Start menu ads are rolling out to all Windows 11 users -- here's how to turn them off

Frustrated laptop users

Windows 11's Start menu will soon advertise applications in the recommended section.

Microsoft released a new optional preview update for Windows 11 this week that introduces the feature. The changes it includes will roll out to all Windows 11 devices as part of the May 2024 cumulative security update.

Testing and rollout happened at a record pace. Microsoft pushed the change into Beta developer builds about two weeks ago. These were limited to Windows 11 users from the United States at the time.

Back then, Microsoft said that the feature helps Windows users "discover great apps from the Microsoft Store". It even hinted at the possibility that the change would be pulled before it landed in stable versions of Windows 11.

A slightly modified version of the feature has landed now in the optional update for Windows 11 Stable. Advertised apps have a "promoted" label to help distinguish them from user-installed apps.

Phantom Ocean, serial leaker of hidden Windows features and changes, published a screenshot of the latest iteration on Twitter. The screenshot shows a promotion for the Opera Browser. It has the promoted label and the description "browse safely". It is unclear who adds descriptions to listings. Is it the company that owns the product or Microsoft?

Other than that, nothing appears to have changed. Microsoft announced the integration of Start menu promotions ads in the update's support article.

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

Disabling app promotions

Disable Start Menu promotions Windows 11

Windows 11 users who do not want to see ads for applications in the Start menu may turn them off in the following way:

  1. Open Start and then Settings.
  2. go to Personalization > Start.
  3. Toggle the option Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more to off.

This disables the feature in the Windows 11 Start menu.

What about you? Do you find the new feature useful?

Image credit: Elflaco1983 / Shutterstock

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