10 More Windows 10 Features You Can Turn Off

Dan Price 11-05-2017

A couple of weeks before Microsoft released the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in July 2016, we looked at some of the operating system’s features you could safely disable 9 Windows 10 Features You Can Safely Disable Windows 10 is packed with features, but a lot of them are unnecessary. Here's how to safely prune unwanted features off your Windows 10 system for a more streamlined experience. Read More .


With the release of the Creators Update in Spring 2017, it’s time to revisit the topic. Microsoft has introduced a raft of new features, settings, and apps, and sifting through them all is one of the first things you should do Do This After Installing the Windows 10 Creators Update The Windows 10 Creators Update will soon roll out to a computer near you. Once you've upgraded, go through these settings to configure new options and restore your privacy preferences. Read More when the update lands on your machine.

Whether you want to turn off the annoying Windows App Store security alerts, prevent ads from popping up across your system, or just improve your computer’s speed, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out more.

1. Microsoft Experiments

An increasing number of tech companies want to do live testing on your system while you’re using it. Microsoft is one of them.

Of course, sometimes the live tests bring benefits; you get early access to cool features that later become part of the wider public release. Other times, you might not even know they’re taking place, and they might even have a detrimental effect on your system’s performance. Luckily, the experiments are easy to disable How to Disable Microsoft's Settings Experiments in Windows 10 Microsoft's newest stunt with Windows 10 is experimenting with your device's settings. Here's how you can stop them from doing this. Read More .

You can either use ShutUp10, a third-party app with a convenient setting called Disable Conducting Experiments With This Machine By Microsoft.


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Alternatively, you can edit the Windows registry yourself. Open the Start Menu and type Regedit. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\PolicyManager\current\device\System and set the Allow Experimentation key to 0 to turn off all experiments.

2. Hide the Settings App

Why would you want to hide the Settings app? Well, if a lot of people use your computer – especially kids – it can be an excellent way to make sure they don’t mess anything up and cause your machine to malfunction.

The instructions look complicated, but it’s actually quite straightforward. To begin, press the Windows key and type gpedit.msc. Once the Local Group Policy editor loads, head to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Settings Page Visibility and double click.


10 More Windows 10 Features You Can Turn Off group policy settings app 670x467

On the next window, select Enabled in the top left-hand corner and type hide:display below Settings Page Visibility. Lastly, click Apply.

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To turn it on again, head back to the Settings Page Visibility window and choose Not Configured.


Note: Because this tweak relies on the Group Policy editor, you can only do it if you’re running Windows Professional. Alternatively, you can manually install the Group Policy editor How to Access the Group Policy Editor, Even in Windows Home & Settings to Try Group Policy is a power tool that lets you access advanced system settings. We'll show you how to access it or set it up in Windows Home and 5+ powerful Group Policies to boot. Read More .

3. Windows Defender Security Center Notifications

As part of the Creators Update, Microsoft announced a new feature called Windows Defender Security Center.

The app aims to simplify the processes for monitoring your device’s health, performance, and security. There are five sub-sections: Virus and Threat Protection, Device Performance and Health, Firewall and Network Protection, App and Browser Control, and Family Options.

As part of the app, you’ll see a notification icon in your system tray. For people who are familiar with safety and security, it’s annoying. It’s always pestering you to take action on seemingly trivial issues.


To turn it off, press CTRL + ALT + Delete and go to Task Manager > Start-Up. Lastly, set the Windows Defender Notification Icon to Disabled.

10 More Windows 10 Features You Can Turn Off turn off win notification centre 554x500

4. Allow Non-Verified Apps

Have you ever been unable to install an app because it isn’t a “verified app from the Store”? If you’ve ever seen the screen below, you’ll know what I mean.

10 More Windows 10 Features You Can Turn Off windows verified apps

Again, it’s easy to prevent this screen from intruding on your workflow. Go to Start > Settings > Apps > Apps and Features. The first option in the list of settings is Installing Apps. In the drop-down menu, choose Allow Apps From Anywhere.

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Warning: Disabling this feature potentially opens you up to malicious content. If you’re not confident in your ability to spot a fake app from a legitimate app, it’s probably best to choose Warn Me Before Installing Apps from Outside the Store instead of Allow Apps From Anywhere.

