How to disable ads on the Windows 10 lock screen

Windows 10 Cortana
Greg Mombert/Digital Trends
Early this year many Windows 10 users were alarmed to go see that ads were popping up on their locks screens where no ads had been before. They were pretty, screensaver-like ads for Windows or Xbox games, but still ads. Unsurprisingly, people immediately called for a way to make them stop. Yes, there is a solution to make those ads on Windows 10 go away, but you’ll have to make a visit to your settings. We’ll explain just what’s going on here, and walk you through the fastest fix.

Spotlight on Windows ads

Windows Spotlight Wallpaper

That lock screen advertisement that you are trying to get rid of is part of an initiative called Windows Spotlight, which is all about customizing your lock screen. When your computer goes to sleep or is temporarily turned off, it enters the lock mode – this is the security setting that requires you to enter your biometrics or passcode to log back onto Windows 10. The lock screen itself is good and keeps people from easily stealing your data, but turning it into an ad billboard after Windows 10 has already been released is annoying to some users.

Now, buying things on the Windows Store is a whole other discussion (Reddit isn’t a fan of getting video games there), but these ads are showing up for everyone, even those who have no intention of ever buying. If you fall in the latter category, it’s time to show you how to switch these ads off and replace them with an alternative.

How to turn the ads off

Changing Windows Lock Screen

There are two important steps to switching off Spotlight ads on Windows 10 , and you need to do them in the right order to complete the process.

Step 1: You need to change what your lock screen shows you. Start by logging into Windows 10 and going to the Start menu. Here, click on the gear-shaped icon for Settings. If you are having trouble finding Settings, you can type “settings” into the Cortana search bar and it should bring up the right tool for you to use.

Windows Spotlight ControlsOnce in settings, look for the monitor screen icon that says Personalization, and select it. This will open a different window with a sidebar that includes several options to change how Windows 10 looks and operates. In the sidebar, choose the option that says Lock Screen. This will show you what your lock screen looks like and gives you several Background choices. Right now your screen is set to Windows Spotlight. Other options include Pictures and Slideshows. Choose another one of these to get the rid of the current ads on Windows 10. Don’t worry if you don’t have any pictures to use for the screen, Windows 10 comes with several preloaded picture options to choose from if necessary.

Personalization ScreenStep 2: You aren’t done yet! You still need to keep Spotlight from turning back on in the future. Now that you have chosen Pictures or Slideshow instead of Spotlight, you will see several thumbnails of different popular pictures that you can use, an option to Browse for more image options, and then a small section below this which says, “Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen.” You can turn this option on or off. Switch it to off so that the bar is white instead of blue! Otherwise, the next time that Microsoft has an ad they want to kick your way, they’ll just turn Spotlight back on again. Turning this off prevents that sort of recurrence.

Turning off suggested apps, too

Stop Menu App Suggestions

Now the next time Microsoft has a video game or app to push your way, you won’t be seeing it. However, since we’re on the subject of stopping Windows 10 ads, let’s talk about another intrusive ad section that you can deal with at the same time: The Start menu ads. Yes, if you’ve spent time in the Start menu you’ll notice Suggested apps, which are basically just promotional content for stuff that you don’t own, but that Microsoft wants you to buy. This can get frustrating, especially if you assume you have an app that’s just an advertisement!

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to get rid of these, too. If you are still in the Personalization screen, just click on Start. The first Start option that offers to “Occasionally show suggestions” is probably turned on. Turn it off – and you’re done! Also note that you can right-click on one of these suggestions at any time and choose to turn them all off, if this option ends up being faster for you.

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