Microsoft uses your usage data to personalize ads; here's how to opt out

Similar to its predecessor, Windows 10 includes many ways to monetize the operating system. One of these methods is advertisements. Microsoft's tracking cookies (which are installed on your computer when you visit Microsoft websites) track your browsing in Microsoft Edge or your browser of choice. Microsoft logs data on searches you perform on your computer, such as searches using Cortana, and usage in certain apps. In short, you're being watched by default.

Microsoft then uses the aggregate data from your activities to customize your online experience and deliver ads that are more tailored to your liking across Microsoft's websites and apps.

It's understandable if you look at this approach and have privacy concerns; not everybody is entirely comfortable with the idea of any corporation, even Microsoft, targeting ads at individuals, especially when pulling from non-browser data sources.

While Microsoft does not offer an option to disable ads entirely in Windows 10 (that, in short, would break the internet), they do provide a number of settings to control how advertisements are delivered to your Windows 10 experience.

Before you can manage ads in Windows 10, you need to understand the different ways you can personalize your ad experience. In Windows 10, tailored ads are delivered in three different ways: personalized ads through the web browser; your Microsoft account whenever you use your account for Windows, a mobile device, Xbox, other devices, and through Windows apps.

Controlling your ad experience

Although, Microsoft has different ways to deliver targeted advertising, almost everything can be managed from a single place: your online Microsoft account.

If you want to stop participating on personalized ads, you can do the following:

  1. To get started, open your web browser and head over to{.nofollow}.

    Note: Make sure you're signed in with your primary Microsoft account. If you're not, click the Sign out link, and sign back in with your main account that you use in Windows 10.
  2. On the Microsoft web page, you can read more information on the company's approach on advertisements. On the right site of the page, you'll find two sections to opt-out from targeted ads. Here, just turn OFF the option to stop getting personalized ads in your browser, and whenever you use your Microsoft account.

Opting out from targeted ads on Windows apps

If you want to stop personalized ads from appearing on apps in your device, you need to follow the steps below on each device.

On Windows 10

  1. Use the Windows + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Privacy, and on General turn Off the Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps.

    Note: Keep in mind this process will reset your advertising ID.

On Windows 10 Mobile

On the mobile version of Windows 10 the process is very similar:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Scroll and tap on Privacy, and then tap on Advertising ID.
  3. To complete the process turn Off the Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps option.

That's all there is to it. Now you should be able to use Windows 10 and navigate the web without getting targeted ads from Microsoft.

What do you think about the Microsoft approach on ads in its operating system? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

More resources

If you want to read more about Windows 10, make sure you check these resources:

Mauro Huculak

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.