How to disable Windows 10 ads

Early this year many Windows 10 users were alarmed to see that ads were popping up on their locks screens where no ads had been before. They were pretty, screensaver-like ads for Windows or Xbox games, but still ads. Unsurprisingly, people immediately called for a way to make them stop. Microsoft and third-party developers can use several avenues to push promotional material directly onto your desktop. But you are not defenseless. Yes, there is a solution to make those ads on Windows 10 go away, but you’ll have to make a visit to your settings.

Disable Lock Screen Ads

That lock screen advertisement that you are trying to get rid of is part of an initiative called Windows Spotlight, which is all about customizing your lock screen. When your computer goes to sleep or is temporarily turned off, it enters the lock mode – this is the security setting that requires you to enter your biometrics or passcode to log back onto Windows 10. The lock screen itself is good and keeps people from easily stealing your data, but turning it into an ad billboard is annoying to some users. Mostly, Windows Spotlight will just show off cool wallpapers, but it’ll also sneak in advertisements sometimes for games like Rise of the Tomb Raider and Quantum Break in the Windows Store.

To disable these head over to Settings > Personalization > Lock Screen and set the background to “Picture” or “Slideshow” instead of Windows Spotlight.

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You may also want to disable the “Get fun facts, tips, and more from Windows and Cortana on your lock screen” option here, too.

Start Menu

The Windows 10 Start Menu offers multiple points of entry for annoying ads or content that is NSFW. Fortunately, all of it can be preemptively removed or turned off.

Head to Settings > Personalization > Start and set the “Occasionally show suggestions in Start” setting to “Off”.

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When you’re using Live Tiles for certain apps, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. You could be exposed to anything from violent or creepy images from a news app to nude shots shared on Twitter to a naughty picture gallery created from your very own image collection. To turn live tiles off just right click on a tile and choose to turn it off.

Notification tips

Windows 10 will also send you some “helpful” tips from time to time like switching from Chrome to Edge and other such notifications promoting Microsoft apps. If you’d like to just use your own preferred applications without Microsoft nagging you, you’ll need to disable these tips. To do so, head to Settings > System > Notifications & Actions and disable the “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows” option.

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Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Google Now and Siri, it sits in your taskbar in case you need it but that’s not ll it does. It will occasionally do things like greet you or bounce in place to get your attention and make you use it. If you would like it to stop doing that, click the Cortana search bar, click the Settings icon, scroll down, and disable the “Taskbar Tidbits” option. From then on, Cortana will sit quietly until you want to use it.

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There are also some pre installed promotional apps from Microsoft such as “Get Office” or “Get Skype” but these can be simply uninstalled with a right click and selecting “Uninstall”

Microsoft also has some games pre-installed like Candy Crush and Microsoft’s solitaire collection which can both be similarly uninstalled along with any other unwanted apps.

For more such tutorials visit our How To section.

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