How to disable annoying ads on Windows 11

Windows 11 disable ads
Windows 11 disable ads (Image credit: Future)

If you are new to Windows 11 (opens in new tab) or have been using it for a while, you probably noticed that it's full of annoying ads. You can find them in the form of suggestions and tips on the Lock screen, apps you never used before pinned in the Start menu, service promotions in File Explorer, features and content suggestions in the Settings app, and more. 

Microsoft even uses the information from the diagnostic data to show personalized ads and other information across the experience.

If you have had enough of these kinds of advertisements, Windows 11 includes various settings that you can turn off to either disable ads altogether or prevent targeted advertising.

This guide will walk you through the steps to minimize annoying ads across the Windows 11 experience. 

How to remove ads from Lock screen

On Windows 11, the Lock screen can show different kinds of advertisements. While you can't disable ads when using the Windows Spotlight feature, it's possible to select the "Picture" or "Slideshow" option to prevent the system from showing unwanted information on the Lock screen.

To remove ads from the Lock screen while using custom images, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Lock screen page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Under the "Personalize your lock screen" section, if the Picture or Slideshow option is selected, clear the "Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen" option.

(Image credit: Future)

Once you complete the steps, the Lock screen will not show information that may be considered ads when using custom images.

How to remove ads from Start menu

Microsoft places ads in the form of pins in the Start menu. Although they are not installed on the computer, because they don't have any labels, it increases the chances of luring users into installing apps they probably don't need.

The apps would typically be different depending on your region and when the version of Windows was installed. However, some of the ones you will find are Adobe Express, Prime Video, TikTok, Instagram, Spotify, and many others.

To remove app ads from the Start menu, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Right-click the app you don't want and select the Uninstall button.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the Uninstall button again.

You may need to repeat the steps to remove all those app ads from the Start menu.

You can also use these instructions to disable the recommendations at the bottom of the Start menu if you are annoyed by this feature.

How to remove ads from Search

On Windows 11, "Search highlights" is a feature that shows web suggestions in the Search home. However, since these types of content can also be seen as advertisements, as they can lure users into using online services and applications you may not want to use, you can disable the feature from the "Search permissions" settings.

To disable content highlights in the Search home of Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Privacy & security.
  3. Click the Search permissions page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Under the "More settings" section, turn off the "Show search highlights" toggle switch.

(Image credit: Future)

After you complete the steps, the next time you open the Search experience, instead of the online content, you will find two lists, including "Quick searches" with suggestions to find settings and "Top apps" with your top six apps.

How to remove ads from Widgets

The Widgets board can also be considered ads on Windows 11 since Microsoft uses this feature to promote curated online content that also sell advertisements and forces you to use Microsoft Edge and Bing.

Although you can't completely disable the feature, you can remove the contents and the icon from the Taskbar, and here's how:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Taskbar page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Under the "Taskbar items" section, turn off the Widgets toggle switch.

(Image credit: Future)

Once you complete the steps, the Widgets icon will no longer be available in the Taskbar to prevent opening the board by mistake when hovering over it.

Disable Widgets content

You will still be able to access the Widgets board using the "Windows key + W" keyboard shortcut. You can't disable this feature, but you can always sign out to avoid any of the web contents. 

  1. Open Widgets (Windows key + W).
  2. Click the Profile menu in the top-right.
  3. Click the Sign out button.

(Image credit: Future)

After you complete the steps, the board will no longer show any web content, limiting access to advertisements.

If you prefer to use Widgets, you can always configure the feature, so it only shows content tailored to your preferences.

How to remove ads from File Explorer

File Explorer is another place where you may see some ads in the form of promotions to use certain services, such as OneDrive (opens in new tab).

To stop getting ads (such as the OneDrive promotion) in File Explorer, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click the See more (three-dotted) menu button from the command bar.
  3. Click on Options.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the View tab.
  2. Click the "Show sync provider notifications" option.

(Image credit: Future)

Once you complete the steps, you should no longer see advertisements under the address bar of File Explorer.

How to disable device usage settings

"Device usage" is a feature that allows you to define how you plan to use your computer to enable the system to show personalized ads and other information. If you have previously configured this feature, you can turn it off to prevent advertisements based on how you use your computer.

To prevent Windows 11 from showing personalized ads based on your computer usage, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Device usage page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Turn off all the options to stop personalized ads and recommendations from Windows 11.

Device Usage disable ads

(Image credit: Future)

After you complete the steps, you should no longer see tailored ads based on your device usage. 

How to disable notification ads on Windows 11

On Windows 11, the notification system can push toast notifications with tips and tricks to help you discover and use features. If you don't need these random suggestions, you can disable them to prevent distractions.

To prevent features from showing tips and other recommendations, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click the Notifications page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click on Additional settings.
  2. Clear the "Show the Windows welcome experience after updates and when signed in to show what's new and suggested" option.
  3. Clear the "Suggest ways to get the most out of Windows and finish setting up this device" option.
  4. Clear the "Get tips and suggestions when using Windows" option.

(Image credit: Future)

Once you complete the steps, the system won't show notifications with tips and suggestions to use certain features.

How to disable suggested content in the Settings

The Settings app can provide suggestions across the experience in many ways to help you discover features or tips for content and apps. If you are trying to remove annoying ads from Windows 11, you can disable this feature for a cleaner experience.

To stop the Settings app from showing suggestions on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Privacy & security.
  3. Click the General page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Turn off the "Show me suggested content in the Settings app" toggle switch.

(Image credit: Future)

After you complete the steps, the Settings app will no longer show suggestions to the end-user.

How to stop apps showing ads on Windows 11

The apps you install on Windows 11 can use your system's unique identification number to target you with advertisements. If you want to prevent this from happening, it's possible to stop the system from letting apps use your "advertising ID."

To prevent apps from showing targeted ads, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Privacy & security.
  3. Click the General page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Turn off the "Let apps show my personalized ads by using my advertising ID" toggle switch.

(Image credit: Future)

Once you complete the steps, apps you download from the Microsoft store will continue to show ads, but they won't be personalized.

How to disable ads from diagnostic data on Windows 11

Windows 11 collects various pieces of information on every installation to understand how you use your computer to improve security and build new features. However, Microsoft also uses this information to target you with ads, tips, and recommendations. 

To stop Microsoft from using your diagnostic data on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Privacy & security.
  3. Click the Diagnostics & feedback page on the right side.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the Tailored experiences setting.
  2. Turn off the "Let Microsoft use your diagnostic data, excluding info about websites you browse, to enhance your product experiences with personalized tips, ads, and recommendations" toggle switch.

(Image credit: Future)

After you complete the steps, Microsoft will not continue using diagnostic data to tailor ads.

If you follow this guide, the number of ads will be significantly lower. However, you may continue to see some advertisements from Microsoft Store apps and other ad-supported third-party apps.

Also, remember that ads throughout the experience are not the same as those ads when browsing the web. On Windows 11, you won't see ads to purchase insurance, a new car, or medicine. Instead, Microsoft uses its platform shows suggestions to lure you into apps and services from the company itself (OneDrive, Office, etc.) or partners (such as Spotify, Disney, etc.). 

More resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources: