Windows 11 Now Has Start Menu Ads. Here’s How to Get Rid of Them.

You may have always wanted your own Start menu to upsell you on Windows apps. But if not, this guide is for you.

Some things should never have ads on them, and it’s the unofficial policy of that desktop computer start menus are among them. And yet, start menu are just what Windows 11 has recently included ads on.

Microsoft calls them recommendations, and they tell you which apps you should buy in the Windows app store “from a small set of curated developers.”

Thankfully, there’s a simple process that can revoke these ads and leave your start menus squeaky clean once more. Here’s what to do.

How to Personalize Your Start Menu

Once you’ve updated your computer to the most recent Windows 11 version (as of April 23, 2024), you’ll see the Windows app recommendations when you open your start menu. If that’s the case, here’s where to navigate in order to reverse that particular element of the update:

  • Settings > Personalization > Start > “Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more”

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Once you’re at the Start section, you’ll be able to toggle off the switch that’s labeled “Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more.”

This area will also have a range of other toggles that you might want to switch off as well, such as the functions that show your most used apps, your recently used apps, or your app list.

Why Windows 11 Updated Its Start Menu

The new start menu change comes from the “KB5036980” update, which includes several other patches. Here’s what the patch notes say about how the start menu change works and what the benefits are:

“The Recommended section of the Start menu will show some Microsoft Store apps. These apps come from a small set of curated developers. This will help you to discover some of the great apps that are available.”

To be fair, you may be looking for some cool Windows apps. Curation can be a problem when it comes to surfacing genuinely useful applications, and there are plenty of options to chose from in the Windows store.

If that’s the case for you, you won’t need to take any action, as you’ve already been opted into these recommendations.

You Can Use Copilot to Avoid Start Menus Entirely

If any of those new start menu ads are advertising for Copilot’s new Windows functionality, they might earn a click: As we covered last month, Microsoft is eager to roll out AI tools across a ton of its products, and Windows 11 is included.

With the new updates, any Windows 11 user can search online with Copilot, which can then apply the data it has found in order to generate all-new content.

Users can also talk to Copilot directly in order to change their computer settings or pull up the right files, addressing one of the biggest reasons anyone pulls up their start menu in the first place.

On the whole, Copilot for Windows can’t deliver all the email-drafting and video-call-summarizing capability that users will get from its Microsoft 365 counterpart, but it’s definitely smarter than any start menu you’ve dealt with in the past, and it comes without any ads.

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Written by:
Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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