Of the many features added by the Microsoft Windows 10 April 2018 Update, Cortana and Timeline suggestions may be the one that annoys the most, especially if you do not use those features on a regular basis. More often than not, Cortana's suggestions are ill-timed or inappropriate for whatever tasks you are trying to complete. Fortunately, we can change that.
After the install of Microsoft Windows 10 April 2018 Update, suggestions are supposed to display links, appointment reminders, and other ideas based upon what Cortana and the Timeline are seeing and recording about your activity. These suggestions appear in the Action Center and in the Timeline, in addition to the other information they normally display.
Cortana and Timeline suggestions can be modified or turned off completely by editing a few configuration settings. This how-to tutorial shows you where to find the settings for suggestions and how to turn them off.
Note: This article is also available as part of a free PDF that features a variety of Windows 10 April 2018 Update tips and techniques.
Turn off Cortana suggestions
I noticed two problems with the suggestions feature of Cortana and Timeline. First, many of the suggested ideas are basically advertisements for other features found in Windows 10. Second, those inappropriate suggestions are often displayed at inappropriate and inconvenient times.
For example, the "suggestion" shown in Figure A has been suggested to me in the Action Center every day on every computer since installing the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. I have no kids with Android phones, and I have no need for Microsoft Launcher, yet it is suggested every day.
To turn off suggestions in Cortana, open Windows Settings (Figure B) by clicking the Start Menu and then clicking the settings icon.
Click the Cortana link, and then click the Cortana Across My Devices item in the left navigation menu (Figure C). Click all the toggle switches on this page to Off.
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Turn off Timeline suggestions
The settings for the Timeline are buried in a different place in the configuration structure. First, open the Windows Settings screen as before (Figure B), only this time you should click the System link and then the Multitasking item in the left navigation menu (Figure D). In the Timeline area, click the toggle switch to Off.
By making these configuration setting changes, you should not see anymore suggestions on either Cortana or the Timeline. Of course, you can always turn suggestions on again by reversing this procedure.
Suggestions and digital assistants
It is important to note that many Windows 10 users find the suggestion features of Cortana and Timeline compelling and convenient. For those users, turning off suggestions completely will cripple Cortana's abilities and render the digital assistant practically useless. So, only use the steps outlined in this tutorial if you are absolutely sure you do not want any suggestions to display at all.
Have you received a poorly timed suggestion from Cortana lately? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.