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Windows 10 has privacy and security advocates up in arms Everything You Need to Know About Windows 10's Privacy Issues Everything You Need to Know About Windows 10's Privacy Issues While Windows 10 has some issues that users need to be aware of, many claims have been blown out of proportion. Here's our guide to everything you need to know about Windows 10's privacy issues. Read More . A lot of the criticism is exaggerated. When it comes to ads or NSFW (not safe for work) content on the desktop, however, Windows 10 may be crossing a line.

Microsoft and third-party developers can use several avenues to push promotional material directly onto your desktop This Is How Microsoft Can Monetize Windows 10 This Is How Microsoft Can Monetize Windows 10 Nothing in life is free, not even Windows 10. Many millions of users will indeed have a free Windows 10 upgrade. But how are we going to pay for Windows 10 in the long run? Read More . But you are not defenseless. We show you how you can turn off bothersome prompts, remove obvious advertising, and hide irritating images.

Start Menu

The Windows 10 Start Menu 6 Ways to Hack & Customize the Windows 10 Start Menu 6 Ways to Hack & Customize the Windows 10 Start Menu The Windows 10 Start Menu combines classic elements with modern tiles. Tiles can add a lot of creative freedom. We'll give you tips and reveal tricks for customizing the entire Start Menu to your preferences. Read More offers multiple points of entry for annoying ads or content that is NSFW. Fortunately, all of it can be preemptively removed or turned off.

Live Tiles

When you’re using Live Tiles for certain apps, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. You could be exposed to anything from violent or creepy images from a news app to nude shots shared on Twitter to a naughty picture gallery created from your very own image collection.

Start Menu Creepy Live Tile

You can either remove the offending apps from your Start Menu A Guide to the Windows 10 Start Menu A Guide to the Windows 10 Start Menu Windows 10 fixes the Start Menu dilemma! Getting to grips with the new Start Menu will supercharge your Windows 10 experience. With this handy guide, you'll be an expert in no time. Read More or turn the Live Tile feature off. Right-click the respective tile and select Unpin from Start or More > Turn live tile off.

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Start Menu Turn Live Tiles Off

Suggested Apps

On the left-hand side of the Start Menu, below Most used and Recently added, you may — possibly limited to the latest Insider Preview Build Be the First to Test New Windows 10 Builds as Windows Insider Be the First to Test New Windows 10 Builds as Windows Insider Windows Insiders are the first to test new Windows 10 builds. They are also the first to suffer from bugs. Here we show you how to join or leave the program and how to share... Read More — spot a Suggested category with recommended apps from the Windows Store How To Turn Off Automatic App Updates In Windows 10 How To Turn Off Automatic App Updates In Windows 10 Deactivating system updates isn't advised. But if need be, here's how you do it on Windows 10. Read More .

When you see a suggested app, right-click it and either select Don’t show this suggestion or Turn off all suggestions. You can also head to the Settings app How to Control Windows 10: The Settings Guide How to Control Windows 10: The Settings Guide The Windows control panel is on its way out. Its replacement, the Settings app, has received a significant upgrade in Windows 10. We'll reveal all its secrets for you. Read More (press Windows key + I) > Personalization > Start and turn Off the option to Occasionally show suggestions in Start.

Settings Start Suggested Apps

All Apps

When you expand all your installed applications within the Start Menu by clicking the All apps option, you may notice some strange items, like Get Skype or Get Office. These are promotional apps that come pre-installed with Windows 10 and remind you to install certain apps or upgrade ones you are already using.

Start Menu All Apps Get Office

Annoyingly, these apps won’t go away if you have already installed or upgraded to the next version of the corresponding app.

Get Office App

To manually remove them, right-click the respective app, select Uninstall, then click Uninstall again when you’re being informed that This app and its related info will be uninstalled.

Start Menu Uninstall Get Office App

Action Center Notifications

The Windows Action Center sits in the bottom right of your Taskbar, in the the Notification or System Tray area. It expands when you click the speech bubble icon or when you press Windows key + A. It’s meant to collect any system messages you may have missed the first time they popped up, such as a new app being installed or a program requiring an update.

Unfortunately, Microsoft has decided to also plant promotional notifications, such as a reminder to ugprade to Office, in the Action Center. If this bothers you, you have two options: You can either uninstall the offending app via the Start Menu > All apps as described above OR go to Settings (Windows key + I) > System > Notifications & actions and under Show notifications from these apps set the respective app to Off.

Action Center Turn Notifications Off

Windows Store

The Windows Store is a sales platform and thus it’s neither surprising nor unethical that it’s plastered with recommendations for paid apps. A year after its release as a preview version and roughly two months after its final release, Windows 10 accounts for more than half the Windows Store downloads. Microsoft earns 30% of every sale made on its store. The total numbers — Windows 10 has been installed on 110 million devices so far — still pale in comparison to Apple (1 billion) and Android (around 1.5 billion) devices and usage of the App Store and Google Play.

