Now Windows 11 has its own ads built in.

By default, app promotions in the starting screen are on. You can turn them off, though.


When you bought a physical copy of Windows 11, you used to be able to expect it to be ad-free, but those days are over. This week, Windows 11’s newest update (KB5036980) came out. It adds app ads to the “recommended” area of the Start Menu, which is one of the most-used parts of the OS.

“The Recommended section of the Start menu will show some Microsoft Store apps,” the notes for the release say. “These applications come from a small set of curated inventors.”

The app options are turned on by default, but luckily, if you’ve loaded the update, you can get back to the way Windows was before. To turn this off, go to Settings > Personalization > Start and uncheck the box next to “Show suggestions for tips, news, and more.”

The new “feature” came out as an Insider test just a few weeks ago, which shows how quickly Microsoft can add things when it wants to. There wasn’t even close to enough time to get the kind of user feedback that the Insider program is meant to get.

Windows 11 starts at $139 for the Home version, so customers are very likely to not like the change. Getting rid of it isn’t a big deal, but it might remind people of the time they wasted getting rid of unnecessary software from OEM Windows installs. Microsoft tried putting ads in the Windows 11 File Explorer before, but they quickly stopped the test.

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