Windows offers lots of ways to minimize distractions so it's easier to focus on tasks. You can declutter your taskbar and simplify the Start menu, use Focus to manage your notifications, and use the Immersive Reader to minimize visual distractions when reading a web page in Microsoft Edge.

Don't be so animated

Minimize visual distractions by turning off animations, background images, and more.

  1. Select Start  > Settings  > Accessibility  > Visual effects.

  2. To minimize distractions, do one or more of the following:

    • To automatically hide the scrollbars in Windows, turn off the Always show scrollbars switch.

    • To make some window backgrounds more opaque, turn off the Transparency effects switch.

    • If you don't want Windows to show animations, turn off the Animation effects switch.

    • To define how long notifications are shown, expand the Dismiss notifications after this amount of time menu and select the option you want.

Clean up taskbar clutter

Choose which icons appear on the taskbar and reduce the number of items in view.

  1. Select Start  > Settings  > Personalization > Taskbar.

  2. Select Taskbar items and Taskbar corner icons to expand those sections and turn off the switches for the items you don't want to see on the taskbar.

  3. To select which icons can appear in the taskbar corner, select Taskbar corner overflow. Turn on the switches for the icons that you want to see in the taskbar corner. The icons with the switches turned off won't show directly on the taskbar—they'll only appear in the taskbar corner overflow menu.

Simplify the Start menu

You can select what to show in the Start menu—keeping distractions at a minimum and finding what you need quickly.

  1. Select Start  > Settings   > Personalization > Start.

  2. To simplify the Start menu, do one or more of the following:

    • To show or hide recently added apps, toggle the Show recently added apps switch on or off.

    • To show or hide the apps you use the most, toggle the Show most used appsswitch on or off.

    • To show or hide your recently opened items, toggle the Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer switch on or off.

    • To select which folders are shown or hidden in the Start menu next to the power button, select Folders, and turn on the switches for the folders you want to see. Turn the switches off for the folders you want to hide.

Quiet down those notifications

Do not disturb allows you to define which notifications you see and hear and when. The rest of the notifications will go to the notification center where you can see them any time.

You can also modify the notifications settings to choose which apps display notifications.

Choose the notifications you want to see and hear 

  1. Select Start  > Settings  > System > Notifications, then adjust the settings. 

  2. To see and hear fewer notifications, turn on Do not disturb.

  3. If you want to choose notifications from certain apps, select Set priority notifications. Modify these options to get the notifications you want to see when do not disturb is turned on.

    Tip: To quickly switch Do not disturb on, go to the taskbar and select the battery, network, or volume icon to open the notification center, then turn it on or off.

Limit late-night notifications

  1. Select Start  > Settings  > System > Notifications.

  2. In Turn on do not disturb automatically, select During these times to turn it on.

  3. Choose when do not disturb turns on, turns off, and how often it repeats.

  4. You can also choose the types of tasks that will turn on do not disturb automatically.

Choose which apps display notifications

If notifications are distracting when they appear on your screen, adjust which apps display notifications and fine-tune how they appear.

  1. Select Start  > Settings  > System  > Notifications.

  2. In Notifications from apps and other senders, turn off the apps you don't want notifications from and turn on the apps you do want to get notifications from.

  3. To define where the notifications appear for each app, select a specific app, then change the options as desired.

Read with fewer distractions

To read a web page on a simpler and cleaner layout, use the Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge. For more info on the Immersive Reader, go to Use Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge.

  1. To start using the Immersive Reader, open the web page you want to read in Microsoft Edge, and then press the function key + F9. Alternatively, select  The Enter Immersive Reader icon on Microsoft Edge address bar. (Enter Immersive Reader) on the address bar.

    Tip: If you don’t see the   The Enter Immersive Reader icon on Microsoft Edge address bar.  (Enter Immersive Reader) icon on the address bar, select the text you want to read, right-click, and select Open selection in Immersive Reader.

  2. The page opens on a simpler layout. To change how the page is displayed, review the options on the toolbar at the top of the page. Under Text preferences, for example, you can modify the background color using themes or change the font.

  3. To exit the Immersive Reader, select  The Enter Immersive Reader icon on Microsoft Edge address bar. (Exit Immersive Reader) on the address bar or press the function key + F9.

Windows offers lots of ways to minimize distractions so it's easier to focus on tasks. You can declutter your taskbar and simplify the Start menu, use Focus assist to manage your notifications, and use the Immersive Reader to minimize visual distractions when reading a web page in Microsoft Edge.

Don't be so animated

Minimize visual distractions by turning off animations, background images, and more.

  1. Select Start , then select Settings > Ease of Access > Display .

  2. Choose from the different options under Simplify and personalize Windows.

Clean up taskbar clutter

Choose which icons appear on the taskbar and reduce the number of items in view.

  1. Select Start , then select Settings > Personalization > Taskbar .

  2. Under Notification area, choose Select which icons appear on the taskbar.

System icons, like the clock and battery indicator, can also be turned on or off.

  1. Select Start , then select Settings > Personalization .

  2. Under Notification area, choose Turn system icons on or off.

Simplify the Start menu

Many apps use Live Tiles to show updates on what's happening in your world, like new email, your next appointment, or the weekend weather. If these animations are distracting, you can turn them off.

Press and hold (or right-click) a tile, and then select More > Turn Live Tile off.

Quiet down those notifications

Focus assist (also called quiet hours in earlier versions of Windows 10) allows you to avoid distracting notifications when you need to stay focused. It's set by default to activate automatically under certain conditions.

Here's how to turn focus assist on or off:

  1. Select the Action Center  icon on the taskbar.

  2. Select Focus assist to cycle through the available settings: either Priority only, Alarms only, or Off. (If you don't see the Focus assist tile, you may need to select Expand first.)

  3. Focus assist settings can be edited by selecting Start  > Settings  > System > Focus assist. Or you can type Focus assist into the search box  on the taskbar, and then select Focus assist settings from the list of results.

  4. In the Focus assist settings, you can limit late-night notifications using the Automatic rules section. To do that, select During these times and turn on the toggle. Then, select Start time or End time, pick a time, and select the check mark  to save your changes. You can also choose what days you want to apply the rule, and what types of notifications you'd still like to receive during the times you set.

Open focus assist settings

If notifications are distracting when they appear on your screen, adjust which apps display notifications and fine-tune how they appear. To change notification settings, select Start , then select Settings > System > Notifications & actions . You can then choose which types of notifications you want to see.

Read with fewer distractions

For a clean and simple layout, use Reading view in the Microsoft Edge browser address bar to bring whatever you're reading front and center. After you open an article, you'll see a book icon  on the right side of your browser. When you select it, you'll be in reading view.

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