If those annoying “suggested apps” ads on the Windows 10 Start menu weren’t annoying enough, Microsoft is now putting ads for Office 365 in the File Explorer itself. It looks like the ads are starting to roll out to those on the beta version of the Creators Update, and are advertising the benefits of an Office 365 subscription, which for $6.99 a month gives you 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to turn off the ads. From the File Explorer, head to View > Options > Change folder and search options. In the Folder Options dialog box, browse to the View tab, navigate down the Advanced Settings list until you find a setting titled “Show sync provider notifications” and uncheck that option.
These ads are promoting Microsoft’s services, but they set a precedent that may lead to ads from third-party providers in the future. This isn’t the first time Microsoft put ads in its operating system — I’ve seen ads on the lock screen, the taskbar, and those annoying suggestions in the Start menu — but by targeting File Explorer, it’s showing that it is expanding its efforts to offer “tips” to customers. In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft said:
The new tips notifications within the File Explorer in Windows 10 were designed to help Windows 10 customers by providing quick, easy information to enhance the experience relative to storage and cloud file management. That said, with Windows 10 customers can easily opt out of receiving these notifications if they choose.
Unlike free services like browsers, users have to pay an upfront fee for an operating system, and while Windows 10 was offered for free, you still had to purchase Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to be eligible for the upgrade. And although Microsoft says that customers can easily opt out, this sort of a “feature” needs to be opt-in, and not enabled by default.