It appears that a tabbed interface is not the only new feature coming soon to File Explorer in Windows 11. According to a Twitter post made by Florian (@flobo09), Microsoft is testing literal ad banners in File Explorer.
Florian published a screenshot of File Explorer in Windows 11 showing a Microsoft Editor extension ad. Because that is exactly what Windows users think about when browsing their files.
Some people will go mad if Microsoft starts adding ads in explorer. pic.twitter.com/rusnyrYyX2— Florian (@flobo09) March 12, 2022
It appears that the company is currently A/B testing new banners in the latest Windows 11 preview builds, and Microsoft is yet to confirm whether it plans to show ads to all Windows 11 users.
This is not the first time Microsoft places ads in various parts of Windows UI. In Windows 10, for example, File Explorer was once showing OneDrive banners. Also, Microsoft tried to push WordPad users to Office Online using various banners and prompts (not to mention desperate efforts to enforce the Edge browser).
Although we do not know whether we will actually see new ads in File Explorer, you can expect Microsoft to continue pushing its services using various user-hostile practices. Microsoft also wants to get some easy money from Windows users by bundling Windows 11 with a new video editor that comes with outrageously expensive subscriptions.
Update: Microsoft explained that the extension banner in File Explorer "was not intended to be published externally and was turned off."