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Advertising and bloatware are about to invade your Start Menu in Windows 10

Updated May 16th, 2016 10:47AM EDT
Windows 10 Start Menu
Image: Dell

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Microsoft has done a tremendous job with Windows 10 in so many ways, which is even more impressive when you consider that the company’s prior release was nothing short of a disaster. Microsoft knew it had fallen behind in mobile, so it tried to make Windows 8 as tablet-friendly as it could. What the company seemingly forgot, however, was that most people use Windows on a laptop or desktop, and a tablet interface in those environments provides a horrible user experience.

Windows 10 succeeded in erasing Windows 8 from users’ minds almost entirely, and the public conversation surrounding Microsoft’s latest release has been overwhelmingly positive (aside from when the world learned that Windows 10 was spying on users, that is). Nothing is perfect, and now a new change Microsoft is about to make will undoubtedly upset many Windows 10 users.

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Microsoft is in the process of putting the finishing touches on a fresh new Windows 10 update set to be released this coming July. The upcoming Anniversary Update will be free for all Windows 10 users and it will include some nice new features and several refinements that users will definitely enjoy. But there’s one change in particular that Microsoft revealed late last week and it’s undoubtedly going to ruffle some feathers.

As noted by Microsoft news blog Neowin, Microsoft’s upcoming Anniversary Update will see a wave of advertising wash over the Start Menu in Windows 10. The absence of the Start Menu is one of the things people hated most about Windows 8, and they celebrated its return when Microsoft released Windows 10. While users are surely still happy that the Start Menu returned to Windows, the increased volume of advertising will undoubtedly leave many users with mixed feelings.

Microsoft is set to double the number of promoted apps that appear in the Start Menu and come preinstalled in Windows 10. In total, there will now be 10 sponsored apps. As The Verge pointed out, the increased bloat is likely a move to play nice with developers as Microsoft continues to pull out all the stops in its effort to woo software companies to its Windows app store.

Microsoft made the announcement in a presentation during last week’s WinHEC conference, and you can see the slides here.

The good news is that according to Microsoft, all sponsored apps can be removed from the Start Menu manually and any promoted apps that come preinstalled in Windows 10 can be uninstalled. Even with this in mind, this new influx of advertising and bloatware will be one of the first things users see when they install the new update this July, and it won’t make a very good first impression.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.

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