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In-app adverts have become a bit of a problem for Windows 8 users, particularly for those native Microsoft apps that you’ve already paid for. Is there a way you can remove these ads?

The Windows 8 Store currently offers over 110,000 apps, most of which are free or trial apps. These apps tend to be ad-supported, meaning you’ll get a banner ad across the top or bottom of the app window, a square Modern tile dedicated to a promotional cause, or a pre- or post- app splash screen. With third party apps you get the option of upgrading to remove the ads; this isn’t the case with apps like Bing News.

Ads can be distracting and disruptive, and when found within apps that you’ve already paid for, their presence can become pretty galling. Fortunately, thanks to some clever hacking of the app code, there is a very good chance that you are able to remove the adverts from native Microsoft apps.

How Common Are Adverts On Windows 8 Apps?

If you’re using Modern apps on Windows 8 Use Windows 8 In Style With These Amazing Metro (Modern) Apps Use Windows 8 In Style With These Amazing Metro (Modern) Apps Windows 8 hasn’t quite taken off yet, but this shortcoming certainly isn’t due to a lack of apps. After all, there are several years’ worth of traditional Windows desktop apps to fall back on! As... Read More , chances are that you’ll have seen some adverts. Whether you’re using apps provided natively by Microsoft or third party apps, adverts tend to be common.

muo-w8-metro-adverts-citroen2

In the image above you’ll see some news dated August 26th 2013. You’ll also see an advert for the “New Citroen C4 Picasso”. All very well – except that this advert appears in an app provided by Microsoft. It might be argued that as you’ve already purchased Windows 8, the presence of this advert is something of a liberty.

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Hacking App Code To Remove Ads

It just so happens that buying an app isn’t the only way to remove adverts. We’ll look at the moral ramifications of this in the next section – first, let’s look at the code.

Using a text editor (such as the native Notepad or a third party text editor Notepad Not Doing The Trick? Try Out The Lightweight Alternatives Xint & Subpad Notepad Not Doing The Trick? Try Out The Lightweight Alternatives Xint & Subpad Read More  – my favourite is Notepad++) you can edit the code of the app and prevent it from displaying the adverts.

muo-w8-metro-adverts-hidden

To do this, you must first open Computer, then click View to put a check in the Hidden Items box. Also click Reveal hidden items for all folders and sub-folders if prompted.

muo-w8-metro-adverts-security

Next, browse to Program Files > WindowsApps, a folder that will typically be found on your C: drive. You may find that the folder is restricted, in which case you should open Security > Advanced and Change the folder’s owner from TrustedInstaller to your own login. Click OK to confirm this and then Apply to make the change of ownership and wait as Windows updates the folders.

Above you saw a screenshot of the Bing News app. The ad can easily be removed from this by browsing to the Microsoft.BingNews_[VERSIONNUMBER] folder, opening the MSAdvertising > JS subfolder and renaming bootstrap.html. Now unable to find the code for displaying the advert, the app will no longer display the intrusive images…

muo-w8-metro-adverts-vanished

Two Ways To Remove Ads In Third Party Apps: Purchase The App vs Hacking The Code

Now, there are ways to remove adverts from third party apps. However, explaining how to do this here would be somewhat unfair on the developers who have been forced to build their apps in such a way that switching permissions an searching for a single file will open up an Aladdin’s cave of options for would-be hackers.

The resulting hack would reduce ability of that app to generate income, and we’re not here to condone piracy.

As such if you’re using a third party app that uses ads, your best recourse is to purchase the licence to use the app without any intrusive promotional messages. If you think Windows 8 deserves to have more than the relatively low 110,299 apps in its store then it makes sense to support the platform by paying.

Conclusion: You Paid For Windows 8 – Shouldn’t The Native Apps Be Ad-Free?

