How to Remove Ads in Windows

Remove Windows Ads Featured

For years now, Microsoft has been getting flak for aggressively promoting its products on Windows computers that many find them invasive. From the very moment you log in, you can see Microsoft’s pushy ads on the lock screen. From the Start menu and notifications to the Settings app and File Explorer, these ads are everywhere and can get annoying pretty quickly. Fortunately, you can remove ads in Windows by changing a few simple settings. This tutorial shows how to make your Windows far less intrusive, allowing you to enjoy a smoother experience.

Good to know: did you know you can save Windows Spotlight images to your desktop? Our guide shows you how.

1. Disable Lock Screen Ads

The lock screen is the very first thing you see every day when you boot to the desktop. Microsoft pushes ads for its products on the lock screen, calling them “Fun facts, tips, tricks, and more.” To remove these annoying lock screen ads, follow the steps below:

  1. Press Win + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Select “Personalization” on the left pane.
Navigating to "Personalization" in Windows Settings.
  1. Click “Lock screen” from the options on the right.
Selecting "Lock screen" under "Personalization."
  1. Next to “Personalize your lock screen,” select either “Picture” or “Slideshow.” If this is set to “Windows spotlight,” you won’t be able to access the setting to remove the lock screen ads.
Change "Personalize your lock screen" option from drop-down menu.
  1. Uncheck the box next to “Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen.”
Disabling "Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen" option under "Personalization."
  1. If you’re using Windows 10, you can find this option by navigating to “Settings -> Personalization -> Lock Screen -> Advanced slideshow settings.”

Tip: personalize your Start menu in Windows 11 with these cool tips.

2. Block Start Menu Ads

Microsoft started adding bloatware and app recommendations in the Start menu from Windows 10. Windows 11 suffers from the same problem, where you can see preinstalled applications and suggestions to download other applications from the Microsoft Store.

While you can manually uninstall or unpin from the Start menu the apps you don’t want, the process to disable app recommendations takes a few more steps:

  1. Open “Settings -> Personalization -> Start.”
Clicking on "Start" under "Personalization" under Settings.
  1. Disable the slider next to “Show recommendations for tips, shortcuts, new apps, and more.”
Disabling the "Show recommendations for tips.." option under "Start" in Settings.
  1. On Windows 10, head to “Settings -> Start” and toggle “Show suggestions occasionally in Start” off.

3. Remove Ads Shown in Notifications

The lock screen and Start menu are only the beginning. Microsoft has even introduced ads in your Windows notifications, branding them as “suggestions” and “tips.” To remove these ads disguised as helpful “tips,” follow the steps below:

  1. Press Win + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Select “System” on the left pane.
Clicking on "System" in Settings.
  1. Click “Notifications” from the options on the right.
Opting for "Notifications" under System in Settings.
  1. Under “Additional settings,” you’ll find “Suggest ways to get the most out of Windows and finish setting up this device” and “Get tips and suggestions when using Windows.” Uncheck both of them. Note that the names of these settings differ based on the Windows build.
Unchecking both options under "Additional settings."
  1. Windows 10 users can find these two options under “Settings -> System -> Notifications & actions.”

Tip: did you know that File Explorer now has tabs? Learn how to start using them on your Windows PC for improved productivity.

4. Remove Ads from File Explorer

You can’t escape Microsoft ads – even in File Explorer. While browsing your files or accessing other applications using the app, it can get frustrating to be greeted by ads you didn’t sign up for. If you want to remove these ads, follow the steps below:

  1. Right-click the Start button and select “File Explorer.”
  2. Click the three dots at the top right of the top menu and select “Options.”
Clicking on "Options" under three dot menu in File Explorer.
  1. In the “View” tab, scroll down and uncheck “Show sync provider notifications.”
Disabling "Show sync provider notifications" option via Folder Options window.
  1. Click “Apply,” then “OK.”
  2. If you’re on Windows 10, find this setting by navigating to “File Explorer -> View (tab) -> Options -> Change folder and search options -> View (tab).”

5. Remove Ads in Settings

If you’re seeing ads in the Settings app on your Windows PC, know that this is because of an option in your system settings. It suggests that Microsoft can use this location as yet another location to push unwanted ads. To remove ads in the Settings app, follow the steps below:

  1. Press Win + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Select “Privacy & security” from the left pane.
Clicking on "Privacy & security" option in Settings.
  1. Click on “General” from the options on the right.
Selecting "General" from the "Windows permissions" section.
  1. Turn off the slider next to “Show me suggested content in the Settings app.”
Disabling the "Show me suggested content in the Settings app" toggle in Settings.
  1. On Windows 10, go to “Settings -> Privacy -> General -> Change privacy options” to find this option.

Tip: have the icons gone missing from the Windows taskbar? We show you how to bring them back.

6. Remove Ads Based on Diagnostic Data

Your computer might be set to the default state, where Microsoft uses your diagnostic data to show ads based on your device’s current performance. You can remove these ads, too, by not allowing Microsoft to use your diagnostic data in this manner. Follow the steps below to do so:

  1. Open “Settings -> Privacy & security -> Diagnostic & feedback.”
Clicking on "Diagnostic & feedback" under "Privacy & security" in Settings.
  1. Under “Tailored experiences,” turn off “Let Microsoft use your diagnostic data, excluding info about websites you browse, to enhance your product experiences with personalized tips, ads, and recommendations.”
Disabling the "Let Microsoft use your diagnostic data, excluding info about websites you browse etc" option under "Diagnostic & feedback."
  1. On Windows 10, this setting can be found in “Settings -> Privacy -> Diagnostics & feedback -> Tailored experiences.”

7. Remove Personalized Ads

Microsoft tracks your movement across its Windows apps and any web browser on your PC. Based on this data, it pushes personalized ads based on your various interests. This advertising profile of yours enables Microsoft to send many more targeted ads than those discussed in the sections above.

If you don’t want to receive personalized ads, you can stop Microsoft from using your “Advertising ID” by following the steps below:

  1. Open “Settings -> Privacy & security -> General.”
Disabling "Let apps show me personalized ads by using my advertising ID" option.
  1. Turn off “Let apps show me personalized ads by using my advertising ID.”
  2. On Windows 10, head to “Settings -> Privacy -> General -> Change privacy options” to find this option.
  3. Alternatively, visit Microsoft’s website and toggle “See ads that interest you.” This will stop Microsoft from tracking your online browser activity to push personalized ads to you.

Good to know: ever wondered what sets a Microsoft Account apart from a Local Account? We highlight the differences in this guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are there so many ads on Windows?

From the outset, Windows 11 has been known to show many more ads to users compared to Windows 10. This could be due to Microsoft’s conscious decision to not just advertise to users, but also share user data with third-party vendors and allow them to do the same. This data sharing may have increased in frequency and severity, leading to users seeing a markedly increased number of ads in Windows 11.

Which version of Windows tracks you the least?

Windows 11 collects much more data from users compared to the previous Windows versions. In a comparison between Windows XP and Windows 11, it was found that a new Windows 11 install collects more data than a fresh Windows XP installation. You should be aware that this data collection begins even before users go online. Microsoft tracks a huge amount of user data and shares it with advertising partners.

Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Tanveer Singh.

Tanveer Singh
Tanveer Singh

Tanveer hunts far and wide for PC Hardware, Windows, and Gaming ideas to write about. An MBA in Marketing and the owner of a PC building business, he has written extensively on Technology, Gaming, and Marketing. When not scouring the web, he can be found binging on The Office, running for his life in GTFO, or wrecking karts in Smash Karts.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox