Disable Windows News and Interests from Microsoft Endpoint Manager

In April 2021, Microsoft announced a new feature which would be integrated into Windows (back-ported to version 1909) – News and Features. If you’re reading this then I’m going to assume you already know all about it. Just in case though, here’s the official post – https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2021/04/22/personalized-content-at-a-glance-introducing-news-and-interests-on-the-windows-10-taskbar/

Having read and listened to initial feedback on this, I can see that enterprises in particular will want to control the setting. To be clear, the default state for this feature is enabled.

“We’re taking a measured approach starting with the April 2021 Cumulative Update Preview for Windows 10, and broad availability will occur in phases. Devices running Windows 10, version 1909 (and later) who have installed the May 2021 Windows monthly update (or later) will be included in this phased rollout.” – https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/stay-up-to-date-with-news-and-interests-a39baa08-7488-4169-9ed8-577238f46f8f

To control this from Microsoft Intune we currently have 2 options:

  • Settings picker from Settings Catalog (recommended)
  • Custom OMA-URI setting

Option1: Settings Catalog (recommended)

Using the Settings Catalog (in preview at the time of writing this), we can simply search for the policy in the setting picker and control whether you want it on or off. If you don’t configure it at all, the default is on and the user can control it themselves.

To do this, go to Devices > Configuration profiles > Create profile.

Now choose Platform as Windows 10 and Profile type as Settings catalog.

Give the profile some kind of name then hit Next to move to the configuration settings.

Just doing a simple search for news will find the News and interests setting that you can select and add to your profile then configure it.

Then you can go and assign it out to a device based group.

Option 2: Custom OMA-URI Setting

If you prefer to go the custom route, then you can create a custom configuration profile and assign that to your devices. The Windows CSP reference for this setting can be found here – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/client-management/mdm/policy-csp-experience#experience-allownewsandinterestsonthetaskbar

The documentation doesn’t say this, but I only managed success using this method with Windows 11. On a Windows 10 machine the policy returned a Remediation failed message.

To do this, go to Devices > Configuration profiles > Create profile.

Now choose Platform as Windows 10 and Profile type as Templates.

Choose Custom then select Create,

Give the profile some kind of name then hit Next to move to the configuration settings.

Now Add a new row to your policy and use the following values:

Name: Disable News and Interests (Name this as you please)

Description: (Name this as you please)

OMA-URI: ./Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Experience/AllowNewsAndInterestsOnTheTaskbar

Data type: Integer

Value: 0

In the Value field 0 = News and Interests will be disabled and 1 = News and Interests will be enabled.

That’s the only row you need to add so you can select Next through the wizard and assign this to a device based group.

That should be it. Hopefully that is useful to someone.

/Peter

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