How to use Focus assist with automatic rules on Windows 10

You can now choose the times and activities when you don't want to be disturbed with notifications using Focus assist on Windows 10, and here you'll learn how.

Quiet hours Automatic rules settings on Windows 10 (version 1803)
Quiet hours Automatic rules settings on Windows 10 (version 1803)

Focus assist (formerly known as Quiet hours) on Windows 10 allows you to stop notifications from interrupting to stay focus on the task at hand, but it’s been a limited experience. However, starting with Windows 10 April 2018 Update (version 1803), the feature is getting a number of new options making it more useful, including the ability to use it with automatic rules.

Automatic rules let you to set up a schedule or select the activities when you don’t want to be disturbed and Focus assist will be turned on automatically.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to use Focus assist using automatic rules on Windows 10.

How to configure Focus assist automatic rules

If you want to configure Focus assist to turn on automatically during specific times and activities, use the following steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click on Focus assist.

  4. Under “Automatic rules,” turn on the toggle switch for the activity you want to prevent from disturbing you when Focus assist is enabled (you can select one or all activities):

    • During these times — Sets schedule when Focus assist should turn on automatically.
    • When I’m duplicating my display — Turns on Focus assist automatically when duplicating the screen. For example, when giving a presentation.
    • When I’m playing games — Enable Focus assist automatically when playing games in full screen, but it only works with DirectX exclusive games.

    Quiet hours automatic rules settings
    Focus assist automatic rules settings
  5. Click each rule to adjust its settings.

    For example, inside During these hours, you can set the schedule when you want Focus assist to be enabled. Using the drop-down menu, you can select how often you want to use the schedule (for example, daily, weekends, or weekdays), and you select whether to use the schedule when using “Priority only” or “Alarms only” to enable Focus assist.

    Quiet hours schedule settings
    Focus assist schedule settings

    At the bottom of the page, you’ll even find an option to allow notifications to appear in action center during your Focus assist.

Once you’ve completed the steps, Focus assist will turn on automatically depending on the rules you have configured using the above instructions.

If you don’t see the Focus assist settings, it’s likely because you’re not running Windows 10 version 1803 (April 2018 Update) or later, which is expected to release sometime in 2018. You can use this guide to see the version of Windows you’re currently running.

Update January 29, 2017: This guide has been updated to reflect the name change of Quiet hours to Focus assist starting with Windows 10 version 1803.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].