Microsoft may double down with ads in the Windows 11 Start menu

Onedrive notifications on Windows 11.
(Image credit: Microsoft)
Audio player loading…

Microsoft has been trialling a bunch more advertisements and popups through its Windows 11 insider builds, and although these could change, Microsoft may decide to keep these somewhat intrusive features in the final versions of upcoming Windows 11 updates.

It pains me to say it, but yes we may well end up with yet more ads built into our operating system. Windows insiders spotted the ads in a preview build of Windows 11—likely the less stable canary, rather than dev or beta builds—and have warned of their coming (via Windows Latest (opens in new tab)). 

The ads in question include a 'Complete your profile' notification, a 'Sign up for Microsoft Account' suggestion, and a OneDrive alert encouraging you to backup your files. They're sitting at the top of the session flyout (that little menu when you click your user profile meant for locking, or signing out of the session). 

Window shopping

Windows 11 Square logo

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 11 review (opens in new tab): What we think of the new OS
How to install Windows 11 (opens in new tab): Safe and secure install
What you need to know before upgrading (opens in new tab): Things to note before downloading the latest OS
Windows 11 TPM requirements (opens in new tab): Microsoft's strict security policy

Honestly, just this morning I was trying to figure out how to stop OneDrive from automatically eating up my cloud storage every time I sign into a new machine for testing, now Microsoft wants to notify me about it too. As if it wasn't enough that we're plagued by lock screen tips, service promotions in File Explorer, and suggested apps—some are even pre-downloaded, pinned to the Start menu and impossible to uninstall (I'm looking at you Xbox Game Bar).

Sure these little notifications may be helpful for first time PC users, but anyone who's used a PC for more than a few years will likely find them annoying. The worst part is that there doesn't appear to be any way to turn the ads off.

You cannot uninstall some Windows applications embedded into the OS, such as the Xbox Game Bar. (Image credit: Microsoft)

This week I am seriously wondering if the world is ending after the McDonalds McCrispy gaming chair (opens in new tab) came out, and the idea of yet more ads on my PC is giving me a mini Orwellian crisis. But hey, at least the sky isn't filled with advertisements just yet. Oh, wait. (opens in new tab)

Just remember that, although Windows 11 will let you roll back to Windows 10 (opens in new tab), you've likely have missed the window by this point, so you might want to turn off automatic updates if you think this is something that'll bother you.

Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been demystifying tech and science—rather sarcastically—for two years since. She can be found admiring AI advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. She's been heading the PCG Steam Deck content hike, while waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.