5. File Explorer Ads

As you use the Creators Update, you will come across several places where Microsoft has injected ads 5 Places to Find & Disable Ads in Windows 10 You shouldn't have to put up with advertising in your operating system. Windows 10 features a few ads and promotions. We'll show you where to find and how to get rid of them. Read More . Some of them have been around for a while, some of them are a new part of the operating system.

I’m going to run through three of the most visible, and explain how to turn them off. First up, File Explorer ads How to Disable Ads in Windows 10 File Explorer Windows 10 has crammed more ads into the OS than any version before it. Recently, you might have started seeing ads in your File Explorer. Here's how to disable them. Read More .

The ads are arguably the Creators Update “feature” that’s received the most criticism from the Windows community. Microsoft clearly doesn’t want you to be able to remove them easily; you’ll need to dig deep into some file settings to turn them off.

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Press the Windows key, type File Explorer Options, and select the View tab. Now scroll down to Show Sync Provider Notifications and make sure you’ve unmarked the checkbox. Click on Apply when you’ve finished.

10 More Windows 10 Features You Can Turn Off file explorer ads turn off

6. Windows Spotlight Ads

Next, Windows Spotlight ads. They’re the full-screen adverts you see on the lock screen.

They’re not a new feature in the Creators Update. Typically, they’ve advertised games and other Windows Store content, though some users are reporting their scope has broadened in the latest version of the operating system.

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To get rid of them, fire up the Settings app and follow Personalization > Lock Screen. In the drop-down menu below the preview window, make sure Windows Spotlight is not selected. Choose either Picture or Slideshow instead.

7. Suggested Apps

The final type of ad you should disable are the “Suggested Apps”. You will see them pop up in both the Start Menu and on the Share dialog. The Share dialog ads are new to the Creators Update.

Unfortunately, the settings to disable the two versions of the ads are in two separate places. As I said, Microsoft really doesn’t want you to turn these off!

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To get rid of the Start Menu suggestions, go to Start > Settings > Personalization > Start and scroll down. Find the setting called Occasionally Show Suggestions in Start and slide the toggle to the Off position.

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To remove suggestions from the Share menu, you need to click the Share button anywhere within the operating system. When you’re looking at the Share window, right-click on one of the existing apps and untick Show App Suggestions. At the time of writing, there is no way to disable the apps from within the Settings app.

8. HomeGroup

I’ve previously explained why turning off HomeGroup How to Disable and Remove HomeGroup for Windows Disabling the HomeGroup not only improves the performance of Windows, it can also dramatically increase your network connection speed. We'll show you how it's done. Read More is a good idea. It can speed up your system and your network, and remove unnecessary clutter from your menus and context menus.

The step-by-step instructions are beyond the scope of this piece, but if you want to disable to feature, check out the full-length guide (see link above) explaining the process.

9. Turn Off Your Internal Microphone

Microphones and webcams are a security weak point Your Computer’s Microphone is a Privacy Concern – Here’s Why What if your privacy was being invaded without your knowledge? There are many reasons why you should disable or cover your webcam, but what risk does your computer's built-in microphone pose? Read More – I’ve covered some of their vulnerabilities in an article elsewhere on the site.

If you want to take steps to protect yourself, you can turn off your internal microphone How to Mute or Turn Off the Microphone in Windows 10 The microphone in Windows can be a security concern. Manage your privacy by muting the microphone or disabling it when not in use. Read More . As long as you’ve got an external device you can use when you use Skype or get called into a video conference, it shouldn’t affect your day-to-day productivity.

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To turn it off, press the Windows key and type Device Manager. Expand the options below Audio Inputs and Output, then right-click on your microphone and select Disable Device.

10. Game DVR

Windows 10 is a massive upgrade on Windows 8 from a gamer’s perspective Windows 10 Is for Gamers: 6 Features You Will Love You will want to use Windows 10 for gaming! Whether it's streaming your Xbox One games to your PC, using the Xbox app, or enjoying high performance gaming with DirectX 12, Windows 10 enhances your... Read More . One of the best features it’s introduced is a DVR function. It lets you record your gameplay so you can share your accomplishments with other users.

