June 16, 2024

Are You Ready for Windows 11 Start Menu Ads?

Windows Start Menu Ads Featured

We knew it was coming, but it was made a part of Windows Update build KB5036980 before it was expected to. The Windows 11 Start Menu will now have ads it believes you should be interested in.

Windows 11 to Start Including Ads in the Start Menu

Advertisements will soon begin to appear in the Start Menu of Windows 11. This is an unprecedented move by Microsoft and marks a significant shift in its operating system design strategy. It was added to the build rather quickly, after just recently being seen in the Windows Insider builds.

This new development is a significant change in the user experience for Windows users. Traditionally, the Start Menu has been a place for users to quickly access their most-used apps, documents, and settings. It’s one of the first things users see when they boot up, which is, of course, the reason it has become a very coveted spot.

Microsoft’s decision is a broader strategy to generate additional revenue from its operating system. The goal is to promote various products and services directly to the user, right from their desktop. These ads could range from recommendations for apps in the Microsoft Store to promotions for Microsoft’s own services, like Office 365 or Skype.

This move has potential to change the dynamics of user interaction with their personal computers. The Start Menu, which has traditionally been a space for users to quickly access their most-used apps, documents, and settings, is being transformed into a platform for promoting products and services. This could fundamentally alter how users perceive and interact with their operating system.

How Will Users Take to This Change?

While the idea of ads on the Windows 11 Start Menu may seem intrusive to some, it’s important to remember that they could also serve a purpose beyond pure advertisement, as they could highlight apps or services that could be useful to you.

Yet, they could also disrupt the user experience. Users are accustomed to a clean, ad-free Start Menu and interact with it frequently. You’ll have to navigate around these ads to reach your apps, documents, and settings.

The frequency and relevance of these ads is unknown. These factors will contribute to how well they are received. For example, promoting apps or services that you already have or are not interested in will get tiring very quickly.

It’s unknown whether Microsoft will provide options for users to customize the Windows Start Menu or disable the ads. Having control over the presence and type of ads displayed could greatly influence acceptance of this new feature.

The introduction of Start Menu Ads in Windows 11 represents a new direction in Microsoft’s strategy. But YouTube is getting more forceful with its ads, and Netflix started this some time ago. And there are many others. Microsoft isn’t alone, yet this change is definitely going to be upsetting to users.

Image credit: Unsplash

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Laura Tucker

Laura has spent more than 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with the majority of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past 35 years. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.

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