Windows 11 pushes Start menu ads too far (build 22635.3495)

That's it! Now the Windows 11 Start menu bloated with advertisements.

Windows 11 KB5037000
Windows 11 KB5037000 / Image: Mauro Huculak
  • This preview rolls out a new form of advertisement inside the Start menu.
  • In addition, build 22635.3495 rolls out Copilot as an app, adds new Linked Devices settings, and improves Spotlight for desktops.

UPDATED 4/15/2024: Microsoft is now pushing the update KB5037000 (build 22635.3495) for Windows 11 in the Beta Channel of the Windows Insider Program with controversial changes and various improvements for existing features.

According to the official changes, Windows 11 build 22635.3495 introduces new app recommendations in the Start menu and minor changes to the Spotlight experience. This update also introduces a new “Linked devices” page in the Settings app and begins to roll out the change that makes the Copilot experience behave exactly like a desktop application.

What’s new on Windows 11 build 22635.3495

These are the changes that testers are getting on April 12 through the Beta Channel.

1. Start menu ads

Starting with update KB5037000, Microsoft is experimenting with suggesting apps you may be interested in downloading from the Microsoft Store under the “Recommended” section.

Start menu app promotions
Start menu app promotions / Image: Microsoft

According to the company, this is a new way to make apps more discoverable, but users already label this strategy as another form of advertising. They are not wrong.

The approach isn’t totally new either since the company has already tried something similar on Windows 10.

If the company decides to push app promotions, we could argue that every aspect of the Start menu is now being monetized. Remember that every setup also comes pre-installed with shortcuts promoting apps from partners (such as Instagram, Photoshop, Twitter (X), and many others) in the “Pinned” section.

Start menu Pinned promotions
Start menu Pinned promotions / Image: Mauro Huculak

In addition, in recent updates, Microsoft also introduced account-related notifications in the profile menu from the Start menu that remind users of any missing information on their accounts and promote backing up files to the cloud. However, if you look at this from another angle, you can notice that the company is trying to lure you into using OneDrive, meaning more advertising to subscribe to the cloud storage and the Microsoft 365 offerings.

Start menu profile promotions
Start menu profile promotions / Image: Mauro Huculak

I’m only focusing on the Start menu. The Windows Search home experience also shows search recommendations for luring users into using Bing, and the Widgets dashboard promotes a lot of marketing content.

Since this feature will likely be enabled by default, as I can’t think of anyone wanting this experience in the Start menu, the company is also building an option to disable the recommendations from Settings > Personalization > Start. On this page, you will have to turn off the “Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more” toggle switch.

Start settings disable app promotions
Start settings disable app promotions / Image: @PhatomOfEarth

Microsoft also says that this feature will only be available in the Beta Channel for users in the United States and will not be available for commercial devices.

2. Copilot as an app

As previously unveiled on build 26080 from the Dev Channel, starting on build 22635.3495 in the Beta Channel, you will have the ability to undock the Copilot side panel to interact with the chatbot as a regular app that you can resize and move around the desktop.

Copilot regular app
Copilot regular app / Image: Microsoft

The app experience is identical to installing the web version of Copilot as an app through Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome.

3. New Linked devices page

In the Settings app, specifically in the “Accounts” section, you will now find a new “Linked devices” page that lists your computers and Xbox consoles currently signed in with your Microsoft account, similar to the “Devices” page in your account online.

Accounts section with Linked devices
Accounts section with Linked devices / Image: Mauro Huculak

Inside the page, you can file a list of all your registered devices with basic information, such as serial number, processor, memory, operating system details, and links to find the device and warranty.

Linked devices settings page
Linked devices settings page / Image: Mauro Huculak

4. Spotlight for desktop

Furthermore, this new preview of the operating system is experimenting with some changes to the Spotlight experience when you right-click or double-click the icon.

For example, one of the behaviors includes a full-screen view of the image when right-clicking the icon or launching the image in a new Microsoft Edge session, showing the image in a Bing result.

The second behavior opens the flyout but not in full-screen mode when right-clicking the icon. If you double-click, the icon will open the flyout in full-screen mode.

Spotlight right-click not full screen
Spotlight right-click not full screen / Image: Mauro Huculak

This flight also ships with some known issues for the Copilot and Widgets.

In addition to this build for Insiders, Microsoft also rolled out a preview of the next Patch Tuesday update (KB5036980) in the Release Preview Channel, which includes various fixes for networking, kernel, ReFS, dual-boot, and more.

Install build 22635.3495

To download and install the Windows 11 build 22635.3495, enroll your device in the Beta Channel through the “Windows Insider Program” settings from the “Update & Security” section. Once you enroll the computer in the program, you can download the build from the “Windows Update” settings by turning on the “Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available” option and clicking the “Check for Updates” button.

Update April 15, 2024: This guide has been updated with additional information about the “Linked devices” page.

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].