Microsoft is turning Windows 11's Start Menu into an advertisement delivery system

MrGuvernment

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The services are installed but under O365 Intune and Domain Group Policy defaults they are stopped and you can't even launch the Microsoft store unless Admin specifically enables them. The only service it keeps running is the XBoxGipSvc, which is accessory management primarily for dealing with Bluetooth devices mostly headsets.
Ya, for me, why even have them as part of the OS, another attack vector and bloat. It was, I think Windows 10 PRO, they have candy crush and all that crap default install, PRO is considered a 'work" OS, not for home users, but lets keep pushing the boundaries!
 

Lakados

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Ya, for me, why even have them as part of the OS, another attack vector and bloat. It was, I think Windows 10 PRO, they have candy crush and all that crap default install, PRO is considered a 'work" OS, not for home users, but lets keep pushing the boundaries!
Yeah once added to a domain or Intune that stuff all goes away but until then is basically Home Edition with extra features.
 

Modred189

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Yeah, a solid 3 weeks of my February is spent making sure our data collection and retention methods and policies meet legal requirements and it sucks, in my case it's mostly personal info related to Minors, and much of the laws surrounding what I am allowed to keep and store are in direct opposition to my reporting requirements to the government. Like they wrote the laws without checking their own paperwork for it, I'm not kidding while doing one Ministry report this year they got mad and were threatening to deny funding for not giving a whole bunch of data over and our only response was, well according to "this law I don't remember the name of" I am not allowed to store that data so I can't give it to you because I don't have it. So then they were like "well these people gave it to us so you can too", for it only later to be revealed that those other guys were then slapped with a huge fine for having the data to report.

FML...

I feel you.

I got drawn into the GDPR implementation at my company, and implementing it was challenging to say the least. It's bureaucratic mess.

That doesn't mean we get rid of these privacy regulations. That's why these regulations need to be better.

They need to make it simple for companies to simply state

"We don't collect data. Period. Server logs are only used for troubleshooting, and are all automatically purged within 30 days. Customer transaction and payment history records are also purged within 30 days of debts being settled, and we maintain absolutely nothing."

If a company states the above (and live up to it) they should be in the clear without bureaucratic red tape.

Some red tape is going to be necessary for those that DO need to use data though. We are talking drug makers CRO's who conduct Clinical Trials, and financial businesses dealing with your retirement funds, etc, but they are used to regulation and know how to handle it.

GDPR, like most things the EU does - shows evidence of there being way too many chefs, with way too little subject matter expertise, and as a result it has become difficult to manage for little to no reason.
It's worse than that for us lawyers. We have to educate the tech AND business teams about what these laws mean (and they usually screw it up even then). Plus, to do privacy properly, you REALLy need to inventory your data. All of it.
Everywhere.

Now, imagine a company with 200K+ employees, 200k websites, 20-ish mobile applications, and trying to comply with laws a regulations like the ones we have is impossible.
Take CCPA/CPRA. The FINAL regs were due in July. They MIGHT have HALF of them done by the end of the year, and there isn't even a generic ETA on the DRAFT regs for the other half. Yet the enforcement date is 1/1/23, and this is California we are talking about. They have ALREADY fined companies millions. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomcha...its-an-innovation-imperative/?sh=794f679c56b3

So, IMHO, these laws can go pound a whole of sand, and people like Max Schrems and Allistair McTaggart can go puree themselves.





I kid.
I have a great job because of those donuts. But that doesn't make them NOT stupid ideologues who have never actually DONE business.
 

DPI

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Clicking on and buying from ads isn’t even where the value is any more - all about that data collection and building profiles about “people”. You don’t even have to click the ad, all that matters is that M$ can use other metrics (mouse movement/location, webcam tracking, microphone, how long you linger when the ad changes to something else etc) to correlate what you “engage” with. *That* is valuable.
100%. Microsoft calls this user profiling "Insights". Being able to slice, dice and package behavioral profiles for their own use as well as sell to third parties is worth far more than the few pennies from people clicking on ads (multiplied by millions of clicks on those ads and it adds up, granted). They defend the practice "well the data is anonymized" - meaning names are disassociated from the dataset and that makes everything okay. But even then there's a big asterisk on the anonymizing part. Other companies doing similar will sell a separate dataset with all the names present but the behavioral datapoints missing, and then a client buying user data just merges both datasets for the complete picture.

