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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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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. 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. Other examples of this lack of joined-up-thinking with Windows 8 include the ridiculous Start Menu debacle, 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!