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What People Are Saying: New Ads Added to Windows 11 Start Menu

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The Start menu is a ideal space to promote, and Microsoft doesn’t plan to let it go. From 4/23/2024, Microsoft has started rolling a new update KB5036980 out to all Windows 11 users, which enables ads on Start Menu.

This update has attracted the attention of a large number of users and media, as early as the testing phase.

Controversial Point of KB5036980

As an optional update, KB5036980 can be downloaded from Microsoft Update Catalog website, and also can be installed in Windows Update:

  • Go to Settings Update & Security > Windows Update
  • In the Optional updates available area, you’ll find the link to download and install the update.

“The Recommended section of the Start menu will show some Microsoft Store apps.” Microsoft highlights, “These apps come from a small set of curated developers. This will help you to discover some of the great apps that are available.”

This screenshot is what the Recommended section looks like in the Windows 11 Start menu(picture from Microsoft):

apps recommendation in Windows 11's Start menu

Apparently, app recommendations primarily benefit developers and Microsoft. For developers, they can attract a significant number of views and downloads, which not only expands their business but also motivates them to continuously improve existing apps and create new ones. As for Microsoft, they are eager to attract more developers and increase the number of apps available in their Store to enhance the ecosystem.

But users are sensitive to the insertion of ads into the system. This is the key point of the contradiction.

What People Are Saying

Opinions on this update fall into two camps: most people are opposed to it, and a small number of people think it doesn’t matter.

Conversation in the Twitter/X thread below is very typical. One of opponents Zac Bowden used a cartoon to mock Microsoft’s move, while the supporter Daniel Harris said it didn’t look like an ad. There’s quite a difference in opinions, right? But when you understand who they are, you can understand why.

Zac Bowden is a writer for WindowsCentral whose main task is to write eye-catching articles that cater to everyone’s psychology. Daniel Harris is a developer. Any developer would like his application to be recommended by the platform. Therefore, different interests lead to different opinions.

Don’t worry if you dislike the app recommendations shown in your Start menu, as there is a way to turn them off.

How to Turn Off Recommendations

Nothing can please everyone, and Microsoft has taken this into consideration, so it has written out how to turn off app recommendations in the Start menu.

Go to Settings > Personalization > Start. Turn off the toggle for Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more.

OK, it’s done.

Our Opinion

Microsoft attaches great importance to the application ecosystem of the Windows platform and has invested a lot of resources in this regard.

Since there were not enough applications in the app store, it also tried to make up for it with Windows Subsystem with Android, but unfortunately the WSA project failed. Apple and Google are also trying their best to use the platforms they control to promote their products, so Microsoft’s approach is understandable.

And Microsoft has done two things very well. First, the application recommendation is not conspicuous, and it is even difficult to notice at a glance; second, it can be easily turned off through settings, which is also very friendly to those who care about this matter. Therefore Microsoft’s approach is acceptable.

If you have other opinions, please leave comments to discuss.

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