File Explorer may show ads on Windows 11

Microsoft is testing ads for File Explorer, and people don't like it.

File Explore ad mockup
File Explore ad mockup

In future updates of Windows 11, File Explorer may also include ads. Alongside the many improvements and tabs, Microsoft also appears to be working on a new way to promote products in File Explorer in the latest Insider build available in the Dev Channel.

According to a screenshot (via Bleeping Computer), the advertisement appears above the folder listing and below the address bar. In the screenshot, the message reads: “Write with confidence across documents, email, and the web with advanced writing suggestions from Microsoft Editor” with a “Learn more” button that opens the web browser to the Microsoft 365 website.

Explorer ad
Explorer ad (Source: @flobo09)

Of course, the new attempt from the company to push its products was not well received since most people would agree that showing ads in File Explorer is among the worst places.

This is not the first time Microsoft has tried to put ads in the default file manager. In the past, the company has shown an advertisement to lure users into using OneDrive.

OneDrive ad in Explorer
OneDrive ad in Explorer (Source:@teroalhonen )

Also, the company has tested a similar approach to push its Office web apps in the WordPad app. Another example is the recommendation to use Microsoft Edge when searching for Google Chrome or another browser in the Start menu.

Update March 15, 2022: Microsoft has said that ads in File Explorer found in build 22572 were not supposed to be seen externally, and the app will continue to be available without advertisements. In a comment to The Verge, senior program manager for Windows, Brandon LeBlanc, said that “this was an experimental banner that was not intended to be published externally and was turned off. However, it’s clear that the company is capable of showing advertisements, and the statement doesn’t rule out that at one point the default file manager may someday start showing ads.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].