Windows 10 may have been a free upgrade, however, it comes with ads pushed to the system using different avenues (even if you’ve upgraded for a fee, sadly). These ads appear at various places including Start menu, Action Center, Cortana as well as on the lock screen. These ads coax you to buy apps and services that you may or may not need.
Owing to the fact mentioned, many users find these ads intrusive enough to degrade the overall user experience. Fortunately, there exist some useful tricks to disable or block most of the advertisements and that’s what we’re going to discuss in this article.
Below is a list of places where ads are shown and the tricks to disable them safely. Are you ready? Let’s disable ads.
Stop getting personalized ads
Microsoft displays targeted ads on Windows 10 using a unique advertising ID. It tracks the app uses and Windows Store purchases to display personalized ads, which you’re most likely to click or follow. The best way to avert such targeted advertisements is to disable your advertising identity so that the company can’t show ads based on your interests. You can perform these steps to turn off your advertising ID:
- Open “Settings”, click “Privacy” and select “General”.
- Under “Change privacy options”, toggle off the option “Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps”.
Also, please do the following steps in every installed browser in your system, including the Microsoft Edge, to get rid of personalized ads while browsing the web:
- Navigate to https://choice.microsoft.com/en-us/opt-out.
- Toggle off the options named “Personalized ads in this browser” and “Personalized ads wherever I use my Microsoft account”.
Remove ads from the Start menu
Start menu is the central launcher for everything, say files, apps, settings and more, and Microsoft has found a way to monetize the same by showing suggested apps. These ads suggest applications that are not available on your PC and Microsoft tries its best to convince you to try or buy them from the Windows Store. Fortunately, one can turn off these ads or suggestions by performing these steps:
- Open “Settings”, choose “Personalization” and click on the “Start” option.
- Toggle off “Occasionally show suggestions in Start”.
Remove ads from Cortana search
Cortana is your personal digital assistant that’s always available to offer tips, suggestions and help. It encourages and coaxes you to use its various AI-based features and also gives suggestions, which is a form of advertisement in itself. If you don’t want Cortana to offer you such ads, you can disable this feature by following these steps:
- Open “Cortana”, click on the “Settings” icon and toggle off “Turn off the Taskbar tidbits”.
Remove ads from Action Center
Action Center is the notification center introduced in Windows 10 – same as Android has its notification panel for showing notifications from apps. Microsoft also utilize this space to push tips, tricks, suggestions, and advertisements. In case you’re finding such ads and suggestions obtrusive, you can remove them using these steps:
- Open “Settings”, click on “System” > and select “Notifications & actions”.
- Toggle off “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows”.
Remove ads from the lock screen
The lock screen is a security screen that helps protect your PC from unauthorized access. It asks for your password when the PC is left inactive or goes to sleep or is turned on. Windows uses this screen to display ads when using its Spotlight, custom background or slideshow and shows tips, suggestions and more from Cortana and Windows.
Unfortunately, Windows Spotlight doesn’t allow disabling tips or ads shown on lock screen, however, using a custom background or slideshow opens up the possibility to disable such tips, suggestions or ads. Here’s how to remove the ads from lock screen:
- Open “Settings”, choose “Personalization” and click on “Lock screen”.
- In “Background” drop-down, select “Picture” or “Slideshow”.
- Toggle off the option “Get fun facts, tips, and more from Windows and Cortana on your lock screen”.
Remove ads from apps tiles
Metro apps are the touchscreen-friendly applications introduced in Windows 8. These apps or games appear on the Start menu or screen in form of small app tiles that may show slideshows of pictures or ads or even video ads showing insights of some game or app. If you find them intrusive and wish to remove them, just follow these steps:
- Open “Start” menu and “Right-click” the ad tile.
- Select “Uninstall” and click on “Uninstall” again.
Note: Some tiles are just ads (and not apps), so select “Unpin from Start” to remove them.
Remove ads from live tiles
Start menu shows various live tiles, which may display ads and links to download or buy new apps from the Windows Store. Moreover, some apps also use this functionality to show ads or share about their new features. If you find these disturbing and wish not to see such ads or suggestions, just uninstall these apps (if you hardly use them) or disable their live tiles from showing updates or live contents. Here’s the step-by-step procedure:
- Open “Start” menu, right-click a live tile and select “More”.
- Click on “Turn live tile off”.
Note: Another option is to right-click the app and select “Unpin from Start” option.
Uninstall apps showing ads
There are various apps pre-installed with the Windows 10 that just show ads or lures you to try out new apps or features. Moreover, you may also download apps from Windows Store that pushes ads in the Action Center or shows ads while using them. If you wish to uninstall all such apps and other unwanted apps once and for all, then follow the below steps.
- Open “Settings”, select “System” and click “Apps & features”.
- Click on the apps you wish to remove by clicking on the “Uninstall” button.
Note: Some pre-installed apps like Windows Store, Xbox, Groove Music and Movies & TV are restricted apps that you can’t remove or uninstall by yourself.
Some of the apps that you can safely remove in Windows 10 are the following: 3D Builder, App Installer, Feedback Hub, Get Office, Get Started, Microsoft OneDrive (in case you don’t use it), Microsoft Solitaire Collection (if you’re not fond of this game), News, Paid Wi-Fi & Cellular, Skype Preview (if it’s of no use to you), etc.
Remove ads from Microsoft Edge
Windows 10 comes with a brand new web browser named Microsoft Edge that may show Microsoft or Bing-powered ads while browsing web pages. If you’re running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, you can install a popular Adblock extension from the Windows Store. Here’s a list of extensions (including ad blocker) that you can install in your browser.
Remove ads from Windows Ink
Microsoft introduced a pen-friendly interface known as the Windows Ink that features three spaces to pen notes or brush sketches: Sticky notes, Screen Sketch and Sketchpad. Anyone using a touchscreen or non-touchscreen device can use these workspaces to handwrite or draw using finger, stylus or mouse. While using these spaces, you’ll see various ads suggesting third-party apps. You can remove these ads using these steps:
- Open “Settings”, click “Devices” and select “Pen & Windows Ink”.
- Toggle off “Show recommended app suggestions”.
Note: These settings may or may not be visible on your system depending on the Windows 10’s release and the hardware present on your device.
After disabling the options given in the above guide, the advertisements shown throughout the Windows 10 will significantly reduce on your system. However, these options don’t remove advertisements on the ad-supported apps and there is no option to disable them.
We hope you were able to achieve an ad-free environment in Windows 10 using the above tricks and if you know any more such tips, then don’t hesitate to reach to us. Also, please share what you think about Microsoft’s advertising spree on Windows 10.