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Change Action Center Settings Security Messages Greyed Out In Windows 7

A friend of mine also got a new laptop recently that is also running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit OS. He ran into an interesting problem earlier where he was being notified about a service that Windows 7 Action Center was recommending he take action on. The issue was when he attempted to modify the settings that control how Action Center notifies you about Security Messages all of them were greyed out except for the UAC (User Account Control). Below I describe  what would cause the Action Center Security Messages configuration to be greyed out and how to make those settings available again.

Windows 7 Action Center Security Messages Configuration Greyed Out:

Change Action Center Settings: Security Messages Greyed Out

As you can see in the above image the Windows 7 Control Panels “Change Action Center Settings” Security messages options which include Windows Update, Spyware and related protection, Internet security settings, Network firewall, and Virus protection are all greyed out. The User Account Control is the only Security Message Setting that is currently available to the user in the above image.

Resolve By Starting The Windows 7 Security Center Service:

The issue is the Security Center service has either crashed or has been stopped for some reason. I would assume that the service was stopped and possibly disabled in an attempt to minimize the running services in Windows 7. So all that needs to happen to enable the Security Center message options again is to start the Security Center service as displayed below. Follow the directions below to open the Services configuration window and start the Security Center service again.

Modify Windows 7 WSCSVC Properties:

  1. Open Windows 7 Services: Click the Windows icon in the lower left corner of your computer to display the pop up Start Menu and type “services” in the “Search programs and files” box followed by clicking Enter. This will launch the Windows 7 Services management console as displayed below.

    Windows 7 Services Management: Security Center

  2. Modify Security Center Service: Double click on the Security Center service, which is also know as WSCSVC, to open the service configuration window displayed in the below image. Here you can configure a service to run at boot time, run delayed after boot, run manually, or be completely disabled. You can also manually start, stop, pause, or resume the Security Center service as well. For this example we want to set the Startup Type drop down to “Automatic (Delayed Start) and then click the Start button to manually start the Security Center service. Click the Apply button to save the settings and then click OK to close the service configuration window.

    Windows 7 Security Center Service Properties

With those changes saved and the Security Center service started you should now be able to return to the “Change Action Center settings” configuration window. You can reach this Control Panel configuration window by visiting the path below.

Change Action Center Settings PATH:

Control Panel\System and Security\Action Center\Change Action Center settings

So you will open the Control Panel, click on System and Security, click on Action Center, and then finally click on Change Action Center settings. You can also copy the PATH above and paste it into the address bar of a Windows Explorer window. You will now see that all of the Security messages options are available to be turned on or off with a check mark as displayed in the image below.

Change Action Center Settings Security Messages

If you did indeed disable this service just make sure that you had fully researched all of the consequences from disabling such a service. There are always lists where people recommend making lots of changes to Windows Services but many times the people creating the lists of services do not understand all of the things that might stop working by disabling such services.My friend who initially had this issue had disabled some services and he would have been fine but he had an Action Center message stuck because it was issued before the Security Center service was disabled and then it was not able to be cleared because the Security Center service had been disabled.


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