Now all Windows 11 users are getting adverts to 'make the Start menu great again'

And you thought the Bing begging was annoying

Microsoft has made good on its promise, or threat, to put advertisements inside the Windows 11 Start menu with its latest update.

The 2024-04 Cumulative Update Preview, aka KB5036980, is now being rolled out to all Windows 11 users, and with it comes Start menu ads. As it's only a "preview" at the moment, users can choose whether or not to install it, though once it becomes a bona fide update, Microsoft will force it onto PCs eventually.

"The Recommended section of the Start menu will show some Microsoft Store apps," the IT giant advised this week.

"These apps come from a small set of curated developers. This will help you to discover some of the great apps that are available."

We're also told how to disable the advertising: "If you want to turn this off, go to Settings > Personalization > Start. Turn off the toggle for Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more."

The Start menu ads in their current form were glimpsed last week with an update seeded to a few Beta Channel Windows Insiders. The ads come in the form of "recommendations," which suggest users install promoted apps in the Microsoft Store. These apps are under the "Recommended" tab where recently used files and apps are shown, blending into the Start menu.

Microsoft said it wanted Beta Channel users to "let us know what you think" about the Start menu ads, and vocal netizens at least sounded off against the idea. It seems Microsoft has decided the feedback indicated it should just go ahead with the plans anyways, or at least that's the excuse.

The change comes not long after Microsoft's CEO of advertising and Web Services Mikhail Parakhin promised to "make the Start menu great again." Tacking on ads to the Start menu probably wasn't what Windows enthusiasts had in mind, however.

Within the universe of annoying Windows ads though, these new recommendations are almost quaint. Just last year Microsoft was bothering Windows users with ads to sign up for Teams Essentials in the Get Help app that's used for support and troubleshooting. There was also an experiment with putting ads in File Explorer, which was apparently killed off due to outrage from the wider community. And then the constant reminders for Windows users to move to Bing.

Maybe the Windows 11 move will be killed off too - but we doubt it. ®

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like