Windows 10 has a lot of built-in advertising. This is not just about the free upgrade offer: Even if you buy a new computer that comes with a Windows 10 license or spend $ 200 for a copy of Windows 10 Professional, you will see ads in your operating system. However, you can disable much of it.
Disable lock screen ads
RELATED: To disable ads on your Windows 10 lock screen
Windows 10 now displays ads on the lock screen via Windows Spotlight. Sometimes Windows Spotlight only shows cool wallpapers, but it also sneaks in ads for games like Rise of the Tomb Raider and Quantum Break in the Windows Store.
To get rid of these lock screen ads, go to Settings> Personalization> Lock Screen and set the background to “Image” or “Slideshow” instead of Windows Spotlight.
You probably also want to disable the “Get fun facts, tips and more from Windows and Cortana on your lock screen” option.
Stop the suggested apps from appearing in the Start menu
RELATED: How to get rid of “Suggested apps” (like Candy Crush) in Windows 10
Windows 10 sometimes displays “suggested apps” in your Start menu. Suggested apps aren’t necessarily free, and we’ve seen Microsoft use this feature to advertise $ 60 PC games from the Windows Store (which you shouldn’t buy, by the way). But most of all, 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 set the “Sometimes show suggestions in Start” setting to “Off”.
Get Rid Of Nagging Taskbar Pop-ups
RELATED: To disable Windows 10 pop-up notifications in the taskbar
Windows 10 displays pop-up ads in the taskbar, which Microsoft calls “tips, tricks, and suggestions.” These tips have included recommendations for using Microsoft Edge for better battery life and an encouragement to use Microsoft Edge so you can earn Microsoft Rewards points.
If you just want to use your own applications without Microsoft losing you, you need to disable these tips. To do so, go to Settings> System> Messages & Actions and disable the “Get tips, tricks and suggestions when using Windows” option.
Prevent notifications from appearing
RELATED: What’s new in Windows 10’s Creators Update
In Creators Update, Microsoft added new “suggestions” that appear as notifications. These ads inform you about various Windows features and appear as standard desktop notifications. For example, you may see a message asking you to set up Cortana. Like other messages, they are also stored in the Action Center so you can see them later.
To disable these “suggestions” that appear as notifications, go to Settings> System> Messages and set “Show me Windows welcome experience after updates and sometimes when I log in to select the new and suggested” to “Off”.
Stop Cortana from bouncing in the Taskbar
RELATED: To disable Cortana on Windows 10
Cortana is not just sitting on the taskbar waiting for you to start talking to it. Cortana bounces regularly on the spot and encourages you to try to use it.
If you do not want Cortana to bite you, click on the search bar in Cortana, click on the Settings icon, scroll down and deactivate the “Taskbar” option under “Let Cortana move from time to time with thoughts, greetings and messages in the search box”. and with that, Cortana will sit quietly until you want to use it.
If you do not want Cortana to run at all, you can choose to disable Cortana with a registry or group policy setting. Microsoft removed the old, simple switch that allows you to disable Cortana with Anniversary Update, but registry and group policy tricks still work.
Remove ads from File Explorer
RELATED: To disable ads and notifications in Windows 10’s File Explorer
As of the creator update, Microsoft now displays ads that print OneDrive and Office 365 with a banner at the top of the File Explorer window. These banners can be disabled in File Explorer’s options window.
To disable these options, open the File Explorer options window by clicking the “View” tab at the top of any File Explorer window and clicking the “Options” button in the ribbon. Click the “View” tab at the top of the Folder Options window that appears, scroll down the list of advanced settings, and uncheck the “View sync provider notifications” option.
Banish “Get Office” messages
RELATED: To disable “Get Office” notifications in Windows 10
Windows 10 includes a “Get Office” application that sits there and gives messages indicating that you are downloading Office 365 and getting a month-long free trial.
To stop these Get Office notifications, go to Settings> System> Messages & Actions, scroll down and set notifications for the “Get Office” app to “Off”. You can also simply find the Get Office app in the Start menu, right-click on it and select “Uninstall”. However, it may come back when 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 chips that appear installed by default.
These apps are installed as part of the “Microsoft Consumer Experience”. There was a group setting to disable this, but it was removed from 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 so, simply open your Start menu, find out which apps you do not want to use, right-click on them and select “Uninstall”. Apps like Candy Crush Soda Saga and Farmville 2: Country Escape appears as tiles by default, but you can also find them under the list of all apps.
Some apps simply get a badge but are not yet downloaded. To remove these tiles, just right-click on the tile and select “Release from Start.” You do not see an “Uninstall” option because the tiles are just links that take you to the Windows Store where you can download the app.
Disable live tiles and unlock Windows apps
RELATED: How to make the start menu in Windows 10 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 a lot of apps that you can not uninstall that advertise for you. For example, the Store and Xbox tiles often use the “live tile” feature to promote ads and games that Microsoft wants you to download.
To disable live tags that advertise for you, right-click on a page and select More> Turn off live tags. You can also just right-click on a tile and select “Release from Start” to get rid of the tile completely. You can even choose to loosen all the tiles and just use the All apps list to launch apps, if you want.
Avoid the built-in solitaire game
RELATED: You do not have to pay $ 20 per year for solitaire and minesweepers on Windows 10
Stay away from the game “Microsoft Solitaire Collection” pre-installed on Windows 10. This app does not only have advertising – it has video ads that are 30 seconds long. You can avoid advertising by paying $ 10 a year. Microsoft’s Minesweeper game is not installed by default, but it also has its own $ 10 per year subscription fee. These are steep prices for games that were previously free.
Play another free Solitaire game instead. Google now offers a solitaire game – just search for “solitaire” and you can play ad-free solitaire in Google search results.
We have also posted our very own completely free Solitaire and Minesweeper games on URLs that anyone can access in a desktop browser. We have not placed any ads in these games so you can play without ads:
Remove ads from the Windows Ink workspace
RELATED: How to use (or disable) the Windows Ink workspace on Windows 10
Windows Ink Workspace includes its own “Suggested Apps” section that advertises pen-enabled apps available in the Windows Store. You can disable these and only visit the Windows Store if you ever want to find more pen-enabled apps.
Go to Settings> Devices> Pen & Windows Ink and set the “Show recommended app suggestions” option to “Off” to get rid of these suggested app ads.
You will only see the “Pen & Windows Ink” section of the Settings app if your computer supports pen input.
Hide app suggestions in the sharing window
Windows 10’s Creators Update added a new share box to File Explorer. Click the “Share” tab in the ribbon and click the “Share” button to open it and share a file to an installed app.
By default, this dialog box not only lists your installed apps – it also shows “suggested” apps that Windows wants you to install from the store. To hide these suggested apps, right-click in the Share dialog box and uncheck “Show app suggestions.”
Expect Microsoft to add more advertising to Windows 10 in future major updates. For example, the Windows 10 anniversary update turned more of the standard tiles on the Start menu into “sponsored tiles”.