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. And that's in addition to all the ads we're already seeing in our browser.
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.
Block ads in Microsoft Edge
To block ads in Windows' built-in browser you simply need to access its settings and select that option. Open Edge, tap on the three dots at the top right of the window, then choose Settings. Scroll down and select Advanced Settings, then slide off the toggle next to Block Pop-ups.
Block ads in Google Chrome
Not everyone uses Windows' built-in browser, of course, and Chrome is a very popular alternative. You can block ads quickly and easily using the AdBlock extension, which is available in the Chrome app store. However, Google has in February 2018 made some changes that might make you less likely to want to block ads in your browser.
As of 15 February, Google will be blocking ads that violate standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads, which includes full-page- and countdown ads, and those that autoplay sound and video. This will happen by default without you needing to do anything, but should result in an improved user experience.
Remove Cortana ads
Cortana is not a patient tool. 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.
Remove Notifications ads in Windows
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 in Windows
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”.
Remove 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”.
Remove 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”.