Apps

What we do find annoying, however, are ads inside Microsoft’s own apps, such as Solitaire. The classic Windows apps were upgraded for Windows 7 Replace The Terrible Windows 7 Games With The Classic XP Ones Replace The Terrible Windows 7 Games With The Classic XP Ones Ditch the shiny and slow. Get old-fashioned but familiar Windows XP games working on your Windows 7 computer. They're ugly, but they work the way you're wired. Solitaire, Minesweeper, Hearts and Spider Solitaire remain a... Read More and replaced with mobile apps in Windows 8 Minesweeper: Restoring The Classic Windows Games In Windows 8 Minesweeper: Restoring The Classic Windows Games In Windows 8 Bring the default games in Windows 8 back to the desktop. If Metro-style, full screen apps aren't what you want when you play Solitaire, Minesweeper or Free Cell, you're probably disappointed with Windows 8 –... Read More . In celebration of Solitaire’s 25 year anniversary Celebrating 25 Years of Microsoft Solitaire: The History, Rules & a Tournament Celebrating 25 Years of Microsoft Solitaire: The History, Rules & a Tournament Solitaire - the preserve of procrastinating office workers and bored housewives - is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and Microsoft is commemorating it with a group tournament. We re-visit the history and rules of the game. Read More ,Windows 10 comes pre-installed with the Microsoft Solitaire Collection (MSC). Per default, MSC comes with in-app ads.

Microsoft Solitaire Collection

By upgrading to the premium version for $1.49 per month or $10 per year, you can remove advertisements and unlock additional features.

Microsoft Solitaire Collection Premium

This issue is not unique to Windows 10. Ads were previously found in native Windows 8 apps How To Remove Ads From Native Windows 8 Apps How To Remove Ads From Native Windows 8 Apps 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. With third party apps you get the option of upgrading to... Read More and they could be removed.

Cortana

While Cortana does include Bing searches Can Bing Surpass Google Search Through Windows 10 Integration? Can Bing Surpass Google Search Through Windows 10 Integration? Google eats Bing for breakfast. But Bing and Microsoft are a Phoenix in full-rebirth mode. As Google faces antitrust allegations and Cortana meets the Windows 10 Taskbar, Microsoft may soon turn the tables. Read More and often opens the search engine in your browser to display results, which may expose you to Bing advertisements, Microsoft promises that…

Cortana doesn’t use the information in the Cortana Notebook to send targeted ads. Ads may accompany search results that Cortana delivers—just as they do when you do a search on Bing.com.

If you still don’t trust Microsoft’s personal digital assistant, you can play it safe and disable Cortana How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 Cortana is Microsoft's greatest productivity tool since Office. We'll show you how to get started with Windows 10's digital assistant or how to turn Cortana off for improved privacy. Read More .

Personalized Ads

Microsoft was recently suspected to have extended its Windows 10 style diagnostics and telemetry tracking to Windows 7 and 8 Is Microsoft Gathering Data From You in Windows 7 and 8? Is Microsoft Gathering Data From You in Windows 7 and 8? You haven't upgraded to Windows 10 because you're worried about privacy? Microsoft has released a series of updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 that introduce similar diagnostics tracking. The good news is, you can remove... Read More . The truth is that these tactics are not new and have been around for many years. And until this day users can — at least in theory — opt out of the tracking and personalized ads Windows 10 Is Watching: Should You Be Worried? Windows 10 Is Watching: Should You Be Worried? Since its release, Windows 10 has been dogged by rumors concerning user privacy. Some of these are accurate, whereas others are myths. But where does Windows 10 stand on privacy, really? Read More .

Open the Settings app (Windows key + I) and head to Privacy > General. Here you can turn Off the option to Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps. This won’t remove the ads, but your personal ID will not be associated with the tracked data for personalized ads.

Windows 10 Privacy Personalized Ads

Still Seeing Ads?

If you are seeing weird ads not described above, for example malware redirecting your web searches How Do I Stop Malware From Redirecting My Web Searches? How Do I Stop Malware From Redirecting My Web Searches? The Windows Hosts file is used to map hostnames to IP addresses. But it's often the case that it's modified by malware, often with unfortunate consequences for the end user. Here's how you can regain... Read More , you may well have acquired malware The Complete Malware Removal Guide The Complete Malware Removal Guide This malware removal guide outlines not only how to remove malware from your computer but also how to clean up the mess that viruses and malware leave behind. Read More . In that case, you’ll have to go through a whole different process of cleaning up your computer 10 Steps To Take When You Discover Malware On Your Computer 10 Steps To Take When You Discover Malware On Your Computer We would like to think that the Internet is a safe place to spend our time (cough), but we all know there are risks around every corner. Email, social media, malicious websites that have worked... Read More . Even if you’re not affected, you should consider this security software for Windows 10 What Security Software Should You Be Using in Windows 10? What Security Software Should You Be Using in Windows 10? Despite being bundled with its own security tool, Windows 10 needs additional software to keep your data secure and make your online experiences safe. But which security software should you choose for WIndows 10? Read More or at least enable the default Windows Defender malware protection How to Use Windows Defender Malware Protection on Windows 10 How to Use Windows Defender Malware Protection on Windows 10 Like any Windows operating system, Windows 10 is open to abuse and vulnerable to online threats. Security software is mandatory. Windows Defender is a good place to start and we guide you through the setup. Read More .

Have you noticed any other non-malware ads on Windows 10 or have you noticed Microsoft advertising in previous versions of Windows? Is this really an issue or are you OK with the practice? Share your thoughts in the comments!

  1. No
    July 15, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    No, it's a problem. I decided to solve all my Windows 10 privacy issues all at once. I bought a 27 inch iMac. Problem solved.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 15, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      Expensive solution. Hope it's worth it.

    • Yes
      July 24, 2016 at 8:46 am

      You could've just replaced Windows 10 with a Linux distro for free.

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