Microsoft has started displaying ads within the Start menu of Windows 11, a move that marks a new direction in the operating system's development. This feature, which Microsoft refers to as "recommended apps," aims to help users discover new applications while providing a boost to developers by promoting their products directly through the OS interface.

The feature was initially tested with a small group of Windows Insiders and, despite the brief testing period, has now been rolled out to all users as part of the latest Windows update, KB5036980. These ads are not just for any apps but are curated, highlighting a selection from developers chosen by Microsoft. This integration reflects Microsoft's strategy to increase user interaction with the Microsoft Store and its offerings.

Microsoft Introduces Instant Games on Windows 11
Additionally, Microsoft plans to revamp the Microsoft Store’s functionality later this month. Users will gain the ability to select the drives and folders where they want to install games, allowing for better organization of their game library.

The ads appear in a dedicated "Recommended" section of the Start menu, which previously only suggested recently used apps or documents. Microsoft assures that these recommendations are designed to enrich the user's software arsenal by suggesting only high-quality and relevant apps.

For those who prefer a cleaner interface, Microsoft has provided an option to disable these ads. Users can navigate to Settings > Personalization > Start, where they can toggle off the "Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more" setting. Microsoft plans to roll it out automatically to all supported devices in the upcoming weeks.