Microsoft is reportedly testing ads in Windows 11 File Explorer

Microsoft is reportedly testing ads in Windows 11 File Explorer
Would you switch away from Windows 11 if Microsoft brings ads to the File Explorer?Microsoft
  • Microsoft could bring ads to the Windows 11 File Explorer soon.
  • The Redmond-based company is testing this “feature” in the latest version of the Windows 11 Insider build.
  • Not all users will see these ads during the current testing phase, but many have started protesting against it on social media.
In what could be one of the worst nightmares of Windows users, Microsoft is reportedly testing ads in the Windows 11 File Explorer.

This was discovered in the latest Windows 11 “Insider” build that is open to all for testing. A user on Twitter spotted a promotion for another Microsoft product called Editor, which is a closed-source grammar-checking tool. It comes in both free and paid variants, which makes its promotion in the File Explorer slightly more egregious.

The advertisement notification is displayed above the files and folders list, just below the address bar.

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We tried reproducing this advertisement on one of our laptops running on the latest Windows 11 Insider builds but were unable to. It is likely that Microsoft is A/B testing this “feature”, so it might be visible only to a limited number of users.

Not the first time that Microsoft has displayed ads in the File Explorer


While ads in File Explorer might seem extremely bad to users in general, Microsoft has tried this once before. More specifically, Microsoft ran a OneDrive ad in 2016, asking users to sign in to the cloud storage service.

Beyond the File Explorer, Microsoft has shown ads in the Start menu as well since the launch of Windows 8. The initial Windows setup also pushes users to switch to Microsoft Edge, the new Chromium-based browser from the company.

However, the File Explorer ads could prove to be a controversial decision for the company. Several users on social media have started protesting already, with some stating that they will switch to Linux if Microsoft makes these ads official.

Others resorted to memes to express their dismay and anger. Overall, it has not been well-received by Windows users so far, so Microsoft could possibly end this experiment if it heeds to the feedback.


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