options like showing notifications on the lock screen, letting notifications play sounds, and whether you want tips and tricks for using Windows.
- Scroll down to the Get Noticiations from These Senders heading.
- Switch the toggle to On for the apps and programs you want notifications from.
Now your notifications should be showing up. If they aren’t, proceed to start looking for a fix.
Check Notification Settings from Other Programs
If a specific program isn’t notifying you, check the notification settings within that program itself. It’s possible the program isn’t sending messages to Windows because you have notifications muted or blocked.
Ensure You Don’t Have a Program to Block Notifications
Many productivity apps block notifications to help you focus. Windows has something with this feature built in as well. Make sure Focus Assist and any similar programs are turned off before you continue troubleshooting.
- Open the Settings app.|
- Select System.
- Choose Focus Assist in the left pane.
- Toggle Focus Assist Off.
If you’re using a different program to block notifications, close that program before proceeding.
Make Sure Programs Can Run in the Background
When programs can’t run in the background, they’re prevented from pushing notifications to Windows. This means you won’t be able to get the notifications you want.
- Open the Settings app.
- Select Privacy.
- Choose Background Apps from the left pane.
- Switch On Let Apps Run in the Background.
- Go down to the Choose Which Apps Can Run in the Background heading.
- Toggle the programs you want notifications from to On.
Keep these settings as long as you want to use the Windows notifications feature.
Update Your Computer
Updating your computer can also solve problems that might not seem to stem from a lack of updates. It’s always a good idea to do it if you have available updates, which might fix your notifications issue.
- Press the Windows key + X.
- Choose Settings.
- Click Update and Security.
- Click Windows Update.
- Choose Check for Updates. If updates have already been discovered and downloaded, it might say Restart Now instead. Press that key if it appears.
- Continue following the prompts to update your system.
- Restart your computer.
- Try using notifications again.
If that fixed the problem, it might be solved for good – especially if it came from a known error fixed in the update.
Turn Off Custom Overlays
Some Windows users found that custom overlays from programs like NVIDIA prevented Windows notifications from working. Once they turned off the overlay, notifications started being reported again.
Any program that adjusts your UI or monitors your screen could be blocking the notifications from appearing. There’s a quick way to determine whether they are and which is at fault.
- Press the Windows Key + X.
- Choose Task Manager.
- Right-click every non-essential Windows program and choose End Task. Your ultimate goal is to have no programs running.
- Do something to generate a notification. The quickest is probably to take a screen snip using the Windows Key + Shift + S. You can save a screen snip which should appear in notifications if they’re all switched on in Settings.
- Check to see whether it appears.
- If the notification appears, it means one of the programs prevented your notifications from appearing before.
- Turn each program on one by one and then take another screen snip. When you find the one that blocks the notifications, you’ll have located the problem.
At this point, you can close that program or try to figure out whether it has settings that block notifications. Sometimes it will. Sometimes it won’t, and the only solution is to turn off the program.
Sometimes one of the major Windows processes fails and needs restarting. Your UI will probably disappear if you do it correctly, but it will come back once
explorer.exe starts again.
- Press the Windows Key + X.
- Choose Task Manager.
- Click the Processes tab.
- Right-click Windows Explorer.
- Choose End Process.
- Click File at the top of the Task Manager window.
- Choose Run New Task.
- Press Enter.
- Check to see whether notifications are working now.
If a problem with that process was preventing notifications from appearing, it should be working now. However, the problem might reoccur and signal an issue with your system.
Run System File Checker
System File Checker is a Windows utility that checks the system files to see whether everything is as it should be. It can find missing or corrupt files and even replace or repair them in some cases. However, if SFC can’t replace missing files, you’ll have to either do more extensive work to fix them or reinstall Windows.
- Press the Windows Key + X and choose PowerShell (Admin).
- Click Yes.
dism /online /cleanup-image /scanhealthand then press Enter.
- Let the scan run.
sfc /scannowon the new line once the previous command finishes.
- Press Enter.
- Let the scan run until it generates a response and tells you whether it found problematic files.
Don’t be alarmed if it does find some corrupt files. I ran it while writing this, and it found a few and repaired them. Most of the time, it will be able to do so without further intervention.
If, however, SFC finds missing or damaged files it can’t repair, you’ll have to decide what you want to do.
You can replace the files yourself. However, you need access to a Windows computer with the same operating system, service pack, and updates as yours. From that computer, you’ll copy the damaged or missing files and then bring them to yours, copy them onto your hard drive, and use a command to swap them out for the bad files.
A more straightforward solution is to back up your files and restore or reinstall Windows completely. Once everything is returned to default and all the proper files are in place, the notifications may begin working again.