But there’s a problem – the DVR can significantly impact your FPS rate, even if you’re not using it.

You can turn it off in the Xbox app. Open the app and go to Settings > Game DVR. Slide the toggle under Record Game Clips and Screenshots Using Game DVR to Off.

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If you want a more permanent solution, you can also disable the DVR using a registry tweak Fix Low Game FPS in Windows 10 by Disabling This Feature There's a new feature in Windows 10 that could be having a significant impact on your gaming performance. Here's how to disable it. Read More .

What Settings and Features Have You Disabled?

I’ve shown you 10 features and settings you can disable on the Windows 10 Creators Update. When combined, they’ll lead to a faster and more enjoyable user experience.

I’d love to know what you would add to this list. Which settings do you disable as a matter of course?

You can leave all your tips and suggestions in the comments below. And if you’ve found this article helpful, please share it with your friends.

Image Credits: Marcus_Hofmann/Shutterstock

Related topics: File Explorer, Windows 10, Windows Customization, Windows Defender.

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  1. Omid
    July 25, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    1st one: You wrote "Allow Experimentation" but in the snapshot photo it is "AllowExperimentation" without space!
    Payattention to details it will break the whole thing!
    Which one's right?

  2. Joe
    March 11, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Disable text scaling for Excel. It's on by default for many programs. It's not only an inconsistent nuisance for Excel (*sometimes* it enlarges text without you adjusting Zoom) but it sometimes crashes Excel if you have 2 spreadsheets open (I found it crashing Excel when previewing data to paste). You have to turn it off for each affected program. Locate the shortcut or exe. I found the necessary MS Office 2016 objects state ICON. Right-click it, select Properties. Compatibility tab. De-select "Disable display scaling on high DPI settings".

  3. Maggi Shaw
    March 11, 2018 at 7:14 am

    -Could only get this far

    Could not find below items
    and set the Allow Experimentation key to 0 to turn off all experiments.

    Where do I look for it (not tech minded so need very simple instructions)

    • thout
      March 11, 2018 at 10:18 pm

      just use program O&O ShutUp10

      • lg
        July 10, 2018 at 2:11 pm

        that's not the point. The point is why isn't the key there

  4. MoeHoward
    December 23, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I just saw an article that finally Homegroup is going to be removed by M$, the Insider preview has it gone gone gone.
    About time. That BS has caused me nothing but headaches.

  5. Mattias Magnusson
    November 19, 2017 at 12:28 am

    Internet explorer, totalt useless, i found some older programs and games linking to ie, so had to remove it to use a newer browser like firefox quantum

  6. Dave
    July 31, 2017 at 10:01 am

    You demonstrated yourself that Start Menu Folders does not work.
    So how do you claim that this is a new feature?

  7. Steve
    June 27, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    These are all great, but If I need to make the changes on multiple systems, a Powershell command would be very helpful.

  8. Alvaro Frederico Ramos Pompeia
    May 23, 2017 at 12:10 am

    Windows 10 sometimes gives a message saying that the program has stopped working and will be changed by default. For example: Exchange VLC Media Player by Movies and TV, notepad ++ by notepad and others. How to disable this?

  9. Mabel Amber
    May 21, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    I immediately dove into the registry and disabled the "experimentation" thingy - wow.


  10. Bill
    May 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I think it's funny that people keep saying how great Windows 10 is while simultaneously coming up with all the ways to turn off all the intrusive junk. And once all that junk is turned off, you essentially end up with Windows 7.

  11. Declan Ferrick
    May 12, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    I use VMs and the creators update has destroyed the WiFi drivers in my host. Really annoying. Trying to fix it now. Appears to be a known issue.

  12. bknight721
    May 12, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    All of the above except 1 and 2 along with Cortana.

  13. vferg
    May 11, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Some of these were interesting. Especially the first one. I never knew they allowed this and there is absolutely no way of turning this off from a settings menu. I hated applications that would pull this, seeing Microsoft pull it is even worse... The other 2 I liked was turning off file explorer ads and the Game DVR shut off. Thanks for those suggestions. I will be making these changes shortly.