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Microsoft says you weren't supposed to see those Windows 11 File Explorer ads

Of course, Microsoft isn't saying anything about whether or not File Explorer ads will happen.

Published onMarch 15, 2022

Microsoft Windows 11 Menu
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • This week, early testers spotted Windows 11 ads within File Explorer.
  • Microsoft has now said those ads were “an experimental banner that was not intended to be published externally and was turned off.”
  • Microsoft does not commit one way or the other to keep File Explorer ad-free.

Earlier this week, within the latest Windows 11 test build, beta users found an advertisement in File Explorer. Twitter user @flobo09 posted a screenshot of the ad, which promotes Microsoft’s own Editor program.

Obviously, people responded quite negatively to the idea of Windows 11 ads appearing right in Explorer. Now, via The Verge, Microsoft has issued a statement on the matter.

See also: Everything you need to know about Windows 11

“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.

“Turned off,” of course, suggests that Microsoft has the ability to turn them back on again. According to The Verge, Microsoft didn’t give any confirmation about keeping Windows 11 ads away. The fact that this test even occurred suggests this isn’t the last time we’ll see ads in Explorer.

Unfortunately, there are already plenty of advertisements littered throughout Windows. The Start menu has ads as does the lock screen. Taskbar notifications that are simply ads for other products are also a problem. What’s worse is that even people who pay for Windows (i.e. not just getting it “free” with a computer) still face seeing the ads.

File Explorer ads, though, don’t happen often. We’ll need to wait and see if Microsoft eventually rolls this out or if user backlash will be significant enough to change its mind.

Read next: How to ungroup icons on the taskbar in Windows 11

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