Windows 8 is a curious thing Has Windows 8 Failed in the Market, or Only in Your Mind? Has Windows 8 Failed in the Market, or Only in Your Mind? Is Windows 8 a failure? People who dislike Windows 8 generally say it is. But has Windows 8 really failed in the marketplace, or do we just think Windows 8 has failed? One thing's for... Read More . On the one hand it is an attempt by Microsoft to push arguably its most famous brand into a new era of touch-centric computing; on the other, Windows 8 is missing polish and a unified approach 7 Windows 8 Niggles Resolved 7 Windows 8 Niggles Resolved Windows 8 has a number of features that can be annoying to experienced users of the traditional Windows desktop. From adding a Start menu to disabling the bulky ribbon, noisy live tiles, and unnecessary lock... Read More . Other examples of this lack of joined-up-thinking with Windows 8 include the ridiculous Start Menu debacle 8 Features Missing in Windows 8 and How To Get Them Back 8 Features Missing in Windows 8 and How To Get Them Back Microsoft removed a variety of features from Windows 8. Many of them aren't great losses to most people, but they are if you depended on them. Luckily, Windows 8 isn't yet a locked-down mobile operating... Read More , and the ease with which free third party apps can be hacked to remove ads is slightly concerning.

So, come on Microsoft – sort it out! Drop the ads from Bing News and other free apps developed under the Microsoft banner (people have already parted with hard-earned cash for an at-times clunky operating system as it is) and shore up the security so that the app developers can carry on with creating great new apps for Windows 8.

What is your biggest Windows 8 annoyance? Share your complaints in the comments, maybe we know of a solution or Microsoft will listen!

  1. luk
    May 9, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    on my tablet with Win 8.1 the banner for $%$ Appfeds in Youtube application takes 1/3 of a screen. This is outragous!
    How to remove appfeds??

  2. Stonefarm
    January 14, 2014 at 5:07 am

    I'm disgusted with the spam advertising. I have a brand new computer and disgusted with the experience. it has the useless Windows 8. give me XP anytime- at least you could find stuff on your computer.

    As for the advertisements... when you click the 'x' it takes you to that page. Solution? using firefox

    • Christian C
      January 14, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      Sure your browser hasn't been hijacked?

      What are these ads? Where are they found? If they're in Windows 8 apps, then the solution is in the article.

  3. Marc
    December 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    @Rainbow Walker
    "Linux propaganda" you got to be kidding!!! Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora etc.. they all blow Windows away in almost every single aspect. They run faster, they are easier to use(once setup), way way more customization options, virus free regardless what you say(unless you install 3rd party apps), I can go on. Don't listen to Rainbow Walker people!! As the name suggest this person must be high! Linux is better hands down

  4. TechZilla
    December 14, 2013 at 4:10 am

    @Rainbow Walker, @Guy with stuff to say:

    What are talking about? I've been a GNU/Linux admin for a decade, and have never actually saw anything remotely similar to the viral XP years. I've never actually seen an in-the-wild Linux desktop virus, and neither has any of the antivirus security companies.

    There have been worms that had some considerable spread, but they were due to the applications installed....Web applications, Web servers, Email servers... not really Linux itself. But really I'd call that a much higher bar, could you really expect a 100% record for all third-party applications? Applications whose main role is serving anonymous internet clients? Applications which were explicitly installed by administrators? Then often neglected, missing security patches for a few years? Sure you also see the very occasional PHP webshell, uploaded via an extremely outdated WordPress... see the pattern again? None of this on my desktop, none of this was ever on anyone's Linux desktop. Sure the lower market penetration, and blah blah blah, FUD FUD talking point blah.

    Here's the thing though, you're not the average computer 'user' . I'd throw down, dollars to doughnuts, you receive your checks from MS. Which would explain why you know all their recent talking points. If you don't work for MS, or some other loosely connected company, you're viewpoints are actually harming your constituents. By not even acknowledging the stronger points of Linux, you will always fail to realize when it would be the proper technology choice. If you work for the public, I'd be especially interested in knowing which department. Holding such an ideologically pro-corporate view is damaging to our democracy. More importantly it would represent thinking which contributes to our IT budget waste.

    Moral of the story, GNU/Linux isn't for everyone. My Grandma might not be ready for it, and that's perfectly fine. However for a heavy Windows power-user, I'd definitely recommend they try it out. For the server world, which is what I do for a living, if you're not running .net/MSQL/Exchange you should be using GNU/Linux... or at least some form of *nix, but price wise would still be GNU/Linux. This is all without considering any of the GNU ideology, and simply taking a merit based technology approach.

