How To: Configure Quiet Hours in Windows 10

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Quiet Hours

The integration of mobile features on desktop and vice versa has allowed people to get the best (and worst) of both worlds regardless of the platform they are currently using. For the majority of PC users, this became most prevalent with Windows 8.x when Microsoft attempted to make the OS touch-friendly and introduce a host of utilities you would normally expect to find on a smartphone. One of those utilities was Quiet Hours, a do-not-disturb mode that allowed users to relax on their PCs without being overwhelmed by notifications. In Windows 10, the feature makes a return although there are important notes to make about it.

Quiet Hours in Windows 10

At its core, the feature works the same in Windows 10 as it did in Windows 8.x. Enabling it means you will get no notifications about incoming messages, emails or anything else. Since it prevents all notifications from popping up, the best time to use it is when you just want to sit at your computer, watch a movie and not have to think about anything else. The unfortunate thing is that in Windows 10, the feature has no configuration options whatsoever, unless you are willing to modify some system policies. Whereas in Windows 8x you could specify a range of hours during which Quiet Hours would be enabled, you cannot do the same in Windows 10. Instead, you will have to activate the feature manually every time through the Action Center.

The default Settings app in Windows 10 provides absolutely no options for Quiet Hours and the only thing you can actually customize is where it appears on the Action Center. Other than that, users are also encouraged to modify settings for each notification type manually which Microsoft might prime as a complete replacement to Quiet Hours. Notification settings can be found in Settings > System > Notification & actions. The same menu can be accessed by opening the Action Center, right-clicking on a quick action and selecting the “Go to settings” option.

Modifying Quiet Hours policies

It appears that no one knows why Microsoft choose to remove time settings when it is such a crucial part of Quiet Hours, especially since porting the exact same feature from Windows 8.x would be completely painless. Still, as I mentioned before, users can modify the default values through a local policy, something which can be accomplished both via the Registry and the Local Group Policy Editor. The second option is limited to those with a Pro or higher edition of Windows 10.

The policies you can modify allow you to set when Quiet Hours begins and ends every day in the weirdest way possible. For both values, users need to enter the number of minutes after midnight when Quiet Hours is supposed to start and finish. For instance, if you want Quiet Hours at 5AM and end at 7AM, the values you need to enter are 300 and 420 respectively.

Registry

Quiet Hours Registry

  1. Open the Registry Editor (regedit.exe). Just type the file’s name into your Start menu and press Enter.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion/
  3. Right-click on CurrentVersion and create a new Key named QuietHours.
  4. Select the QuietHours key, right-click on an empty space on the right side panel and create two new DWORD (32-bit) Values named EntryTime and ExitTime. These two items respectively control the beginning and end of Quiet Hours.
  5. Double-click on your newly created items to modify their values. Make sure that “Decimal” is selected as the Base. The Value will automatically convert the number to the hexadecimal value so you do not need to worry about that.
  6. Click on OK to save your entered values and close the Registry Editor when you are done.

Local Group Policy Editor

Quiet Hours Policy

  1. Open the editor (gpedit.msc).
  2. Navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Start Menu and Taskbar > Notifications.
  3. Double-click on the “Set the time Quiet Hours begins each day” and “Set the time Quiet Hours ends each day” items to open and modify their values.
  4. Once you are done, click on OK to save the settings.