The following guide offers instructions on turning of all ads on Windows 10, and most of them with a simple double-click.
Not all Windows 10 users have seen advertisement yet on devices that run the operating system, but the number is certainly growing.
The main reason why it is growing is that Microsoft is pushing what it calls suggestions or tips to more and more places on the operating system.
What started with pre-installed third-party apps and suggestions in the Start Menu, has grown to ads in other locations such as the lockscreen, the File Explorer, and the taskbar.
Microsoft does not differentiate between systems that were upgraded for free to Windows 10, and bought Windows 10 licenses.
Good news is that you can turn off most ads on Windows 10.
The following two Registry files let you turn ads on or off on Windows 10 devices. Please note that the files allow you to turn off most ads but not all. The reason for that is that some features cannot be turned off using the Registry Editor.
The second part of this guide lists all locations, and provides you with instructions on how to disable ads for these locations as well.
First, the download link: disable-windows10-ads.zip
Here is what the turn-off-ads-windows-10.reg file does:
Note: I suggest you create a backup of the Windows Registry before you run the files, or the Windows system as a whole.
To use the file, simply double-click on it. Accept the UAC prompt in the next step of the process, and confirm the Registry Editor warning message as well.
You can open the file in any text editor to take a look at it before you run it.
As I mentioned earlier, it is not possible to disable Windows 10 from showing ads in some locations as you cannot control the functionality using the Registry Editor.
The following instructions offer manual ways to disable Windows 10 ads. This includes instructions for ads that you cannot turn off using the Registry.
We talked about turning off Start Menu ads before here on Ghacks. These suggestions are listing applications for the most part near the top of the start menu. This included in the past free apps or games, but also commercial applications or games.
One of the issues that you may have with the listing is that it is near the top. This means that it uses valuable space there that your program listings could fill instead if it would not be there.
Microsoft started to show suggestions to use Microsoft Edge in the very same location recently (for instance stating that you can stream videos longer with Edge).
To turn them off do the following:
The Windows 10 lock screen may feature two different types of ads. First, you may see wallpaper ads. Microsoft showed a Tomb Raider wallpaper for instance there at one point in time. It looked really nice, but it was still an ad. Microsoft may also display suggestions and tips there.
You have two options here. First, disable the lock screen entirely. Or, and that is probably better, switch to a local wallpaper image instead.
Get Office and Get Skype are two apps that may be installed on your device. The first advertises Microsoft Office 365, the latter the Skype application.
If you don't use Office 365 or Skype, or use it already, you may want to uninstall those applications as they serve no purpose. Additionally, they may interfere with the system in critical ways. The Get Office application blocked System Restore from working correctly for instance some time ago.
If you use a version of Windows prior to the Creators Update:
Windows 10 may display suggestions, tips or tricks directly on the taskbar. Microsoft did so in the past to advertise Microsoft Edge for instance, showing that it is more secure than Firefox, or that it has a better battery life than Google Chrome.
We talked about the taskbar nags on Windows 10 here already.
Windows 10 may also display a welcome screen on start after updates, and show what's new or suggested when you sign in.
If you use the Ink Workspace of Windows 10, you may have seen application suggestions there already. These work similarly to the Start Menu suggestions, only that they show up when you open the workspace, and that they are powered by a different setting.
The most recent location where ads appeared on Windows 10 is File Explorer. The built-in file browser showed an ad for Office 365 to some users directly in the center of File Explorer.
Even worse, there was no option to turn the ad off completely, as you could only select "not now" when it was displayed. This suggests that it will be spawned again at a later point in time.
We talked about File Explorer ads here before. Do the following to turn them off:
Windows 10 may display suggestions in the Share menu that highlight applications that are not installed on the system.
You can turn them off in the following way:
There are a couple of other things that I'd like to mention. First, that the operating system's live tile functionality for application icons in Start may display ads. You can turn off live tiles with a right-click on the tile, and selecting more > turn live tile off. Some apps can be uninstalled as well if you prefer that.
You can also uninstall apps that shipped with Windows 10 by default to get rid of them.
Or, and that is also an option, install an application like Classic Shell to replace the entire Start Menu (and get rid of any ads this way).
Microsoft increased the locations that it displays what it calls suggestions or tips slowly but gradually. It seems likely that we will see even more ads further down the line. I will update the guide whenever new ad locations become known.
If you know of another location, let me know and I'll check and update the article asap.
Now You: What's your take on the whole Windows 10 advertisement situation?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.