Windows 11 Start Menu Ads Arrive On Your PC

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Key Takeaways

  • Microsoft is now rolling out ads in the Windows 11 Start menu.
  • The public release markets apps from a handful of developers.
  • You can turn the feature off.

Microsoft has started rolling out a Windows 11 update that includes ads for Microsoft Store apps in the Start menu.

The Start menu’s Recommended section will display ads for a “small set of curated developers,” the company said. The addition is officially meant to help users discover new apps.

The ads are enabled by default. However, you can disable them by visiting Settings, choosing Personalization, and then Start. From there you can disable “Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more.”

The promos should reach all Windows 11 systems in the weeks ahead. As The Verge noted, Microsoft only started testing the Start menu ads in Windows 11 betas two weeks before the launch.

Other changes in the update are minor. Frequently used apps may appear in the Recommended section, while widgets perform better both on the taskbar and in the lock screen. There are also bug fixes for Settings and the Japanese on-screen keyboard.

The addition isn’t completely surprising when Microsoft placed ads in Windows 10’s Start menu and lock screen. The company also privately tried ads in Windows 11’s File Explorer, but that never materialized in public releases.

The Start menu ads might not affect your daily use if you seldom visit the Recommended area. However, it might not thrill you if you’re the sort to use an ad blocker. The move puts ads directly into the operating system itself. While they’re easy to remove, there is a chance this could push some users toward alternatives like Linux.

The Microsoft Store already has significant adoption. In late 2022, Microsoft observed that 90% of the most-used Windows apps came through its portal. However, it’s still very common for users to download apps from other sources, even when they’re also available through the built-in store. The Start menu ads could theoretically steer more users through the shop.