Microsoft has taken the next step in pushing advertising on customers of its Windows 10 operating system, with users reporting an advertisement for Microsoft OneDrive now appearing in their File Explorer.
Windows 10 has been repeatedly reprimanded by technology journalists over the past year for the increasing amounts of advertising that are baked into the system. Advertisements in various forms have appeared in the Start menu, the lock screen, the taskbar, in the Windows Store, and various other areas. This seems to be the first time that users are noticing them in the File Explorer, the application that allows users to look through their documents and applications on their computer.
The advertisements that Microsoft has chosen to display typically do not look like traditional advertisements, they are designed to look more like helpful suggestions or tips and tricks to get the most out Windows 10. Mark Wilson, writing in BetaNews, notes how Microsoft pretends these ads “serve users more than the company,” and accuses them of “doing nothing more than abusing its position, using Windows 10 to promote its own tools and services, or those with which it has marketing arrangements.”
Not only are these advertisements invasive, but they are also incredibly difficult to turn off. The OneDrive upgrade offer displayed in File Explorer can only be removed by going into the advanced settings of the “folder and search options,” and unchecking the “show sync provider notifications” option. This is because it is not controlled by the same advertising system as the rest of the ads on Windows 10. However, whilst this does remove the promotion, it may also prevent people using the free 5GB version of OneDrive that is included with Windows 10 from seeing potentially important notifications about their cloud data.
Wilson argues that the “sheer prevalence of ads in myriad forms is making Microsoft’s actions indefensible.” Microsoft has previously found itself being taken to court for its anti-competitive behavior with Internet Explorer, and Wilson believes that the company has “learned nothing” from its past lawsuits.