Friday, November 11, 2016

How to Disable Windows 10 Ads, Notifications and Programs

How to disable Windows 10 advertisements

Note: I believe most if not all advertisements in Windows 10 is related to the Windows Store application and Cortana. So if you do not create a Windows Store account, and even uninstall Windows Store completely, and have Cortana disabled, this should lessen or remove the risk of encountering any unwanted advertising on your system.

Note: Windows 10 will/may reinstall uninstalled applications after mayor updates, such as  happened after the Anniversary update, when the following programs (among many others) was re-installed into my system: Windows Store, Twitter, Xbox, Office 360, Skype, News, Movies/TV, Music, various Games etc.

How to disable Windows 10 Lock screen ads

To disable Windows 10’s lock screen ads, click on your “Start” menu, and open up the “Settings” app by clicking on the gear icon on the left side of the start menu (you can also search “settings” and press enter).

From here, choose the “Personalization” setting, and then navigate to the “Lock Screen” tab.

Once this is open, find the field that reads “Windows Spotlight”, and click on the box. You can switch this to display either a “Picture” or a “Slideshow”, depending on your personal preference.

Choosing a “Picture” or a “Slideshow” will disable Microsoft from automatically pushing ads to your login screen without your permission through the “Spotlight” feature.

Lastly, once you’ve selected the new style of login screen, be sure to un-check the option for “Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen”.

This will disable Microsoft from automatically pushing ads to your login screen without your permission.

How to disable Windows 10 Start menu ads

The ads, which are labeled “suggested”, are for apps in the Windows Store, and are prominently featured in the “Most Used” section.

To make these “suggestions” go away, go to “Settings”, then click on “Personalization”, go to “Start” and then flip the “Occasionally show suggestions in Start” switch to the “off” position.

How to disable Windows 10 Start menu live tiles and pictures

Live tiles might seem cool, but they are mostly just irritating, flashy, real or animated distractions. You can turn off live tiles pictures, which will convert them to a static tile. You just need to right-click on a tile, and select “Turn live tile off”.

After installing Windows 10, the start menu is filled pre-installed programs that automatically displays live tiles. I would recommend everyone to simply remove (right-click and click “Unpin from start) and turn off all the live tiles (right-click and select “Turn live tile off”) from start and completely uninstall those useless applications (i.e., xbox, office 360, skype, news, movies/tv, music, twitter etc.).

How to uninstall Windows 10 pre-installed bloatware programs

Many of Windows 10 pre-installed bloatware programs cannot be uninstalled by Windows 10 uninstaller. But there is an easy fix for this. What you need to do it search for and download CCleaner.

Direct download link:

With this program installed, you can easily uninstall every single application in Windows 10 that you don’t want or need. I would recommend that you uninstall every single application that you will never use or that are just useless distractions (i.e., xbox, office 360*, skype*, news, movies/tv, music, twitter, etc.). To do this, open CCleaner, click on “tools”, then “uninstall”. Here, go through the list of programs and uninstall what you want.

*By uninstalling the Office 360 and Skype bloatware programs you won’t “Get Office” or “Get Skype” notifications on your system. These notifications come even if you already have the programs! (Notifications can also be turned off.)

Also see: Why you should completely disable images in Internet Explorer even if you never use it.

How to Get Rid of Nagging Tips in Windows 10

Windows 10 also has helpful “tips” that often serve to push Microsoft apps and services. Tips have included recommendations to use Microsoft Edge for better battery life, and an encouragement to use Microsoft Edge so you can earn Microsoft rewards points.

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.

Note: If you don’t want to receive any notifications by Windows 10’s Action Center at all, disable the “Get notifications from apps and other senders” option as seen in the image above (I have all the notification options disabled).

How to Disable or Restrict Cortana in Windows 10

If you are lucky, you may live in a country where Cortana is not even supported yet so this won’t be necessary!

Microsoft doesn’t want you to disable Cortana. You used to be able to turn Cortana off in Windows 10, but Microsoft removed that easy toggle switch in the Anniversary Update. But you can still disable Cortana via a registry hack or group policy setting. This transforms the Cortana box into a “Search Windows” tool for local application and file searches.

Cortana has become increasingly restrictive since Windows 10’s release. It was previously updated to ignore your default web browser. Cortana now always launches the Microsoft Edge browser and only uses Bing when you search. If that sounds like something you wouldn’t want to use, here’s how to turn it off.

Disable Cortana via the Registry

Rather than editing the registry yourself, you can download howtogeek’s Disable Cortana registry hack. Just open the downloaded .zip file, double-click the “Disable Cortana.reg” file, and agree to add the information to your registry. They’ve also included an “Enable Cortana.reg” file if you’d like to undo the change and re-enable Cortana later.

You’ll have to sign out and sign back in–or restart your computer–before the change will take effect.

Stop Cortana From Bouncing on the Taskbar

Cortana doesn’t just sit on your taskbar and wait for you to start talking to it. Cortana will regularly bounce in place, encouraging you to try using it.

If you don’t want Cortana nagging you, 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.

If you don’t want Cortana running at all, you can choose to disable Cortana with a registry or group policy setting. Microsoft removed the old, easy toggle that lets you disable Cortana with the Anniversary Update, but the registry and group policy tricks still work.

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