In a perfect world, every new computer with Windows 10 on it—or every new installation of Windows 10—would arrive free of annoying applications and other bloatware that few people need. (Sorry, Candy Crush Saga.) It would also be free of annoying advertising. While that’s not to say that Microsoft is dropping big banners for Coke or something in your OS, it is frustrating to see it shilling for its Edge browser in your Start Menu.
At least, that’s what some people have been noticing now, more than ever. If you’re a Firefox user, for example, you’ve probably seen this little callout in your Windows 10 Start Menu:
— MSPoweruser (@mspoweruser) February 9, 2020
This isn’t a new Microsoft practice. Well, the specific advertisement is, yes, but Microsoft dropping annoying “suggestions” into your Start Menu, as the company calls them, has been a Windows 10 deal for some time. However, it’s not difficult to disable these advertisements permanently.
To disable these silly suggestions, pull up your Windows 10 Settings menu. From there, click on Personalisation, and then click on the Start option in the left-hand sidebar. Look for the following option and disable it: “Show suggestions occasionally in Start”
If you want to go old-school, you could also use an open-source app like Classic Shell to tweak the look and feel of your Start Menu even more (presumably preventing any annoying ads from every appearing, too).
And while you’re in the Settings app, click on Lock screen. If you aren’t already using a picture or a slideshow as the background, select that, and then deselect the option to “Get fun facts, tips, and more from Windows and Cortana on your lock screen.” In other words, you don’t want to get spammed with suggestions or ads.
Finally, head back to the main Settings screen and click on System. From there, click on “Notifications & actions” in the left-hand sidebar. Because Windows can sometimes get a little spammy and/or advertise you Microsoft products via notifications, you’ll want to uncheck “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows” to cut that out of your digital life.
It’s irritating that you have to do this, but turning off Microsoft’s advertising should now be one of the first things you do whenever you’re presented with a fresh version of Windows 10. I’m not sure why Microsoft can’t default these options to off, since people paid for operating system where these “suggestions” appear, but it’s a quick fix—thankfully.