  5. Chris Steele
    December 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I have the same problem as Waldo , even after changing the owner from TrustedInstaller to my username it still says "You need permission from "myusername" to make changes to this file. WELL DUH! I AM "myusername" how can I give permission to myself?

  6. TobiH8
    September 2, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Two other solutions:
    -Block ads via the hosts file
    -switch to Linux Mint Debian Edition (not Ubuntu! because you'll see there Amazon ads)

    • Christian C
      September 3, 2013 at 7:10 am

      Good suggestions, TobiH8, especially the sage response to over-Ubuntu-ing things.

      Honestly, all these Ubuntu users who think they're hardcore *nix geeks...

  7. Waldo
    September 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    What if you can't rename the file? I am the primary user of my computer with admin rights, but when I try to rename the bootstrap file I get an access denied error, and told that I need admin permission. This, despite having followed the steps to gain access to the WindowsApps folder in the first place. Suggestions? I've done my best to sort this out via Google, but nothing has addressed my particular issue.

  8. Steve S
    September 1, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    The easiest way is to get rid of Windows completely and install Linux. No ads, no viruses, complete freedom

    • Guy with stuff to say
      September 2, 2013 at 7:55 am

      No. That would not be the easiest solution. Switching to an entirely different operating system would mean that people must relearn everything, from installing apps to finding apps, to what apps to use.
      Now that may sound exactly like what's happening as people migrate to Windows 8, but Linux is not complete freedom. Users don't want to use apps like OpenOffice, they want real spell checking. They don't want to be in a UX that looks like cheap plastic. They don't want to have to install every single app from the terminal. They want to know what drive they're in. On Ubuntu, they don't want notifications to fade out when you HOVER OVER them. They don't want to search for all their apps on the Dash. They want to be able to explore. They want support for people, real people, not what Shuttleworth keeps referring to as "humans" when we are not all born with the knowledge of what "sudo-apt-get" means, or why all that text appears right before the Ubuntu logo shows up. They want to boot up in 8 seconds, to shut down in 2. They want games that don't use GIF for images, and they want apps probably made by developers who work full-time and are sure that by writing good code and designing usable user interfaces, they will eat--not by people who are doing it for some perceived community which consists almost entirely of themselves.
      And yes, people don't want to defragment, or clean up the registry, but people not in IT or Computer Science will not want to migrate to an OS that puts values Richard Stallman thinks are worth implementing in exchange for significant profit (the thing that buys the things developers eat) or ease of use. But that won't matter because by now you will have replied TLDR and some ambiguous emoticon.

    • Steve
      September 8, 2013 at 12:53 am

      Guy with Stuff to say knows little about what he is saying. Mentioning Open Office shows just how out of touch you are. I can't think of any major distro that still includes it now we have Libre Office.

      Come back when you actually have run a modern Linux OS. Until then, don't
      pay the FBI for the "child porn" they found on your laptop. (not a problem
      in Linux)

      As for Stallman, I don't mind paying for software that does what it's suppose to. Windows is not one of those programs.

    • Rainbow Walker
      December 5, 2013 at 2:03 am

      Linux propaganda. I have pulled thousands of viruses off linux boxes. I have as yet to see a stable linux distro, I've installed them all. I haven't had a virus on widows in years. Linux is for nobs who work like slave 'contributing' to make google rich.

      The 'child porn' comment was stupid and creepy at the same time. If you knew anything about Linux , you'd know that it's the most hacked junk there is. If your doing something illegal you will be caught just just fast [if not faster] on a Linux kiddy box. Windows has great options to block/spoof ip/domain.

      Libre Office is a joke. That's why few people have heard of it. While I like a lot of powerful tools in Office I also hate how they screw up the interface.

      Been a tech for over 25 years, started college at 13 [psychology and comp sci]. My first dig in the Navy was NDAC hacking. I have great respect for Windows. None for Linux.

    • Marc
      December 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      LINUX!!!!!

  9. Steve
    September 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Easiest way is to not install Win 8 and leave Win 7 on your PC :)

    Seriously, I will have to teach this crap to students from next week due to college diving headfirst into moving to it from Win 7.

    Did not even wait till service pack 1 aka Win 8.1 like any sane person would.

    Roll on Win 9 when they might have got things right again.

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