Microsoft Has Added Another Advertisement Inside of Windows 10

Posted on January 18, 2017 by Brad Sams in Windows 10 with 58 Comments

Starting back with Windows 8, Microsoft slowly began introducing advertisements into its Windows platform. At that time, because the ads were only in apps, it was argued that they were not really part of the OS since you had to open the application.

But, with the launch of Windows 10, there is no denying that advertisements are creeping further into the OS experience. When the company released the platform, ads for third-party applications were located in the Start menu and while you can turn off these ‘suggestions’, it’s clear that Microsoft has become comfortable with this type of advertising.

Microsoft is showing no signs of slowing down with ads inside the OS and is pushing further ahead by promoting its own products on the taskbar. We have previously seen the company suggest using Edge when it is pinned to the taskbar and now we are seeing the company advertise an extension for Chrome as well.

Spotted by (image to the right), you can clearly see that the company wants this user to install its ‘Personal Shopping Assistant’ for Chrome. If this was an isolated pop-up, that would be one thing, but Microsoft has indicated that this type of behavior is here to stay

I asked Microsoft for comment about this advertisement and if it was an indication about more content like this coming in the future, they issued the following statement: “We are always testing new features and information that can help people enhance their Windows 10 experience”

I fear that as Windows enters into middle-age, it has become a mature platform that is simply a utility for productivity instead of being the only computer that you own, Microsoft is dead-set on figuring out new ways to monetize the OS including these types of advertisements.

The more concerning issue here is that right now only Microsoft is using this pop-up to drive its agenda but you can bet that third-party advertisers would love access to this API. Seeing as Microsoft is clearly comfortable with advertisements on the taskbar, you can imagine a world where you can get Windows for free or a version that costs extra to blocks advertising.

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Comments (59)

59 responses to “Microsoft Has Added Another Advertisement Inside of Windows 10”

  1. 289

    It's terrible, but can you blame them?  Most consumers seem content to spend the majority of their time on the web, completely surrounded by advertising.  Enthusiasts will complain but I suspect many "normals" will simply grow immune to these kinds of things.  I honestly think most advertising goes completely unnoticed.  You learn to just see past/around it.  

    People don't want to pay for updated versions of Windows.  They don't want to buy things in the Windows Store.  Exactly how is Microsoft supposed to monetize Windows and pay for ongoing development and support?  Is Office and Azure supposed to just bankroll the rest of the company? 

    I expect my comments will not be well-received.

    • 217

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      I don't disagree with you, I just wish those of us who paid for Pro versions and up would be excluded. 

    • 180

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      Short answer: yes, yes they are. Businesses still pay for Windows, server, CALs... Windows remains something of a cash cow, just not in the consumer space. Microsoft needs to consider Windows for consumers an investment in familiarity for those who are in offices. And FFS, at least get the ads out of the Professional SKUs of Windows.

    • 1377

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      . . . on the web, completely surrounded by advertising . . .

      AdBlock Pro. Others too. However, more than a few sites now check whether one's using an ad blocker and display popups asking visitors to disable their ad blockers. That's driven me to using Lynx along with GUI browsers for reading text.

      • 5234

        In reply to hrlngrv:


        AdBlock Pro blocks ads to websites but will take "protection" money to allow them through.  The kicker is, they let ANYONE through that bankrolled them.

        Original AdBlock only takes money from users that donate.

    • 314

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      Yes, I can blame them. No consumer loves using Windows and enjoys the experience. This is another step in pushing consumers away from using Microsoft products and services. 

      When anyone asks me to recommend some type of tech product to them, Microsoft is never in the conversation. And move like this make sure they never will be.

  2. 9562

    Idiots.  If they want to create a SKU of Windows 10 that's free and ad-supported, fine.  But not in a paid retail OS ($99 home, $199 Pro).  


  3. 459

    For some reason, this does not cause me any concern. Ads are everywhere. One or two more in the taskbar is no big deal.

    • 579

      In reply to dallasnorth40:

      But when does it start being too much? One or two on the task bar, then one or two more in explorer... then one or two more when you pop up Office.. then one or two more when you pop up the next thing... This argument is the same that governments use when they add taxes: it only costs the equivalent of a cup of coffee per day. Problem is we end up paying hundreds of individual cups of coffee every day when you add them all up.

