Let’s Talk About Microsoft’s “Great” Idea to Place Adverts On Your Windows 10 File Explorer

Maybe by "free" they meant "with ads"...

Windows 10 Keyboard Shortcuts

Ever since Windows 10 launched back in 2015, there has been controversy after controversy surrounding the operating system. Starting with how Microsoft was asking people to upgrade to Windows 10, free or not, it was being a bit too pushy.

Latest headlines about Windows 10 (negative of course), show that the operating system is now showing ads on the file explorer. Our Editor, Martin Gicheru, mentioned that he had seen a rather intrusive ad on his file explorer. The ad seems to be promoting Microsoft’s own service, OneDrive – this is despite already having paid for such a subscription. Not surprising, I saw the same ad appear on my file explorer last night. The ad is asking users to upgrade to the paid subscription that includes a 1TB cloud storage as well as an Office 365 subscription, all for $6.99 per month. Reports say that this ad has been around for a few months now, so you might have come across it as well.

This is not the first time Microsoft has crammed ads into the Windows UI. There have been reports of lock screen ads disguised as backgrounds, notification ads for Microsoft Edge, and a strange pop-up ad for Microsoft’s personal shopping assistant in Chrome.

Ads on the lock screen

The first time this was reported was back at the start of 2016. The ad was in form of the lock screen wallpaper and it was that of Rise of the Tomb Raider, which launched in January 2016 for the PC. Disguised as a simple wallpaper, the ad still did not amuse those who came across it. If you don’t want your lock screen turned into an advertisement board, you can change it. Go to Settings, Personalization, and then Lock Screen. There’s a box that reads “Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen.” Uncheck it. I honestly don’t think there is anything “fun” about Windows, let alone wanting to receive tips and tricks about the OS on my lock screen.

Browser targeted ads – Google Chrome to be exact

Microsoft wants you to use their “new” browser, Edge. This is clear through a taskbar pop-up ad that was spotted towards the end of 2016 by PC World editor, Brad Chacos. The Edge advert is part of Microsoft’s “tips and tricks” feature *SMH*.
To turn that off, you need to go to Settings > System > Notifications & actions and turn off the “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions as you use Windows” toggle.

That’s not the only ad you get, people have reported seeing “tips” in the action center (notification area) that tell them Chrome is bad for their battery life, and Edge would be better – way to go Microsoft, win us over by bashing your competition. This is just an ad under the guise of a helpful suggestion, and the sad part is, naïve people will fall for this and actually uninstall Chrome. (Please, lets not make this a debate of whether Chrome uses a lot of battery or not, that is a story for another day).

courtesy of ExtremeTech

We have also seen reports of ads targeted at Chrome users, again. The advert pushes for what is known as a “Personal Shopping Assistant for Chrome”. The plugin’s goal is to simplify shopping by saving products you browse, informing you when prices change, and allowing you to share this information with friends. Quite useful if you ask me, but no one wants to se such adverts on their action center.

courtesy of ExtremeTech

Were there strings attached to Windows 10 being free?

These repeat offenses by Microsoft, make me think, maybe Microsoft is up to something here. They seem to be pushing for the idea of OS ads, aggressively, at that. Was the free upgrade to Windows 10 that we got really free? or are we just now paying for the OS through ads?

Microsoft has to make money somehow out of Windows 10. They did that with all other Windows versions before. I would not be surprised, if Microsoft continues pushing advertisements on Windows UI and I would still not be surprised if they asked people to pay a small amount to get rid of the ads (Android people feel me).

Here’s an idea to prepare ourselves for the OS-ads-apocalypse, someone needs to invent an ad blocker for the operating system. Hurry. We’re almost out of time.