It seems Microsoft completely forgot the fact that Windows 11 is a paid software. They started showing advertisements almost every possible way by concealing in different apps and settings. Windows 11 has ads everywhere whether it’s a Bing AI, File Explorer, Notifications, Edge new tab page, Start menu or Settings app. The MSN recommendations are most annoying part as they do not have anything to do with daily routines. If you are frustrated with ads in your PC, here is how you can completely disable ads, recommendations and suggestions in Windows 11.
Tips, Discover, Recommendations and Suggestions
Since people do not like to see ads on the paid product, Microsoft uses different names to hide ads under the cover. You can see the terms like recommendations, suggestions, discover, tips, feed and so on but all show ads from third-parties. Good thing is that you can turn off most of these stuffs, if not all, using various settings available in Windows 11. Though it will be annoying to do these steps, you do not have any other options unless you can move on to Linux or macOS (for sure macOS is not infected with ads like this at this point).
1. Disable Ads from Start Menu
Do not get confused when you see Amazon Prime Video or Spotify app in Start menu screen which you did not install at all. Microsoft promotes multiple third-party apps in Start menu and simply adds them with clean installation of Windows 11. The tricky thing is that the app will start installing on your PC only when you click on its icon. Sometimes, these fake installed apps are just shortcuts and redirect you to Microsoft Store. The best way to keep your system clean is to simply uninstall them.
- Click the Start icon in taskbar and open Start menu.
- Check the items in the pinned list and find the apps that you did not install.
- Right-click on the app icon and select “Uninstall” option.
- This will delete and remove the app icon from Start menu.
Note: As mentioned, these are fake apps and you will not find them under “Apps > Installed Apps” section in Windows 11 Settings.
2. Remove Ads from Windows 11 Lock Screen
Lock screen is the first place you will start seeing ads when turning on the PC. As mentioned, this is in the form of multiple recommendations which makes it really annoying.
- Right-click anywhere on the desktop and select “Personalize” from the context menu that appears.
- This will open Settings app and take you to “Personalization” section. Scroll down on the right pane a bit and select “Lock screen” option.
- Look for the “Personalize your lock screen” option and check the item selected in the dropdown. If it is set as “Windows Spotlight”, click the dropdown and select “Slideshow” or “Picture” option. Windows Spotlight images are coming from Bing search and shows distractive information with discover and other options.
- Then uncheck the “Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen” option.
Now restart your computer and check, you will see a simple and neat lock screen without any suggestions.
3. Disable Ads from File Explorer
File Explorer is another hidden place that stores ads but you can easily disable them following below steps.
- Press the Windows and E keys together to open File Explorer app.
- Click on the three dots showing in top menu and select “Options”.
- This will open “Folder Options” dialog, go to the “View” tab and scroll down in the “Advanced settings” lit of items.
- Find and uncheck “Show sync provider notifications” option and click on “Apply / OK” buttons to disable unnecessary notifications you may see in File Explorer.
4. Disable Notifications Ads in Windows 11
Windows 11 also comes with a feature to display suggestions, tips, and other updates using notifications. Follow the below steps if you don’t want to see these pop-ups.
- Open Settings app by pressing “Windows + I” keys and go to “System > Notifications” section.
- Scroll down to bottom of the page and click “Additional settings” to expand the section.
- Uncheck all options that appear here to disable them.
5. Remove Suggested Content in Settings App
Settings apps provide content suggestions about several features and apps in Windows 11 operating system. These recommendations and suggestions are all about the user’s guidance which is unnecessary.
- Again, open Settings and go to the “Privacy & security” option in the menu.
- Then select the “General” option under “Windows permissions” heading.
- Turn off the switch against “Show me suggested content in the Settings app” option.
6. Disable Personalized Ads
Windows 11 allows app developers to collect your account details using advertising ID. This ID is assigned at user account level and helps apps to show personalized ads and recommendations based on your account activities. You can simply disable advertising ID for the current user account.
- As explained in the above section, go to “Privacy & security > General” section of Settings app.
- Disable the first option that says, “Let apps shows me personalized ads by using my advertising ID”.
7. Disable Device Usage Recommendations
By default, Microsoft gathers data about how you use Windows 11 and your interests. The details are used to offer recommendations and suggestions based on your usage pattern.
- Open Settings and go to “Personalization” option from the left side menu.
- Scroll down to bottom on the right pane and open “Device usage” option.
- Turn off all the options found on this page to disable tips and recommendations.
8. Remove Ads from Widgets
Widgets is a feature in Windows 11 that provides you interactive and personalized content directly on the desktop. Again, widget section shows full of ads and irrelevant MSN stuffs. Unfortunately, you cannot disable the ads here, instead, you can remove the Widgets icon from taskbar to restrict the access.
- Click anywhere on the desktop and select the “Personalize” option.
- Scroll down and find the Taskbar option and click on it.
- Now turn the toggle next to the “Widgets” option to “Off” position.
Note: This will only remove the Widgets icon from taskbar. However, you can still access the widgets section by pressing “Win + W” shortcut keys.
For removing personalized suggestions from widgets, click your profile icon in the widgets area and click “Your California Privacy Choices” link in the “Widgets settings” pop-up.
This will open Microsoft privacy page in your account and disable “Share my data with third parties for personalized ads” option.
You can also click on the “Manage interests” link in the “Widget settings” pop-up to only add categories that you are interested in the news feed.
9. Recommendations in Windows Search
Search Highlights is a feature in Windows 11 that provides multiple suggestions related to your search query. It also gathers related stories and other trending stuff that you might not want to see. Therefore, it is better to disable these suggestions from the search.
- Open Settings by pressing “Windows + I” keys together and then go to “Privacy & security” section.
- Scroll down and select the “Search permissions” option.
- On the next page, scroll down to bottom and find “More settings” section.
- Under this section, turn off “See content suggestions in the search box and search” option.
10. Disable Diagnostic Data Collection
Microsoft collects your usage data from Windows 11 and uses the information to show personalized ads, tips and recommendations. You can disable this diagnostic data collection following the below steps:
- If you want to prevent Microsoft to use the diagnostic data, go to Settings app and navigate to “Privacy & security > Diagnostics & feedback” section.
- Now click on “Tailored experiences” and turn off the option that says, “Let Microsoft use your diagnostic data, excluding info about websites you browse, to enhance your product experiences with personalized tips, ads, and recommendations”.
Note: You should enable “Send optional diagnostics data” option under “Diagnostics data” section to use Windows Insider Program. Otherwise, you can disable that and all other options on the page.
11. Edge Ads
Edge is another nagging app in Windows 11 which also shows ads in new tab page shortcuts, feed and Bing AI sections. Learn more about customizing new tab page and remove Bing AI in Edge and Windows Search.
Ads, tips, suggestions, and recommendations are annoying if they constantly appear in paid licensed software like Windows 11. This will not only distract you but also reduce your productivity. All the above methods are easy and quick which can help you to disable these unnecessary ads in Windows 11 with a little effort.