There is a lot of advertising built into Windows 10. This isn’t just about the free upgrade offer: even if you buy a new PC with a Windows 10 license or spend $ 200 on a copy of Windows 10 Professional, ads will appear in your operating system. However, you can disable many of them.
Turn off lock screen displays
Windows 10 now shows ads on the lock screen through Windows Spotlight. Sometimes Windows Spotlight just shows cool background images, but it also sneaks into ads for games like Rise of the Tomb Raider and Quantum fraction in the Windows Store.
To remove these lock screen ads, go to Settings> Personalization> Lock Screen and set the background to “Picture” or “Slideshow” instead of Windows Spotlight.
You’ll likely want to turn off “Get things to know, tips, and more from Windows and Cortana on your lock screen” here too.
Prevent suggested apps from appearing in the Start menu
CONNECTED: How to remove “Recommended Apps” (like Candy Crush) in Windows 10
Windows 10 occasionally shows “Suggested Apps” in your Start menu. Suggested apps aren’t necessarily free, and we’ve seen Microsoft use this feature to promote $ 60 worth of PC games in the Windows Store (which you shouldn’t buy, by the way). Most importantly, they only take up valuable space in your Start menu.
To prevent suggested apps from appearing in the Start menu, go to Settings> Personalization> Start, and toggle the “Show suggestions occasionally in Startup” setting to Off.
Get rid of gnawing system tray pop-ups
CONNECTED: How to disable the pop-up notifications in the Windows 10 system tray
Windows 10 displays pop-up messages in the system tray that Microsoft calls “Tips, Tricks, and Suggestions”. These tips include recommendations for using Microsoft Edge for better battery life and a recommendation for using Microsoft Edge so that you can earn Microsoft Rewards points.
If you just want to use your favorite apps without Microsoft annoying you, then you need to turn these tips off. To do this, go to Settings> System> Notifications & Actions and uncheck “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions while using Windows”.
Prevent notification ads from showing
CONNECTED: What’s new in Windows 10 Creators Update?
In the Creators Update, Microsoft added new “suggestions” that appear as notifications. These indicators inform you about various Windows functions and are displayed as normal desktop notifications. For example, you might see a notification asking you to set up Cortana. Like other notifications, they are saved in the Action Center so you can see them later.
To turn off those “suggestions” that show up as notifications, go to Settings> System> Notifications and toggle “Show me the Windows welcome experience for updates and occasionally when I log in to highlight what’s new and suggested is “on” off.
Prevent Cortana from jumping in the system tray
CONNECTED: How to turn off Cortana in Windows 10
Cortana doesn’t just sit on your system tray waiting for you to speak to her. Cortana regularly jumps in place and encourages you to give it a try.
If you don’t want Cortana annoying you, click the Cortana search bar, click the Settings icon, scroll down and uncheck “Treats in the system tray” under “Cortana Having Thoughts From Time To Time,” Greetings and notifications initiate the search field “. From then on, Cortana sits quietly until you want to use it.
If you don’t want Cortana to run at all, you can turn Cortana off with a registry or group policy setting. Microsoft removed the old, simple switch that lets you turn off Cortana with the anniversary update, but the registry and group policy tricks still work.
Remove ads from File Explorer
CONNECTED: Disabling ads and notifications in Windows 10 File Explorer
Starting with the Creators Update, Microsoft now displays ads for OneDrive and Office 365 with a banner at the top of the File Explorer window. These banners can be deactivated in the options window of the file explorer.
To disable these options, open the File Explorer Options window by clicking the View tab at the top of a File Explorer window, then clicking the Options button on the ribbon. At the top of the Folder Options window that appears, click the View tab, scroll down the list of advanced settings, and then deselect the “Show sync provider notifications” option.
Banish “Get Office” notifications
CONNECTED: How to turn off Get Office notifications on Windows 10
Windows 10 includes a Get Office application located there that has notifications that let you download Office 365 and enjoy a month-long free trial.
To stop these Get Office notifications, go to Settings> System> Notifications & Actions, scroll down and set the notifications for the Get Office app to Off. You can also just find the Get Office app in your Start menu, right click on it and select “Uninstall”. However, it can reoccur if you update Windows 10 in the future.
Uninstall Candy Crush Saga and other automatically installed apps
Windows 10 “automatically downloads” apps like Candy Crush Soda Saga, Flipboard, Twitter and Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition when you log in for the first time. PC makers can also add their own apps and live tiles that appear installed by default.
These apps are installed as part of the “Microsoft Consumer Experience”. There was a Group Policy setting to disable this, but it was removed from the consumer versions of Windows 10 in the anniversary update. Only Windows 10 Enterprise users – not even Windows 10 Professional users – can turn this off.
However, you can remove these apps and tiles. To do this, just open your start menu, find any apps you don’t want to use, right click on them and select “Uninstall”. Apps like Candy Crush Soda Saga and FarmVille 2: rural exodus are displayed as tiles by default, but you can also find them in the list of all apps.
Some apps only get a tile but won’t download yet. To remove these tiles, simply right click on the tile and select “Disconnect from Start”. You won’t see the “Uninstall” option because the tiles are just links that will take you to the Windows Store where you can download the app.
Turn off live tiles and remove Windows apps
CONNECTED: Here’s how to make the Windows 10 Start menu look more like Windows 7
While you can remove the apps that are installed as part of the Microsoft Consumer Experience program, Windows 10 also includes some apps that you can’t uninstall that advertise you. For example, the Store and Xbox tiles often use the Live Tiles feature to advertise apps and games that Microsoft wants to download.
To turn off live tiles that advertise you, right-click a tile and select More> Turn Off Live Tile. You can also just right-click a tile and select “Remove from Start” to completely remove the tile. You can even remove all the tiles and only use the All Apps list to launch apps when you want.
Avoid the built-in solitaire game
CONNECTED: You don’t have to pay $ 20 a year for Solitaire and Minesweeper on Windows 10
Stay away from the Windows 10 pre-installed game “Microsoft Solitaire Collection”. This app contains not only advertisements but also video ads that are 30 seconds long. You can avoid the ads by paying $ 10 a year. Microsoft’s Minesweeper game isn’t installed by default, but it also has its own subscription fee of $ 10 per year. These are high prices for games that used to be free.
Instead, play another free solitaire game. Google is now offering a solitaire game. Just search for “Solitaire” and play ad-free Solitaire in Google search results.
We’ve also created our own completely free solitaire and minesweeper games for URLs that anyone can access in a desktop browser. We didn’t advertise in these games so you can play ad-free:
Remove ads from the Windows Ink workspace
CONNECTED: Use (or disable) the Windows Ink Workspace on Windows 10
Windows Ink Workspace has its own Suggested Apps section that promotes pen-ready apps that are available in the Windows Store. You can turn these off and just visit the Windows Store if you ever want to find more pen-ready apps.
Go to Settings> Devices> Pen & Windows Inks and toggle “Show Recommended App Suggestions” to “Off” to remove these suggested apps ads.
The Pen and Windows Ink section appears in the Settings app only if your PC supports pen input.
Hide app suggestions in the sharing area
Windows 10’s Creators Update added a new sharing area to File Explorer. Click the Share tab on the ribbon, then click the Share button to open it and share a file with an installed app.
By default, this dialog box not only lists your installed apps, but also “suggested” apps that Windows should install in the Store. To hide these suggested apps, right-click in the Share dialog box and deselect Show App Suggestions.
Expect Microsoft to add more advertisements for Windows 10 in future major updates. With the anniversary update of Windows 10, for example, more standard tiles in the start menu were converted into “sponsored tiles”.