The concept of ads in Windows has always been quite controversial, especially because many users believe that once they’ve paid for a product, Microsoft has no right to spam them with ads. Although this is a completely flawed approach, since users are actually paying for the right to use Windows (and not to own the software), the ads were never well received.
But it seems Microsoft doesn’t mind. The software giant is now experimenting with a new idea that is likely to fuel the frustration of its user community.
Microsoft actually seems to test new ads in Windows 11, this time in the logout menu. In other words, when you click the start menu to access user session controls, you now see a OneDrive ad that doesn’t necessarily feel at home there.
“Back up your files,” reads the ad, asking users to go to OneDrive to move important data to clouds. This option is listed alongside important Windows controls such as locking the device, signing out, and changing account settings.
Windows 11 started showing ads in more and more parts of the operating system (OS). Microsoft already displays ads in File Explorer, the Start menu, and Wordpad. According to BleepingComputer, it appears the company is A/B testing the ads.
These ads were first spotted by Windows fan Albacore. The fact that BleepingComputer couldn’t replicate Albacore’s experience seems to indicate that the company is still testing to see how the ads will be received.
Do we really need to populate OneDrive promotions in the user session flyout? All for the sweet sweet KPI 😭 pic.twitter.com/ZsQGmkntDS
—Yellow Tuna (@the book is closed) November 6, 2022
Microsoft and advertising
Needless to say this revelation is not well receivedwith some users even pointing out that Microsoft’s actions may be the reason why Windows 11 adoption is happening at an almost glacial pace.
Microsoft hasn’t officially announced this change, but at this point it looks like the company is just experimenting with the idea. So not all users are seeing the new OneDrive ad, and to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the software giant pull this controversial idea completely before it hits more devices.
But for now, it seems Microsoft hasn’t given up on the idea of introducing ads into Windows. The software giant still believes that ads should be part of the Windows experience, so it’s not necessarily surprising that different experiences pop up from time to time (thankfully not making it to production devices).