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How to disable Microsoft’s annoying new Windows 11 Start menu ads

Published Apr 24th, 2024 3:43PM EDT
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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If you own a Windows 11 computer, you are about to start seeing ads for apps that you haven’t downloaded in the Start menu. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to disable them.

This week, Microsoft began rolling out the KB5036980 cumulative update to Windows 11 users. The update features a collection of changes and improvements, including “recommendations to help you discover great apps from the Microsoft Store under Recommended on the Start menu.” Microsoft tested these “recommendations” on Windows Insiders in the Beta Channel earlier this month, and now they’re coming for all of us.

Start menu ads on Windows 11.
Start menu ads on Windows 11. Image source: Microsoft

“These apps come from a small set of curated developers,” Microsoft claims in its update notes. “This will help you to discover some of the great apps that are available.”

As noted above, you aren’t stuck with the ads, as Microsoft provides a simple method to disable them forever. If you want to remove the ads, go to Settings > Personalization > Start and turn off the toggle for “Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more.”

Other changes in the KB5036980 preview include your most frequently used apps appearing in the Recommended section of the Start menu (much better than ads), improvements for Widgets icons on the taskbar, and more reliable Widgets on the lock screen.

Microsoft says that it spent the past two weeks collecting feedback, but it’s hard to imagine any Windows 11 user responding positively to more ads. Whatever the case, they’re here now, but at least we can turn them off before they start bothering us.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.