Windows 11: Microsoft tests advertising in File Explorer

Microsoft shows ad banners in Windows 11 file explorer. Affected Windows 11 testers are annoyed.

Microsoft is now testing ads in Windows 11’s File Explorer, but only for test versions of Windows 11 as part of the Insider program. Among other things, the advertisements are intended to make Office 365 services palatable to the user, as reported by Windowslatest.

Microsoft made its first attempts with advertising in File Explorer back in 2017. It was immediately criticized and Microsoft stopped advertising again. Now the Redmonder obviously started a new attempt. The advertisement appears as a banner at the top of File Explorer. It informs the user that one can avoid spelling mistakes with the “Microsoft Editor”. The English text on the banner reads, “Write confidently in documents, email, and on the web with Microsoft Editor’s advanced writing suggestions.” There is also a link to Microsoft’s documentation for the Microsoft Notepad extension. Other banners seem to advertise the Microsoft PowerPoint template feature, according to users, and some users report ads disguised as help recommendations.

As an affected user, a reference to the advertising banner including a screenshot

criticism of this approach from Microsoft rained down:

According to Windowslatest, the Microsoft Editor advertisement was also discovered in the Windows 10 taskbar. In addition, the frequency of advertising is said to have increased in recent months.

However, not all insider testers get to see the advertising banners yet. Windowslatest suspects that Microsoft is running A/B testing and therefore only shows the advertising banner to some of the insiders. IT news site Bleeping Computer, for example, doesn’t see the ad on an Insider Trial it uses.

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