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Microsoft is once again putting ads in Windows 11

We didn’t want this the other times you tried, Microsoft.

windows 11 on laptop

Microsoft is again including ads inside Windows 11, this time in the Start Menu.

After testing the feature with a “small set of Insiders in the Beta Channel,” update KB5036980 was released on April 23 to include the feature in the public builds of Windows 11.

The ads include recommendations for apps in the Microsoft Store. These will show in the Recommended section of the Start Menu, where Windows suggests frequently accessed files or programs.

Previously, Microsoft tested ads in File Explorer, in the sign-out menu, and even in the Settings menu.

Windows 11 Start Menu is getting ads for recommended apps

screenshot of windows 11 start menu with an advert for 1Password highlighted
Image: Microsoft

If you don’t see these recommendations on your Start Menu yet, that’s because this is an optional Windows update and has only gone to a small number of machines. It will get pushed to every non-Enterprise version of Windows 11 in the coming weeks.

How to turn off Start Menu ads in Windows 11

You’re not alone if you don’t want your Windows 11 Start Menu to show advertising in any form, even for potentially valuable apps.

Thankfully, Microsoft has provided a way to turn off these annoyances. Here’s how.

  1. Open Settings and go to Personalization > Start.
screenshot of windows 11 settings app showing the "show recommendations for tips, shortcuts, new apps, and more" option turned off
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Click on the toggle next to Show recommendations for tips, shortcuts, new apps, and more so it shows as Off.

That will turn off the Recommended section of the Start Menu, limiting the advertising you’ll see along with the sometimes practical recommendations for recently used apps and files.

While the ads seem benign, surfacing apps you might find useful, it’s a slippery slope to sponsored app placements for things you might not want.

I have no issues with Microsoft showing me ads inside the Microsoft Store, since I made a conscious effort to open the app and look at what’s available. I draw the line at shoving recommendations at my face while I use my computer for normal daily tasks.

Has Microsoft not learned anything from years of outrage against intrusive advertising at the OS-level? Drop us a line below in the comments, or carry the discussion to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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