Microsoft now shows ads in the Windows 11 Start menu. Here’s how to block them – ZDNet

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Microsoft now shows ads in the Windows 11 Start menu. Here’s how to block them – ZDNet

windows 11 laptop

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Microsoft has rolled out a new way to further manage the Windows 11 Start menu: displaying ads in the form of recommended apps. The ads are part of update KB5036980 rolling out to Windows 11 on Tuesday.

In a support page announcing this latest Windows 11 update, Microsoft revealed the new feature: “The Recommended section of the Start menu will display some apps from the Microsoft Store. These apps come from a small, select group of developers. This will help you discover some of the great apps available.

Start menu ads started appearing a few weeks ago in a Windows 11 Insider Preview build for the beta channel. At the time, Microsoft said it was “now trying recommendations to help you discover great apps from the Microsoft Store under Recommended in the Start menu.” Well, apparently the company liked this idea because it’s now rolling out to everyone.

Also: Windows 11 FAQ: ZDNET upgrade guide and everything you need to know

Clicking the Start button in Windows 11 displays two sections in the Start menu: one for pinned apps and one for recommended apps. Microsoft Store app icons can now potentially appear in the Recommended section.

Before you start yelling at Microsoft, the new ads may or may not start showing up for you. It’s more a question of luck. Even then, you might only see one or two recommended apps, so they don’t clutter up the entire Start menu. Additionally, you must use Windows 11 as an individual user. PCs considered commercial devices, that is, those managed by organizations, will not be subject to advertisements.

Also: Windows 11: Do these six things immediately after finishing setup

Plus, turning off ads is pretty simple. If you start seeing recommended apps, here’s what you can do. Head to Settings > Personalization > Start. Disable the “Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, etc.” button. Here you can also change the layout at the top of the screen to “More Pins” (this will reduce the amount of space taken up by the Recommended section).

Better yet, I would recommend switching to a Windows 11 Start menu replacement, such as Start 11 or StartAllBack. Since these tools offer a more traditional Start menu, like Windows 10 or Windows 7, advertisements will not appear. Plus, you’ll benefit from a more usable and customizable Start menu than the monstrosity Microsoft created for Windows 11.

Disable recommended apps in the Windows 11 Start menu

Lance Whitney/ZDNET

However, as a Windows 11 user, I have some feedback on this new feature, none of which is printable. Despite being a $3 trillion company with $227 billion in revenue in 2023, Microsoft seems to feel the need to squeeze more money out of Windows users by annoying them with ads.

This is far from the first time that Microsoft has attempted this type of stunt.

The company has been adding ads to some versions of Windows since the launch of Windows 8. Some of them take the form of banner ads. Others appear as recommended or promoted apps, a type of advertising that also appeared in Windows 10. When people complain, the company often, but not always, backtracks and proclaims that the ads in question don’t work. was just an experience.

To be honest, occasionally seeing a recommended app in the Start menu isn’t the most intrusive type of advertising. However, that is not the point. We already pay for Windows as part of the cost built into computers by PC vendors. We shouldn’t have to be subjected to ads as another way for Microsoft to squeeze even more revenue out of us.



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