      I don't think that adopting a stance like this is healthy. I agree with you that it's only one or two more on top of what we already have and that there's no big impact on that individual addition. But it can't always be "just" one or two more every time. A line has to be drawn, and I think this is crossing it, IMO...

    • 1959

      In reply to dallasnorth40:

      I agree... For now.

      You're correct in saying that ads are everywhere, but there are places where ads are expected, others where they are not. So far, I haven't found Microsoft's Windows 10 advertisements intrusive, many of them are more akin to tips and hints than actual ads. Even this new one isn't especially concerning. However, I suspect I have a limit to what I will tolerate, and here's hoping I don't get pushed to that limit.

  4. 326

    In reply to Demileto:

    You do realize the article was written by Brad, right ?

    • 4841

      In reply to davidblouin:

      Whoops. I opened a link Paul shared in twitter and forgot he shared Brad's articles too! My mistake!

      Still, my annoyance stands. All this "more ads in Windows" articles are a bunch of FUD since you can turn them off altogether in Settings. I did it from the very beginning and I never saw a single one.

  5. 214

    "Annoy-ware until you purchase" has been around since - forever. Half the damn apps you get have a free version with Ads, and a paid version without. And Google gets a huge piece of their revenue from ads, right?

    But you're saying MS shouldn't try to make a shekel or two by directing users toward an MS service?

    Good grief, what are they a church?!

  6. 1309

    At some point we are going to have to pay for the ad free experience.

  7. 9963

    Making us pay for windows 10 and then include ads is a bit rich.

    I payed for windows 7 and upgraded to windows 10 during the free upgrade period, essentially doing Microsoft a favour in the process.

    They shouldn't spam my computer. 

  8. 217

    This should only apply for Windows Home edition on a free upgrade. Anyone who paid for Win10 Pro and up should be excluded from this. I really don't want to go back to Linux, I was just getting comfy in Win10

  9. 3272

    While it doesn't bother me too much I still feel it cheapens the experience and that is a shame. The bigger issue is the general user out there who is just now getting a new Windows 10 machine and are seeing these ads. I know a few people who recently upgraded to a new PC running 10. They weren't very happy about moving to 10 in the 1st place and things like this make them even less happy.

    It's moves like this that convince me that when push comes to shove, the general consumer means nothing to MS. They simply can not afford to lose any more users at this point and moves like this make it seem like they just don't get it or just don't care. I vote the latter.

  10. 248

    For standard not tech savvy users I see how these popups could be a helpful nudge to use features that would help them. Not that terrible, but I would bet most people just ignore them. I'm glad they can be turned off for me though.

  11. 5027

    It is thought of as Suggestions, not Ad's in my opinion, and it can be turned off quite easy.  I have not seen a single "ad" in Windows on any of my Windows 10 computers so far , I assume because I turn off "Suggested apps" 

    • 5485

      In reply to JudaZuk:

      All Ads are suggestions. If a company suggests you to buy something directly or indirectly its an Ad. If you parent does the same, its a simple suggestion.

    • 5577

      In reply to JudaZuk:

      Head in sand much?

      Who is to say it will stay only this way? The tendency is clear. And yes they are ads.

    • 5534

      In reply to JudaZuk: I agree. They're not really ads, they're more like suggestions. To me an ad would be trying to sell you something that you don't already have. With these, Microsoft is suggesting that you try an extension or new feature that's available for a product that you do already have installed on your computer. And I've also not seen a single ad on any of my Windows 10 computers (on either Public or Insider releases), because they're turned off everywhere in Settings. And just as a final comment, Amazon has been including ads (they call them Special Offers, not ads) in their tablet OSes since they first introduced the Kindle Fire (if not earlier). If you don't want ads, you pay extra for a Kindle OS that doesn't include them. Is that terrible, or is it only terrible if Microsoft does it?


      • 5577

        In reply to CompUser:

        Microsoft does it except that you paid for the OS, or got the OS on a free offer, without those details being disclosed. Even now, Microsoft won't say, won't admit what their plans are.

        Amazon is completely transparent, on the other hand.

  12. 1387

    If it was free, ok. Fine. But I paid for my current Windows copy.

    On what grounds do they feel it is ok to further "monetize" me with these annoyances?

