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I always turned off Action Center in Windows 7 - is there anything new in Windows 8 worth keeping it around for?

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Action Center is also where Defender-related messages show up now, since there's no separate tray icon anymore as there was for MSE. –  Karan Nov 4 '12 at 17:50
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Action center (in Windows 8) also now reports if applications are impacting startup time. That's a good enough reason for me to leave it enabled, but obviously your own situation may be different.

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You can check from time to time in the Task Manager in the Startup tab, though, which shows the same. –  Јοеу Nov 4 '12 at 10:41
    
@Joey, agreed, but that means remembering to check, while the Action Center report prompts me to look --- for me, that's a good enough reason to leave it active! –  PJC Nov 5 '12 at 12:53
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From Keep tabs on performance in Windows 8 with Action Center on TechRepublic:

Windows SmartScreen

Designed to provide protection against phishing Web sites and malicious downloads

Windows Activation

Clicking the View activation details takes you to a Control Panel applet

In addition to the activation details, you can use the links to purchase additional copies of Windows 8 or learn more about the license terms

Microsoft account

The Microsoft account feature links your Windows 8 user account with what is currently called Windows Live and is designed to seamlessly provide access to all sorts of features in the cloud, such as photos, documents, and other files from places like SkyDrive, Facebook, and Flickr. You can also share status and contact info with Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Of course, this is all optional and configurable

Automatic Maintenance

This feature that will automatically perform maintenance tasks such as software updates, security scans and system diagnostics. If you click Change Maintenance Settings, you can choose the time that you want the Automatic Maintenance

File History

File History is a new feature in Windows 8 that works like a combination of Previous Versions and Windows Backup and Restore

It's up to you to decide if you keep it or not.

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Please, if you have to copy and paste from other articles, embed text you didn't write yourself in blockquotes (e.g. with Ctrl-Q). Moreover it would be preferable to describe in your own words rather than copying large passages from other sites. –  slhck Nov 4 '12 at 10:47
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