How to Block Ads in Windows


Windows 10 is a fantastic operating system with many useful features; however one of the larger changes that we’ve seen over the past few updates has been the increase in the advertising seen in the menus and home screens.

In this article we’ll talk you through how to disable some of the more obvious offenders found in the Windows 10 interface. If you’d like to see our favourite tips to get the most out of Windows 10, then have a look at our guide.

Stop Cortana jumping around on the Taskbar

Cortana is not a patient person. If you’re not using its search function regularly enough, it will jump up and down to try and grab your attention.

If you’d like it to relax a little bit, then find your way into Settings and scroll down. Look for “Taskbar Tidbits” which is under “Let Cortana pipe up from time to time with thoughts, greetings and notifications in the Search Box”.

Cortana will now wait patiently until you decide you’d like to interact with it.

Notifications Ads

The Creators Update brought with it a great many new features, but also managed to sneak it some more “suggestions”. These particular suggestions alert you to new Windows features, and prompt you to set them up.

To stop these specific suggestions, go back into Settings > System > Notifications, and turn “Show me the Windows welcome experience after updates and occasionally when I sign in to highlight what’s new and suggested” to “Off”.

Remove Lock Screen Ads

Windows Spotlight is a tool that will display various images on your lock screen. Most of the time these will be wallpapers but occasionally it will sneak in something else, such as advertisements for films and games.

To disable Windows Spotlight and remove these ads, go into your Settings > Personalization > Lock Screen and set the background to “Picture” or “Slideshow”.

File Explorer Ads

The Creators Update also brought with it ads for the file explorer.  You will occasionally see a banner in your file explorer that will try and convince you to use OneDrive and Office 365.

To disable these ads, click on the “View” tab at the top of the File Explorer window, and then click on “Options”. Click on the “View” tab at the top of the window that appears, screen down the advanced settings unstill you see “Show sync provider notifications”. Disable that, and the ads will disappear.

Remove Ads from the Start Menu

In a sneaky attempt to disguise ads, Windows 10 will show you “Suggested apps” in your start menu. These are often paid apps, and take up valuable space in your start menu.

To disable them, go into your Settings > Personalization > Start and change “Occasionally showing suggestions in Start” to “Off”.

Taskbar Pop-up ads

These particular ads have been called “tips, tricks and suggestions” by Microsoft. Many of them point towards using Microsoft alternatives to apps you have installed, the most common being Microsoft Edge if you’re using Chrome or Firefox.

To stop them cropping up, find your way to Settings > System > Notifications & Actions and disable the option called “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows”.

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