Long time Windows users will know that, if you begin seeing ads while using your computer, this typically means that you’ve accidentally downloaded some form of malware. However, some Windows 11 users have begun reporting that they’re seeing ads within the File Explorer program itself on Windows 11.
According to Twitter user @flobo09, after installing the latest preview build of Windows 11, he saw an ad within File Explorer calling for people to check out Microsoft Editor, their AI-powered writing and grammar assistant. Between the directory bar and the actual file contents is a banner advertising Microsoft Editor with a button to ‘learn more’ too. Microsoft, for their part, has since responded by stating that it was just an experimental banner that they were testing out internally. It was never meant to be published in a build for users, and has since been turned off.
That brief reply makes it clear that, while there doesn’t seem to be any plans for ads within Windows 11 anytime soon, Microsoft is definitely considering it as they didn’t rule out including it in the future either. This is also not the first time banner ads for other Microsoft products have cropped up within File Explorer. Back in 2017, Windows 10 users reported seeing banner ads for OneDrive, which Microsoft then claimed was just a ‘tip’ for the user. And just a year before that, Microsoft would occasionally put ads within the Windows 10 lock screen and Start Menu.
Of course, while this might be a little jarring for long time Windows users, ads within your system are pretty common in other operating systems. Those who buy a new Apple device for example might see the odd pop up or two every now and then advertising offers for Apple Music and iCloud, while Android smartphone manufacturers have often included ads within the system too. Xiaomi is perhaps the most notable when it comes to the latter, and we’ve even previously covered how to turn them off when using smartphones running MIUI 12.