Q. How do I get apps to give me notifications when I’m using Windows 10 on a desktop computer?
A. As with mobile operating systems, Microsoft’s Windows 10 can display app alerts on your screen, even when you do not have those programs open. You may not want to hear from every app on your computer that can send notifications, but you can control what you see both while you are working and while your PC’s lock screen is on.
To do so, go to the Start screen and open the Settings app. As a shortcut, you can press the Windows and I keys on the keyboard to open the Settings box, or tell the Cortana assistant to do it for you.
Once you are in the Settings box, select System. On the left side of the System screen, choose Notifications & Actions. Here, you flip the switches for apps and services you want to show notifications. (Some programs may have their own notification settings, like web browsers sending you updates from selected sites.)
You can also select the style of alerts you see on the screen, and if you would like audio cues as well. If you prefer not to have the computer ping you with notifications between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., you can turn on the Quiet Hours setting. Select the Action Center icon in the lower-right corner of the Windows taskbar. In the rows of Acton Center squares (choose Expand if you do not see them all), tap or click the Quiet Hours icon to toggle it.
Mac users can find similar settings for the system’s Notifications Center — just select Notifications in the System Preferences area. The Mac operating system also includes a Do Not Disturb setting to mute the alerts during specified hours.
An earlier version of this column described incorrectly the shortcut for getting to the Settings box on Windows 10. Press the Windows and I keys to open the box, not the Control and I keys.