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Microsoft rolls out Start menu ads to all Windows 11 users, here is how to turn them off

A modified red Windows 11 logo indicating a known issue

In this episode of "How to make Windows 11 more annoying," Microsoft is bringing new Start menu ads to all users. KB5036980, the latest non-security update for Windows 11 versions 22H2 and 23H2, brings app "recommendations" directly to the Start menu. Now, recommended content on your Start menu includes files, recently installed apps, tips, and ads. Fortunately, you can turn that off.

Microsoft describes the change as follows:

New! 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.

226353495 screenshots

You can turn off new Start menu app ads in Windows 11 builds 22621.3527 and 22631.3527 in the Settings app; here is how to do it:

  1. Press Win + I to open the Settings app or launch it using any other method you like.
  2. Go to Personalization > Start.
  3. Toggle off the "Show recommendations for tips, shortcuts, new apps, and more" option.
    Start menu settings in Windows 11

Microsoft Store app "recommendations" are sadly not the only questionable change coming soon to your Windows 11 PC. Build 22635.3500 (currently available in the Beta Channel) introduces a new "Account Manager," which replaces buttons like "Sign out," "Change user," and "Lock" with a Microsoft 365 ad. Now, to sign out of your profile, you have to witness your subscriptions first, open a new submenu, and only then press "Sign out."

The new Account Manager in Windows 11

It did not take too long for Microsoft to bring Start menu ads to all users (they will come to all as part of May 2024 Patch Tuesday updates), so expect the new "Account Manager" soon as well.

You can also deal with all these "updates" by using a third-party Start menu alternative or tweakers. Just keep in mind that some of them will most likely stop working soon.

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