Quiet Hours with priority on Windows 10

How to use Focus assist with priorities on Windows 10

You can enable Focus assist on Windows 10 allowing certain notifications to passthrough using priorities, and in this guide, you'll learn how to do it.

On Windows 10, Focus assist (formerly known as Quiet hours) is a handy feature that allows to put a block to notifications to avoid interruptions to stay focus, but it’s been quite a limited experience. Starting with the April 2018 Update, Windows 10 is introducing a number of improvements to automatically choose the times when you don’t want to be bothered, including the ability to priorities.

Using priorities, you can turn on Focus assist allowing certain notifications to breakthrough your quiet hours, such as calls, texts, and reminders, selected people from your contact list, or specify apps.

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

How to use Focus assist with priorities

If you don’t want to completely block all notifications, but you still don’t want to be disturbed while working on your computer, use these steps to configure Focus assist priorities:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click on Focus assist.

  4. Select the Priority only option.

  5. Click the Customize your priority list link.

    Quiet Hours settings
    Focus assist settings
  6. Configure the notifications that you want to allow during while Focus assist is enable:

    • Calls, text, and reminders — Allows Cortana to show incoming internet and phone calls, and text messages when you have your phone linked to your PC. Also, reminders will be allowed regardless of the app.
    • People — You’ll see notifications from any contact you add to this list during Focus assist.
    • Apps — Those apps you add to this list will be able to show notifications while Focus assist is enabled.

    Quiet Hours Priority list settings
    Focus assist Priority list settings

Once you’ve completed the steps, while Focus assist is turned on, those notifications you configured will be allowed through, so you don’t miss an important call or text.

Quick Tip: You can always turn Focus assist on or off using the Windows key + A keyboard shortcut to open Action Center, and click the Focus assist button. However, it’s worth noting that you need to click the button multiple times cycle through the configuration you want to use.

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.

Update January 29, 2017: This guide has been updated to reflect the name change of Quiet hours to Focus assist starting with Windows 10 April 2018 Update (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 14 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 20 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 About.me. Email him at [email protected].