We live in a world full of advertising, and operating systems are no exception. Ads in Windows 10 have become common these days, even as Microsoft has never used this term to describe this content.
But promotional content appears in many areas of the OS, like the Start Menu, the Lock Screen, Action Center and Cortana. To take things one step further, the company even serves ads that are based on your computer behavior. These are known as targeted ads.
Although this feature is not technically bloatware, it is not doing your computer performance any favors. You may even want to disable targeted ads in Windows 10 for privacy reasons.
There are a few ways to go about disabling this type of ads, and we’ll be taking a look at all of them.
- Disable advertising ID in Settings
- Disable advertising ID using Group Policy
- Disable advertising ID during Windows 10 setup
What are Targeted ads?
Microsoft assigns a unique identification number to track your movements in the Microsoft Store and other apps. This advertising ID collects data from your system in order to beam more relevant ads to your system.
This is then used to target you with specific, personalized ads, hence the term. Every use account gets this unique identifier that tracks their activities. This data is sent to Microsoft and used by Bing to fire targeted advertisements at you. Developers and advertisers also integrate this data to show targeted ads in applications.
As Microsoft explains:
“App developers (and the advertising networks they work with) can associate personal data they collect about you with your advertising ID and use that personal data to provide more relevant advertising and other personalized experiences across their apps.”
If you think this sounds familiar to cookies on the Internet that personalize your experience, then you’re not wrong. The only difference is that the tokens generated in Windows 10 are only applied to the apps that you download from the Microsoft Store.
You can disable this behavior to stop getting targeted ads on your apps.
Worth a mention that ads in these applications will not blocked, but the future advertisements that you see in apps will not be personalized. In other words, you will see generic ads that may often be irrelevant to you or your activities.
Still, if you don’t want any of this, the OS offers you a way out.
Disable Targeted Ads in Windows 10 Apps
There are three ways to disable the advertising ID in Windows 10, and turning off these switches will get rid of the targeted ads that you see the applications. You will still see ads in these UWP apps, but they will be generic and only be based on your country or region.
These tricks work flawlessly in Windows 10 October 2018 Update (Version 1809), but can also be applied in Windows 8.1 and Windows RT.
Let’s get stared.
Disable Advertising ID in Settings
The easiest way to delete your advertising identifier on Windows 10 is to turn it off in Settings. This will disable your advertising ID that gathers data to makes your advertisements more interesting based on your activity.
- Open the Settings
- Click on Privacy.
- In the General section, look for the toggle that says Let apps use advertising ID to make ads more interesting to you based on your app usage (turning this off will reset you ID).
- Slide it to turn this feature off.
Once you complete these steps, you will continue to see ads through the experience, but they will not be based on your activities.
If you change your mind, you can easily revert these changes by toggling on the switch. Re-enabling this feature will reset your advertising identifier and it will start recording your activity data from the start once again.
Disable Advertising ID using Group Policy
If you are an administrator and manage computers on your company network, then tinkering with the Group Policy Editor is a neat way to disable advertising ID on all of them. This works on Windows 10 Pro, obviously.
- Press Win + R to open the Run command dialog.
- Type gpedit.msc and click on OK to open the Local Group Policy Editor.
- Browse to the Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\User Profile
- Double-click the Turn off the advertising ID on the right side.
- Click the Enabled option in the window that pops up.
- Click Apply and then OK.
Completing these steps will turn off the advertising ID in your operating system. To roll back, follow the above instructions, but simply select the Not Configured option.
Disable Advertising ID during Windows 10 setup
Alternatively, Microsoft also allows you to configure this option during the last step setting in the Windows 10 setup. This option, obviously, only works when you are setting up the operating system on your computer anew.
- During setup, you will be asked to adjust privacy settings of your new installation.
- You can turn off advertising ID in the Choose privacy settings for your new device page by turning off the toggle.
This will now prevent apps from showing you relevant ads.
Windows 10 is not the only operating system that presents you with personalized adverts based on the sites you visit and apps you use. Android, iOS, and many other platforms have similar advertising features built in.
Luckily, Microsoft offers a fair bit of control in how to switch off the option that disables them, no matter if you are managing one computer or several.