How to Get Rid of “Suggested Apps” in Windows 10

By Walter Glenn on June 22nd, 2016

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In the Windows 10 Fall 2015 update, Microsoft introduced what they call the “Microsoft Consumer Experience”, which includes some rather annoying “suggestions” in the Start menu–both on the left side, under your apps, and on the right side as live tiles.

Those aren’t the only things the consumer experience includes–you also might see ads on your lock screen, as well as toast notifications about your Microsoft account. If you want to turn these things off, you have a few options.

Turn Off Some Suggestions with Windows’ Built-In Setting

When Microsoft introduced this feature, they actually added a Personalizataion setting to turn some of it off. Just open Windows 10’s Settings app, head to Personalization, and click the Start tab. From there, just switch off “Occasionally Show Suggestions in Start”.

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The only problem, though, is that this doesn’t turn off all suggestions–only the ones in the left side of the Start menu. You’ll still get suggestions as Live Tiles, plus occasional notifications from Microsoft. To turn off all suggestions, you’ll need to disable the entire “Microsoft Consumer Experience”, which you can only do from the Registry Editor or Group Policy Editor. If you aren’t comfortable doing so, this setting will help a little. But if you’re willing to dig in, here’s how to get rid of those suggestions completely.

Home Users: Disable the Microsoft Consumer Experience by Editing the Registry

If you have a Windows Home edition, you will have to edit the Windows Registry to make these changes. You can also do it this way if you have Windows Pro or Enterprise, but feel more comfortable working in the Registry than Group Policy Editor. (If you have Pro or Enterprise, though, we recommend using the easier Group Policy Editor, as described in the next section.)

Standard warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you’ve never worked with it before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

To get started, open the Registry Editor by hitting Start and typing “regedit.” Press Enter to open Registry Editor and give it permission to make changes to your PC.

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In the Registry Editor, use the left sidebar to navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\

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Next, you’re going to create a new key inside the Windows key. Right-click the Windows icon and choose New > Key. Name the new key CloudContent.

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Now, you need to create a new value inside that new key. Right-click the CloudContent key and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the new value DisableWindowsConsumerFeatures.

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Double-click the new DisableWindowsConsumerFeatures value to open its properties window. Change the value from 0 to 1 in the “Value data” box and then click OK.

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You can now close Registry Editor and restart your computer (or sign out of your account and sign back on). Note that existing suggestions on your Start menu won’t usually be removed automatically, though you can right-click them and remove them yourself. However, new suggestions and live tiles should no longer appear.

To reverse the change, just follow the same steps and set the DisableWindowsConsumerFeatures value back to 0.

Download Our One-Click Registry Hack

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If you don’t feel like diving into the Registry yourself, we’ve created two downloadable registry hacks you can use. One hack disables the Microsoft Consumer Experience and the other enables it, restoring the default setting. Both are included in the following ZIP file. Double-click the one you want to use, click through the prompts, and then restart your computer.

Disable Consumer Experience Hacks

These hacks are really just the CloudContent key, stripped down to the two values we described above, and then exported to a .REG file. Running the “Disable Microsoft Consumer Experience” hack creates the CloudContent key and the DisableWindowsConsumerFeatures value and also sets that value to 1. Running the “Enable Microsoft Consumer Experience (Default)” hack sets the value back to 0.  And if you enjoy fiddling with the Registry, it’s worth taking the time to learn how to make your own Registry hacks.

Pro and Enterprise Users: Disable the Microsoft Consumer Experience with the Local Group Policy Editor

If you’re using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, the easiest way to disable the Microsoft Consumer Experience is by using the Local Group Policy Editor. It’s a pretty powerful tool, so if you’ve never used it before, it’s worth taking some time to learn what it can do. Also, if you’re on a company network, do everyone a favor and check with your admin first. If your work computer is part of a domain, it’s also likely that it’s part of a domain group policy that will supersede the local group policy, anyway.

In Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, hit Start, type gpedit.msc, and press Enter.

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In the Local Group Policy Editor, in the left-hand pane, drill down to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Cloud Content. On the right, find the “Turn off Microsoft consumer experiences” item and double-click it.

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In the properties window that opens, select the Enabled option and then click OK.

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Exit the Local Group Policy Editor and restart your computer (or sign out and back in) to allow the changes to finish. If at any time you want to enable the Microsoft consumer experience again, just follow the same procedure and set that option back to Disabled or Not Configured.

And that’s it. Yes, to really clean the suggestions and added tiles from your Start menu, you have to do a little work in the Windows Registry or Group Policy Editor. But at least the option is there and the changes are pretty simple to make.

Walter Glenn is a long time computer geek and tech writer. Though he's mostly a Windows and gadget guy, he has a fondness for anything tech. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Published 06/22/16
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