How Tos Windows

Windows 10 Features You Can Safely Disable

Windows 10 is without a doubt a powerful OS with so many features it would not be a surprise if some of them were getting in your way. Some are downright unnecessary.

The Spring 2017 Creators Update brought a slew of new functionality, features, and settings.  Fortunately, you can tweak your Windows 10 experience and trim the functionality you do not need. Let us sift through the latest update’s features and see which ones tend to be either unnecessary or annoying.

Disable Ads in File Explorer

Microsoft has put ads in places you never thought could host ads. You might have learned to tolerate ads in websites and email. However, ads in your file explorer feel like Jehovah witnesses in your bedroom – awkward, intrusive and weird.

Microsoft has put a lot of effort into sticking them ads in your OS so you would never find a way to disable them. You will have to spare a minute or two if you are determined to get to the bottom of this and disable ads in your file explorer in Windows 10.

Step 1. Press Win key → type File Explorer Options → select View tab.

Step 2. Scroll down, find Show Sync Provider Notifications → uncheck the box.

Step 3. Click Apply.

Disable Windows Spotlight Ads

Windows Spotlight ads are full-screen. They appear on your lock screen and advertise mostly games and other app store content. Although, you might have noticed the range of topics has broadened. Here is how you disable those.

Step 1. Settings → Personalization → Lock Screen.

Step 2. The preview window will open a drop-down menu → uncheck Windows Spotlight.

Step 3. Check Slideshow or Picture.

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Disable Suggested Apps Ads

Suggested Apps are also ads that pop up in the Share dialog or the Start Menu, so you will have to disable them in two separate places respectively.

Disabling Suggest Apps ads in the Start Menu:

Start → Settings → Personalization → Start → scroll down to Occasionally Show Suggestions in Start → turn it off.

Disabling Suggest Apps ads in the Share menu:

Click the Share button → in the share window right-click on any app and uncheck Show App Suggestions.

Disable Blocking of Non-Verified Apps

Microsoft does not want to make it easy for the users to install apps other from its app store, so by default Win 10 will not allow app installation if it is not a “verified app from the store.”

To get rid of the annoying block, do the following.

Step 1. Start → Settings→ Apps → Apps and features.

Step 2. In the settings list, find Installing Apps → open the drop-down menu and select Allow Apps from Anywhere.

Note: you might want to choose another option – Warn Me Before Installing Apps from Outside the Store. Perhaps, it is a better option for not-too-savvy users, security-wise.

Disable Microphone

If you are into security and privacy, embedded webcam and microphone seem to be the logical assets you would want to disable when you first buy a new PC. If you have a plug-in microphone you can use for VoIP calls you should have no need for an internal mic.

Step 1. Press the Win key.

Step 2. Type Device Manager.

Step 3. Expand Audio Inputs and Output → right-click on the microphone → select Disable Device.

Disable Game DVR

For gamers, Windows 10 is a step forward if compared to previous OS versions. The DVR function allows gamers to record their gameplay and then share it with the community, stream it, and so on. However, if you are not that much of a gamer, DVR might be an unnecessary hog that impacts your computer’s FPS rate. And it does so even when you are not playing or using DVR.

To disable Game DVR:

Step 1. Go to Xbox app → Settings → Game DVR.

Step 2. Find the Record Game Clips and Screenshots Using Game DVR → slide to toggle off.

Disable Microsoft Experiments

Live testing new features and user feedback has become the new norm for developers. From the user’s perspective, being a tester has some benefits such as trying the new cool features ahead of everyone else. However, more of then than not, you would not know if or which new features are available for testing.

More so, the said testing might affect your machine’s performance adversely. So, here is how you can disable Microsoft Experiments.

Step 1. Open the Start Menu → type Regedit.

Step 2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\PolicyManager\current\device\System

Step 3. Set 0 (zero) next to Allow Experimentation.

Disable (Hide) the Settings App

This is an unlikely scenario, but some users might want to hide the Settings App further away from the reach of kids. Note: this tweak works for Windows Professional license, as it relies on Group Policy Editor.

Step 1. Press the Win key → type gpedit.msc

Step 2. See the editor for the Local Group Policy load and go to → Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → Control Panel → double-click Settings Page Visibility.

Step 3. See the upper left-hand corner and select Enabled → under the Settings Page Visibility type hide:display → Apply.

If you wish to turn it back on, go to Settings Page Visibility again and select Not Configured.

Disable Notifications from Windows Defender Security Center

The Windows Defender Security Center app lets you monitor your computer’s security events, settings and performance. The app has five section – Virus and Threat Protection, Device Performance and Health, Family Options, Firewall and Network Protection, and App and Browser Control.

If you do not wish to receive these notifications in your system tray, here is how to disable them.

Step 1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del → Task Manager → Start-Up.

Step 2. Disable the Windows Defender Notification Icon.

Final Words

Disabling the bloatware always results in a faster and more streamlined performance. What Windows 10 features have you disabled? Share your suggestions in the comments below; we’d love to learn about your tweaks.