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Microsoft is testing out start menu ad placement in Windows 11

by Ohio Digital News

As if the Windows 11 experience wasn’t commodified enough, Microsoft has begun testing ads within the Start menu of Windows 11, a change rolling out to users within its Beta Channel in the US.

Specifically, these ads will promote apps available in the Microsoft Store and appear in the Start menu’s “Recommended” section. According to Microsoft’s blog post, these targeted ads are only available to Windows Insiders and exclude commercially-managed devices.

While Microsoft has these ads enabled by default, users have the option to disable them via the Settings menu. And since the features are only being tested, user feedback could go a long way in influencing its future inclusion in official Windows 11 releases.

Embedding ads within the operating system is not new for Microsoft. Previous instances in Windows 10 included promotional content on the lock screen and the Start menu. Within Windows 11 specifically, Microsoft experimented with ads in File Explorer, which was later discontinued in beta versions thanks to less-than-favorable feedback.

Thus, this latest test serves as a continuation of Microsoft’s exploration into integrating advertisements within its platform, indicating a potential shift towards a more ad-inclusive strategy in future iterations of Windows.

Does anyone want this? No. Is this the future we’re headed toward? Probably!

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