  13. 592

    Does MSFT releasing extensions for Chrome sound the death knell for Edge as all those Windows apps for Android and IOS did for WP? I suppose extensions for Safari come next and then some baloney explanation from Satya.

  14. 5619

    When Windows 10 was released. I was having a conversation with someone regards the start menu/metro tiles (They'd not used Win8). They didn't like the way it covered 2/3 of the screen. They said: "What's all this for? Who uses any of this?"

    I replied: 'Advertisers?' 

    Looking back, I wasn't that far off the mark.

    I do wonder how much damage those two words "Candy Crush" are doing to taint how Win10 Pro is viewed by Business and whether its seen as serious OS. Certainly hearing the "Could we use Linux?" words more and more.

    The biggest weakness for Windows 10 Pro, is that its an unknown entity going forward, its difficult to plan for the future, as the goals of the product are constantly changing.

  15. 5456

    Thats one of the reasons I did go back to Windows 8.1 Pro. With every Update MSFT has cut off features and options for its customers. Its OK when they want to push the Enterprise Editions of Windows 10. But not on the expence of their private customers. I can only hope that within the next 6 years that they will come to their senses.

  16. 5530

    This is not okay, Microsoft. We pay for Windows.

  17. 1454

    I do find it a bit hypocritical for Brad and Paul to be faulting Microsoft for monetizing there software when they have done the same. I paid for my Premium as I have paid to other websites that I frequent and to apps from both Microsoft and others to improve my experience. It's a new world and technology is not free. 

  18. 6525

    We have had crapware Windows computers and Microsoft's signature PC attempt. With ads in Windows itself, Microsoft returns to crapware computers. It is hard to hurt the Windows reputation more, except for the missing telemetry / diagnostics OFF in Windows 10 Home / Pro and the red cross "ignore" button with automatic upgrade to Windows 10. Microsoft sells Windows as secure, but on the GUI it is becoming less and less secure. Microsoft needs a new Longhorn initiative to resurrect its own security culture for Windows achieved for Vista and Windows 7.

    • 5577

      In reply to RobertJasiek:

      Currently Apple has new crap hardware (the new Macbook Pros). Microsoft has the crap OS (Windows 10).

      Before people complain, Win 10:

      - unreliable updates

      - loss of control of your OS

      - company has been shown willing to show ads, coerce/trick users


      It's a grim set of choices. Linux is looking better all the time.

  19. 4778

    This is beneath Microsoft. Find ways to make money that aren't sleazy and super low effort. 

  20. 5187

    We pay a LOT of money for our Enterprise Agreement and the least MS can do is remove all this consumer junk from the Enterprise versions of Windows.  They have to add all the crap in so it's not like it would be a big deal to just leave it out.  Plus it costs us even more to spend admin time to script removals and/or deploy group policies.  Our TAM says he has forwarded on our concerns but MS remains aloof and IMHO, plainly arrogant to business needs.  Instead they're increasing prices, like with SQL where they're moving to Core licensing instead of Processors.  That's just a money grab.  American businesses need partners who can help our bottom lines not cause us undue expense and hassle.

  21. 6190

    I presume, if you click on this thing, it installs something.  Besides the fact that this particular suggestion looks like a way for microsoft to improve bing by scraping google search results, how long before the malware writers use this API to install stuff?

  22. 5485

    Windows 10, the ADHD paradise.

    PS: Does Windows 10 have ADHD?

  23. 7741

    It's just a popup. Anyone can put a popup in their own app for any reason they want. Granted, MS is showing popups in other people's apps, but "this API" has been available to everybody long before MS started using it like this.

  24. 10129

    How about a non-microsoft company who provide a service to maintain Windows XP and/or Windows 7? I would be interested. Although I'm using windows too, microsoft frightens me. There is a lot of evil shit going on in this world.

  25. 10128

    I have been annoyed by all of the ads in Skype for quite some time.  Every time a Skype IM conversation is inactive for a while, I see ads in the IM pane and have to reselect the contact I am having a conversation with.  I opened up a Microsoft forum question on this but have not received any replies.


