Update on March 16: Microsoft reached out to The Verge, stating: "This was an experimental banner that was not intended to be published externally and was turned off," senior program manager for Windows Brandon LeBlanc said. The advert on File Explorer has been taken down, but it means Windows may be finding more ways to display promotions for its own products. The original story is as follows:
Microsoft is testing showing adverts in Windows 11's File Explorer, promoting other Microsoft products in the latest Windows 11 Insider build. According to the users who spotted it, this won't be a welcome feature.
As spotted by Windows user Florian (via Bleeping Computer), the adverts show up as a notification just below the address bar. One of the adverts was used to promote Microsoft Editor, so customers could start seeing "advanced writing suggestions." While there is a basic version for free, there is also a Microsoft 365 paid subscription for the service.
- Best laptop 2022: 21 laptops for every use case and budget
- Windows 11 review: Is it better than Windows 10?
- Best laptop deals in 2022
Some people will go mad if Microsoft starts adding ads in explorer. pic.twitter.com/rusnyrYyX2March 12, 2022
Microsoft has added advert-type notifications to the File Explorer before, with the company showing similar promotions for its OneDrive as user Tero Alhonen points out.
OneDrive ad on File Explorer pic.twitter.com/XZXcG0UNFlOctober 13, 2016
Since this test was only spotted in a Windows 11 Insider build, Microsoft may ditch the idea due to the protests from users not wanting to see ads in File Explorer. As stated in the report, Microsoft may have scrapped the idea once the backlash kicked off, as Bleeping Computer couldn't find any adverts when looking for them.
While it may be a small test, it's clear that many Windows 11 users aren't keen on seeing another set of ads in an unlikely place.