How to Disable Unwanted Ads in Your Windows 11 Start Menu

Microsoft has introduced advertisements in the Windows 11 Start menu, a move that has sparked significant backlash from the user community. These ads, presented as application recommendations, appear after updating to Windows 11 KB5036980.

Despite the discontent voiced by many users, Microsoft has not indicated any plans to reverse this decision. However, users can take steps to disable these ads, and we’ll guide you through the process.

disable ads windows 11

Advertisements Arrive in the Windows 11 Start Menu

The recent update introduces what Microsoft calls “recommendations” but what many users see as advertisements. These are suggestions for apps and programs available through the Microsoft Store, and they’re integrated directly into the Start menu. This integration makes them blend in with installed applications, potentially leading to confusion.

This feature was rapidly transitioned from the Windows Insider testing phase to the final version, taking only about two weeks—a much shorter period than usual for new features. It seems Microsoft is keen to leverage these ads for potential revenue gains, despite the strong pushback from the testing phase.

How to Disable the Advertisements

While these ads are not the typical commercials one might expect, their presence has been enough to annoy a considerable portion of the Windows 11 user base. Fortunately, there is a way to disable these Start menu ads:

  1. Access Settings: Click on the start menu and navigate to the settings gear.
  2. Go to Personalization: Find and select the ‘Personalization’ menu.
  3. Select ‘Start’: In the personalization menu, click on ‘Start’ to find more specific settings.
  4. Disable Recommendations: You’ll see an option to disable various types of content including tips, app promotions, and more. Toggle this setting off to stop the ads from appearing.

Microsoft insists that the featured apps in these ads are carefully selected and aim to provide exposure to developers, encouraging a richer ecosystem within the Microsoft Store. Despite these intentions, the reception has been largely negative, reflecting a broader user preference against pervasive advertising in operating systems.

User Reaction and Microsoft’s Advertising Strategy

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has faced criticism over advertising integrations. A similar backlash occurred with attempted ads in Windows 11 File Explorer. The rapid deployment of this feature and its potential permanence raises concerns among users who feel advertisements should not disrupt the user interface of their operating system.

While the ability to disable these ads is currently available and welcomed, it’s uncertain if this option will remain in future updates. Microsoft’s ongoing challenge will be balancing its advertising strategies with maintaining a positive user experience.

Conclusion

The introduction of ads in the Windows 11 Start menu follows a growing trend of integrating commercial content within operating systems, which not all users appreciate. While the feature aims to benefit developers and enrich the Microsoft Store’s offerings, the execution has not been met with enthusiasm. The option to disable these ads, however, provides a temporary respite for users preferring an ad-free experience.