  26. 5563

    Got to feel sorry for Microsoft. These days with Android and other Google offerings people just expect everything for free and ignore as much as they can the adverts Google shoves at them. So with their business model destroyed and people moving to Google how else can MS compete but to offer things for free and then put in some ads to make up for the loss of revenue. Windows 10 was a free update, I guess they hoped to make money from the store, but that's been a dead-end so far and so advertising is the obvious solution. Just have to hope that with Windows on ARM their tablets will finally become a viable business and the store will take off and they can avoid putting too many more such 'adverts' into Windows.

    • 5577

      In reply to feedtheshark:

      Microsoft learns to be more open and honest. Even those other ad-based companies tell you what is going on. 

    • 7063

      In reply to feedtheshark: Except Windows 10 isn't really free. It costs just as much as Windows 7 did.

      Microsoft was already giving away free security updates for multiple version of Windows up to ten years after the purchase. With Win10 Microsoft just rolled new features into the updates so that going forward they don't need multiple teams supporting multiple versions of Windows.

      They'll still be getting paid for new licenses though just not the small percentage of upgrades they used to get. Theoretically they will make up that difference with reduced support costs.

  27. 1377 is already costing MSFT and its partners $$$ due to using Inkscape and the Gimp. MSFT has to make that money back some way, mustn't it?

    Would this Personal Shopping Assistant be collecting personal shopping data perhaps to, er, enhance users' shopping experiences by, er, suggesting items users might be interested in buying? If so, this kind of ad would only be the beginning.

    How long before MSFT sells MSFT Account info to telemarketers?

  28. 4282

    I'm wondering/guessing if they're not ultimately moving to a freemium model: Free Windows "Home" edition with ads, removal of ads for Pro/Enterprise editions. I don't have a problem with ads in a model like that where I'm making the choice. I'm not a big fan of paying for the OS AND receiving ads. It's a bit much.

  29. 397

    So we are being Belfiore-ied then?  I don't want this rubbish, but can generally ignore it as long as it does not get to the "red cross shutdown situation" of W10 upgradegate, of course.

  30. 5539

    In reply to chrisrut:  Of course not. If they were a church people would just give them they do Apple ;)


  31. 180

    Honestly, this stuff has me considering OSX for the first time in my life. It's not acceptable. I see the businesses we support installing Windows 10 and having Candy Crush ads on their computers out of the box, popups and messages shilling products and it feels so unprofessional and inappropriate.

    • 1377

      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      Candy Crush ads on their computers out of the box

      You don't have an initialization script which, among other things, runs Powershell to uninstall various cruft apps like Candy Crush and Solitaire Collection?

      As for the Pro SKU, it does seem to be becoming Home with a higher price rather than an a la carte Enterprise approximation.

      • 180

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        So it's fair that I probably should: I'm busy and haven't had the opportunity to research and put something together. But why should it be necessary? Seriously? On a business machine, why should I be spending time scripting disabling ads and games that appear on the start menu by default?

        I work with a bunch of small businesses. They don't have IT departments, and many have only a half dozen employees. These are the folks who're getting shafted by these changes, because they don't have the infrastructure or time or scale to do "proper" images and configurations, and they get stuck with this inappropriate garbage Microsoft is pushing.

        • 1377

          In reply to Polycrastinator:

          I agree it shouldn't be necessary to uninstall anything. All bundled games should be installed/uninstalled via the same features dialog as Fax & Scan, and there should be an option in the Pro install for MINIMAL, meaning Notepad, Char Map, Calculator, and Task Scheduler but none of the other bundled desktop applets or UWP apps.

          That's the ideal. Then there's reality.

          In the real world, you'd save time, effort and inconsistency developing a first-run-uninstall script. Cynicism: MSFT cares as much about SMBs as it does home users.

        • 1292

          In reply to Polycrastinator:

          That is where you make your money and be a differentiator. The tools are all there and for free to make a proper business image for these folks with all the consumer crud removed.   

  32. 10572

    Microsoft has stopped selling old OS, But Windows 7 is the most recommended OS to do almost all work, So I recommend you to activate your existing OS being purchased its license code from ODosta Store at:
    Which is distributing license for all types of Microsoft Products with good customer support. I personally used it and have a good experience.
    Upgrading your OS to windows 10 can create some technical issues, So I recommend you to have clean installation of Windows 7, windows 8 or Windows 10 and activate it via legal license at: products.odostacom

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