Microsoft has a few plans for the File Explorer on Windows 11, such as a new tabs feature that is currently in development. While that tool will expand the functionality of File Explorer, Microsoft has another change in the works that is more controversial. Specifically, the company seems to be testing ads within the Windows 11 File Explorer.
Windows watcher Florian Beaubois found the ad in the newest Windows 11 preview. Showing the result on Twitter, other users went to the Microsoft Editor to see if they seen the same. Some users did see the ad while others didn’t.
Microsoft says the fact anybody seen the ad is a mistake because the test is currently internal:
“This was an experimental banner that was not intended to be published externally and was turned off,” says Brandon LeBlanc, senior program manager for Windows, to The Verge.
It is clear Microsoft is at least considering the idea of putting ads in the File Explorer. In fact, that consideration is far enough along that the company is actively testing the concept.
I should point out that the ads in this case will be to Microsoft’s own products and not third-party advertising like on Google. Even so, adding ads to File Explorer will frustrate some people who have spent decades using Windows as an ad-free platform.
As the ads will be for Microsoft services, I presume they will be easy to dismiss. Certainly, this is not the first time the company has placed ads on the OS. Currently you can see ads in the Start Menu and other areas of the platform. Microsoft was forced to remove ads it placed on Windows apps in 2019. Back in 2017, the Window 10 File Explorer picked up some ads for OneDrive.
I’ll watch this one closely as it will be interesting to see if this File Explorer ad idea makes its way to Windows 11 in the future.
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