Microsoft Tests Ads in Windows 11

By Adedayo Ebenezer Oyetoke Published on: April 15th 2024 | 5 mins, 977 words Views: 187



Remember the good ol' days of Windows 10, when you opened the Start menu to find...surprise! An ad for Candy Crush alongside your most-used programs? Well, get ready for a potential trip down memory lane, because Microsoft is testing the waters of bringing ads back, this time in the Windows 11 Start menu.

That's right, the clean, streamlined Start menu we've (mostly) grown accustomed to might soon be playing host to app recommendations from the Microsoft Store. While Microsoft frames it as a helpful way to discover "great apps," let's be honest, these are ads.

Here is the gist

This isn't entirely new territory for Microsoft. Windows 10 users will recall the occasional sponsored app or game peeking out from the Start menu. It wasn't exactly beloved, and many users rejoiced at its absence in Windows 11. But with the latest Insider Preview Build, Microsoft is dipping its toes back into the ad pool.


Microsoft claims this is all about "helping users discover great apps from the Microsoft Store." They plan to utilize the "Recommended" section, currently showcasing recently used apps and files, to instead feature app recommendations.

Think of it like this: you walk into your local library, brimming with excitement to delve into a captivating novel, but instead of finding a neatly categorized bookshelf, you're bombarded by salespeople pushing the newest self-help guides and celebrity cookbooks.  Not exactly conducive to a focused and productive experience, is it?

So, What Can We Expect?

Imagine you open your Start menu, eager to fire up your favorite photo editor. But before you can click on it, you see a block labeled "Recommended" featuring a few unfamiliar apps. These, according to Microsoft, will be curated suggestions based on your usage patterns and what's trending in the Microsoft Store.

Think of it like browsing the aisles at a grocery store. You have your go-to brands, but strategically placed displays tempt you with new products. In this case, the "aisles" are your frequently used apps, and the "displays" are the recommended apps vying for your attention (and clicks).

Is This the End of the Clean Start Menu?

Here's the good news: Microsoft says this is still in the testing phase, limited to a small group of Insiders (think beta testers). They're likely gauging user reaction before a wider rollout. The even better news? If you're not a fan, there might be an option to disable these recommendations altogether.

But Here's the Thing...

While Microsoft positions this as a helpful discovery tool, it's important to be aware of the potential downsides:

  • Privacy Concerns: How will Microsoft determine which apps to recommend? Will user data be involved? Transparency will be key here.
  • Ad Clutter: A cluttered Start menu can be visually overwhelming and defeat the purpose of a streamlined interface.
  • Undue Influence: Will lesser-known, but potentially great apps, get drowned out by big-budget recommendations?

So, Why the Grumbling?

Many users see this as a step backward. The appeal of Windows 11 was its clean interface and streamlined approach.  Ads intrude upon that experience, turning a utilitarian tool into a marketing platform.


Here's a relatable scenario: you're presenting a crucial project to your boss, and as you open your laptop with a flourish, a giant ad for a quirky cat video app takes center stage. Not exactly the professional image you were aiming for.


Microsoft assures us there will be an option to disable these "recommendations." But how intuitive will that option be? Will it be buried deep within convoluted settings menus, or will it be readily accessible for the average user?

The Future of the Start Menu

This test program is just the beginning. If Microsoft sees positive results (which many users doubt), expect to see a wider rollout and potentially more intrusive ads.  The Start menu could morph into a battleground for app developers, vying for your attention with ever flashier promotions.

The Choice is Yours

While Microsoft aims to make app discovery easier, this approach might backfire.  Users value their time and their digital space.  Only time will tell if these ads become a helpful suggestion or a constant annoyance.

Let's keep an eye on developments and voice our opinions.  After all, the Start menu belongs to us, the users. It shouldn't become a battleground for advertisements.

Looking Ahead: The Future of the Windows 11 Start Menu

This is just the beginning of a test phase. Here's what we can expect:

  • User Feedback: Microsoft will be gauging user reactions to these "recommendations." Our collective voice matters, so let them know what you think!
  • Potential Tweaks: Based on feedback, Microsoft might refine how these ads are displayed or even introduce the option to target recommendations based on your usage patterns.
  • The Power is (Hopefully) in Our Hands: Ideally, Microsoft will find a way to make these recommendations truly helpful and unobtrusive, giving users the power to control what shows up in their Start menu.

So, will these "recommendations" enhance our Windows 11 experience or become a nuisance? Only time will tell. But one thing's for sure – keeping an eye on how this experiment unfolds will be interesting.


In the meantime,  let's raise our voices and ensure we have a say in how the future of the Windows 11 Start menu takes shape. After all, it's our digital front door, and we deserve to have some control over what greets us when we walk in.

The Bottom Line: User Choice is King

The success of this test will likely hinge on user feedback. If the majority finds these app recommendations helpful and unobtrusive, they might become a permanent fixture. But if the outcry is loud enough, Microsoft might just hit the brakes.

The key takeaway? Keep an eye on future updates and make your voice heard if you have an opinion. After all, it's your Start menu, and you should have a say in what you see there.

Marquee stuff : Microsoft Tests Ads in Windows 11

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