Turn off Microsoft ads

Years ago, I worked for a long-distance phone company. Every month, it sent each of us a copy of the company newsletter, complete with ads for our own company’s long distance service. I found this confusing.

Microsoft must have taken a page from the same book as it sprints toward market domination. I’m using Microsoft Windows 10. Why am I getting ads for Microsoft Windows 10 “features”?

At least we can turn off (most of) the ads.

Wait. Now, there are ads in File Explorer?

One day, I clicked on the little folder icon in my Taskbar to open File Explorer. My intention was to look in my Columns folder for a screen shot I’d saved there. Pretty routine task, but I noticed …. What the heck is this? … an ad for OneDrive right at the top of my File Explorer.

C’mon, Microsoft. Is that really necessary?

Here’s how to suppress those ads.

  • Open File Explorer (Click on the shortcut on the Taskbar – or – Press WinKey + E – or – Search Cortana)
  • Click on the View tab
  • Click on the View tab (yes, again, but this is in another window)
  • Scroll down to Show sync provider notifications
  • Clear the check box
  • OK your way out

That removes the File Explorer ads until Microsoft figures out another way to throw them at us.

What about those ads on my Lock Screen?

We can kill those too.

  • Open Settings (Right-click on Start | Settings – or – Press WinKey + I)
  • Click on Personalization | Lock screen
  • In the Background box, if you have Picture or Slideshow selected, you can turn off the ads by moving the slider under Get fun facts, tips, tricks and more on your lock screen to Off. If you have Windows spotlight selected, you don’t have that choice, and you’re going to get ads.

Are those ads in the Start Menu?

Technically not ads, but still annoying: Those flashing tiles for games from the Microsoft Store. Are you kidding me?

Turn off your Start Menu “purchase opportunities” as follows:

  • Click on Start | Settings | Personalization| Start
  • Slide the switch for Occasionally show suggestions in Start to Off.

What we need from Microsoft is a setting for Turn that off and LEAVE it off. I’ve noticed those Start Menu apps sometimes return after a major upgrade.

Oh, for crying out loud. Ads for Microsoft Edge in my Firefox or Chrome browsers?

It’s annoying enough that Microsoft serves us ads in Microsoft spaces like File Explorer and the Lock Screen on Windows 10. Now, they’re putting ads for the Edge browser in competing browsers.

Sometimes the ads are at the top of a window, sometimes at the bottom. Clicking on No thanks or on the X makes them go away temporarily, but I’ve noticed that they come right back.

If anyone knows how to stop it permanently (without switching to Edge!) please share.

What would you like to turn off in Windows 10? Have you found a way to do it?

Send email to [email protected] and I’ll share in a future column.


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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