Microsoft Adds Ads to Windows 11 Start Menu in Latest Update

Microsoft introduces ads in Windows 11 Start menu, drawing criticism from users who see it as a loss of control. The move marks a shift in Microsoft's monetization strategy, raising concerns about future ad integration in the OS.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Microsoft Adds Ads to Windows 11 Start Menu in Latest Update

Microsoft Adds Ads to Windows 11 Start Menu in Latest Update

Microsoft has introduced advertisements in the Start menu of Windows 11 as part of the KB5036980 update released in April 2024. The ads, which Microsoft refers to as "app promotions," will feature a curated selection of apps from the Microsoft Store and are intended to help users discover new applications.

The advertisements will appear in the "Recommended" section of the Start menu, which previously displayed recently installed apps and frequently used programs. Users who prefer to limit their Start menu to only the apps they have manually placed there can turn off the ads by going to Settings > Personalization > Start and disabling the "Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more" toggle.

This change has been met with criticism from some Windows 11 users, who argue that the inclusion of ads reduces their control over the Start menu and introduces unwanted advertising. "Microsoft is pushing advertising into the Windows 11 Start menu, with a 'Promoted' section that displays apps that have paid to appear there," one user commented.

Why this matters: The addition of advertisements to the Windows 11 Start menu marks a significant shift in Microsoft's approach to monetizing its operating system. This change has the potential to impact millions of Windows users worldwide and may set a precedent for the inclusion of ads in other areas of the user interface in future updates.

Microsoft has previously experimented with incorporating advertising in various aspects of Windows, such as prompts to sign up for services like Teams Essentials and ads in File Explorer. However, some of these attempts were short-lived due to user backlash. It remains to be seen whether the controversial Start menu ads will face a similar fate or if Microsoft will choose to keep them as a permanent feature.

The KB5036980 update also includes other changes and improvements to Windows 11, such as enhancements to the lock screen widgets and the Japanese 106 keyboard layout. While users can disable the Start menu ads through the Settings app, the update serves as a reminder of Microsoft's ongoing efforts to generate revenue through advertising within its operating system.

Key Takeaways

  • Microsoft adds ads to Windows 11 Start menu in April 2024 update.
  • Ads can be disabled in Settings, but reduce user control over Start menu.
  • Ads are part of Microsoft's efforts to monetize the OS through advertising.
  • Previous Windows ad attempts faced user backlash, future of Start menu ads unclear.
  • Update also includes other changes, like lock screen widget enhancements.