Microsoft is testing ads in Windows 11 File Explorer

Microsoft has started testing promotions for some of its other products in the File Explorer app on devices running the latest Windows 11 Insider build.

This new “feature” in Windows 11 was discovered by a Windows user and Insider MVP who subscriber Screenshot of an advertisement notification displayed above the list of folders and files to File Explorer, the default file manager in Windows.

As shown in the screenshot, Microsoft will use these advertisements to promote other Microsoft products, for example, on how to “write confidently on documents, emails and the web with suggestions for ‘Microsoft Editor advanced writing’.

As you can imagine, the reaction to this has been counterproductive to say the least, with some claiming that File Explorer is “one of the worst places to show ads”, while others added that it was the way to go if Microsoft wanted people to “give Explorer away for something else”.

BleepingComputer also tried to replicate this on a system running the latest Windows 11 Insider build, but we received no advertisements from File Explorer.

This can likely be because Microsoft is running an A/B testing experiment to try to gauge the success of this feature, or the company disabling it after a user’s visual shout.

File Explorer Ads for Windows 11 (flobo09)

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has added promotional messages to various places in the Windows user interface.

For example, Redmond Test Ads Push Free Web Apps for Office In the menu bar of the Windows 10 Wordpad application two years ago, there was a similar protest campaign from users.

The company has also started offering Microsoft Edge Ads In the Windows 10 Start menu, whenever users search for a competing browser, it prompts them to download the new Microsoft Edge.

BleepingComputer has contacted Microsoft with questions regarding File Explorer ads, but we have not yet received a response.

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