Microsoft is testing ads for its services in Windows 11

Facepalm: If there’s one thing Windows 11 could use, it’s ads appearing in the operating system, says none other than Microsoft. The Redmond company appears to be testing a feature in preview builds that displays ads for its services in the drop-down menu where users can log out or lock the system.

Twitter user Albacore posted screenshots showing ads and promotions for Microsoft products appearing in the drop-down above the Change account settings option in the latest Windows preview build 11. One of the ads asks users to back up their files to OneDrive, while another suggests , that users sign up for a Microsoft account.

Brandon LeBlanc, Senior Program Manager for the Windows Insider Program Team, responded to the tweet, pointing out that Microsoft is only experimenting with certain versions of this feature with Windows Insiders. He also noted that users had already been informed of this in a post last month.

However, this notice consists of an item under the Changes and Improvements section that reads: “We’re testing a small start menu tweak where some insiders will see a badge on their user profile notifying them that certain actions need to be taken. Even by Microsoft’s standards for verbal harassment, it’s hard to imagine anyone thinking that phrase translates to ad deployment.The fact that the feature uses the same orange indicator as Windows system alerts also annoys users.

To be fair to LeBlanc, he admitted that Microsoft could have communicated the change better, possibly including a screenshot. But that’s unlikely to appease people at this point, especially if this testing goes into production buildings.

Ads in Windows are of course nothing new. Windows 10’s Start menu includes them, though they can be removed, and Microsoft has already run full-size ads for Edge. You may also recall that Microsoft tested ads for its services in a preview of Windows 11 earlier this year. This caused a lot of outrage, but LeBlanc said it was an experimental banner not intended for external display.

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