Microsoft is testing hidden ads as “recommendations” in Windows 11

Microsoft is testing hidden ads as "recommendations" in Windows 11

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Microsoft recently released a new update (KB5037000) for Windows 11 in the Insider channel. Alongside introducing new interactive elements for Windows Spotlight, the update comes with an unwelcome tweak: more app recommendations (essentially ads) in the Start menu.

These recommendations pop up in the “Recommended” section of the Start menu and will feature apps from the Microsoft Store based on your recent app usage. This means you might encounter app suggestions that don’t align perfectly with your interests.

Currently, the Start menu organizes apps into two sections: “Pinned” and “Recommended.” The latter typically includes files or apps used recently, newly installed apps, and even tips for using new Windows features.

Now, with the latest update, recommendations from the Microsoft Store have been added, giving it an ad-like feel.

Microsoft is testing hidden ads as "recommendations" in Windows 11

While these recommended apps may not directly come from app developers paying for placement, Microsoft does generate revenue from apps distributed through its store. Therefore, from a user perspective, it might still seem like an advertisement.

However, you can disable the feature entirely. Head to Settings > Personalization > Start and turn off the toggle to “Show recommendations for tips, apps, and more.”

Additionally, this change currently only affects Insiders in the Beta channel and personal devices, meaning business-owned PCs (often managed by enterprises) are not impacted at the moment.

More importantly, Microsoft hasn’t confirmed whether this feature will make it to the final release of Windows 11. The company uses the Insider program to gather feedback, and based on user response, they may decide to scrap the idea altogether.


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