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Windows 11 Users Face Start Menu Ad Rollout Amid Backlash

Windows 11 Users Face Start Menu Ad Rollout Amid Backlash

Microsoft recently initiated testing for additional Start menu ads in Windows 11, a continuation of an experiment conducted a year prior, as observed in the latest Windows Insider build. These ads are situated within the Recommended section of the Start menu, offering app suggestions from the Microsoft Store, sourced from a limited selection of curated developers.

Now integrated into the optional KB5036980 update, these ads are becoming accessible to all Windows 11 22H2 and 23H2 users. Acting as a preview of the upcoming Patch Tuesday update for May, this update is poised for widespread distribution shortly.

Microsoft highlights the ads as the primary feature in the update, emphasizing their role in aiding users to discover apps and games within the store. Despite concerns about user pushback, features introduced in Insider Channels aren’t guaranteed for full integration into the OS, yet Microsoft is proceeding with the inclusion of ads in Windows, indicating a strong push for developers to contribute more to the Windows app ecosystem.

Although the incorporation of ads into Windows has been met with resistance, Microsoft provides an option for users to disable them easily. By navigating to Settings > Personalization > Start, users can deactivate the toggle for “Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more“, providing a solution for those who prefer an ad-free experience.

The update introduces several enhancements, such as displaying the most frequently used apps in the Recommended section of the Start menu. Additionally, improvements to the Widgets icons on the taskbar are underway to eliminate pixelation or fuzziness, enhancing visual clarity. Furthermore, efforts are being made to enhance the reliability and quality of Widgets on the lock screen, addressing previous issues. Despite these updates aimed at improving user experience, it’s doubtful that they will fully satisfy disgruntled users.

While the update addresses certain usability issues and visual enhancements, it remains uncertain whether these changes will alleviate user frustrations. Despite efforts to refine various features such as the Start menu’s Recommended section and Widgets icons on the taskbar, discontent among users may persist.

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