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Do you prefer a clean desk? Does it help you to concentrate? Now even our desktops are online (thanks, Microsoft!), here are my top tips to clean them up.


I am often surprised when I see others sitting in front of computer screens that are filled with ads and popups. How can anyone work in such a cluttered environment with constant clickbait images fighting for your eyeball attention? If you are like me and want to clean your screen read on. Note – if you are an Apple user you probably won’t have this problem, as Apple don’t seem to be as keen as Microsoft to load your screen up with clickbait news items, ads and ‘suggested applications’ which are just ads in another guise.

What we are all victims of here is the Tyranny of the Default. Most of us just want to switch on and start working with minimum hassle. But software always has lots of settings, and Microsoft with its Windows 11 platform and its Edge browser cleverly sets all the default settings to make sure it has the maximum opportunity to distract you. Do nothing to change them and you will be forever distracted!

Clean Up your Windows screen

First take a look at your Windows settings. Thanks to PCMag for this really comprehensive and independent article which takes you through the steps to clean up your screen: https://uk.pcmag.com/migrated-3765-windows-10/150617/how-to-remove-the-most-annoying-ads-from-windows

Your Browser

Having done what you can with your Windows screen, let’s take a look at your browser. Even if you prefer to use your favourite browser like Chrome or Firefox and have changed the Edge browser default selection, Microsoft will still exploit any opportunity for Edge to pop-up together with their Bing search engine, full of ads or clickbait news in its default mode. Personally, I prefer to use Mozilla’s Firefox as Mozilla is not-for-profit, so not driven by the need to collect your browsing data or to push ads at you. Whatever browser you prefer, go into its Settings and search for pop-ups and disable them. Beware though that some websites use pop-ups as part of their normal function, so I always keep another browser (in my case Chrome) on my taskbar which is not normally used and not set to default, so if a website appears to be mis-behaving I can quickly check using Chrome where I have not disabled pop-ups.

With Firefox as my default browser, I was annoyed to find Edge still popping onto my screen. Whatever browser you are using you will probably want to stop this. There is not one fix but several as there are many different trigger points for Edge in Windows, but this is the most comprehensive article I have found and lists the fixes from simple to complex, so whatever your confidence level you will be able to make some progress. Nine separate actions are noted here: https://www.makeuseof.com/windows-microsoft-edge-opens-automatically/.

Block those Ads

Interestingly, the above article asked me nicely to disable my adblocker, which leads me onto my third and final step to that clean screen. I use AdBlock Plus and have done for as long as I can remember, and to be honest I don’t know why everyone doesn’t use one of these free tools. Adblockers are free to use and do what they claim to do, probably the best way to remove all ads from both Windows and your browser. The most common Adblockers are AdBlockPlus https://adblockplus.org/ , AdBlock https://getadblock.com/en/ or UBlockOrigin https://ublockorigin.com/ – I can recommend all of them.

Enjoy your clean screen!

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