The moment MS started encrypting telemetry and removed a full-disable switch is when we were screwed, and they began to cram more and more of the tens of thousands of collection datapoints behind the black curtain of "Basic level telemetry necessary for system operation". Financial incentive + lack of oversight = they're doing the worst version of what you think they could, because they can, because they're losing money if they don't, and because (they argue) others are doing it too. This is why Apple's perception-creation campaign about being the "Privacy oriented company" is also slowly being revealed by researchers as ..questionable.

Monolithic megacorps are gonna megacorp, the only thing I was ever creeped by were the MS astroturfers defending the encrypted telemetry thing "It's just error reports they use to improve Windows. And besides, do you have something to hide?"
 
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DukenukemX

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There's a reason why I dumped Windows entirely earlier this year for Linux Mint. I've been using Linux Mint but for gaming my primary PC was using Windows for gaming. Linux has gotten to the point where I can use it exclusively without ever needing to go back to Windows. When I heard about Windows 11, I knew what direction Microsoft wanted to go and I didn't like it. Microsoft "accidentally" put adds in File Explorer earlier this year, so it shouldn't be a surprise that you now have ads in your start menu.

linux mint meme.jpg
 

xDiVolatilX

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My Win 8.1 license that worked all of these years on win 10 finally stopped working on win 11 so I had to buy a key for 25 bucks. How are some of you still using an older win 7 key ?
 

GotNoRice

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My Win 8.1 license that worked all of these years on win 10 finally stopped working on win 11 so I had to buy a key for 25 bucks. How are some of you still using an older win 7 key ?

What do you mean when you say that it stopped working? Were you trying to do an upgrade from 10 to 11, or a fresh install of 11 using your 8.1 key? If the latter, did you try installing 10 and doing an upgrade instead? Honestly I've never heard of someone with a working Windows 10 install not being able to upgrade to 11 (aside from system requirements issues, which can be bypassed), since they essentially use the same digital license. I have found however that if you want to upgrade from 7 or 8.1, your best bet is to upgrade to 10 first, instead of trying to upgrade directly to 11.

Although you should be able to input an older key directly into the Windows 10 or 11 installer and have it work, I usually use method that is a bit more cumbersome, but it has given me a 100% success rate.

1. Enable CSM / Legacy BIOS and disable Secure Boot.
2. Install Windows 7 or 8.1 (clean install from boot media) and upgrade to Windows 10. The entire purpose of this step is because the Windows 10 "free upgrade" (that still works) will turn your Key into a digital license that is tied to your specific hardware.
3. Disable CSM / Enable UEFI and enable Secure Boot.
4. Install Windows 10 (clean install from boot media; overwrite previous install). Windows 10 will automatically activate based on the digital license that was created before, since your hardware is the same.
5. Upgrade to Windows 11 (using System Requirements bypass if necessary).

You could actually skip steps 3 and 4 if you prefer CSM/Legacy Bios over UEFI, but I think UEFI is a better bet at this point if your system supports it.
 

Lakados

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My Win 8.1 license that worked all of these years on win 10 finally stopped working on win 11 so I had to buy a key for 25 bucks. How are some of you still using an older win 7 key ?
HP discovered a lot of their win 8 and 8.1 keys that were for machines sold in Russia were resold some years back and they retroactively burned them.
 

xDiVolatilX

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A fresh install of win 11. I don't like upgrades and have always done clean installs. So I bought a new key for 25. I wish it was a retail key but most likely it is an OEM key.
 
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xDiVolatilX

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Dude... .tell me this fixes the right-click "Show more options" bullshit...
Like some else mentioned now I exclusively press the windows key and type the first few letters of whatever program or file I need or am looking for. It's actually faster than even having the classic start menu. Then the few programs that I use a lot I just find the file and send to desktop.
 
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Tactlesss

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This is stupid and dumb for all of the previously stated reasons. And also I'm not buying what they're selling because they don't sell what I want to buy. The same groups that they should be able to sell anything to anyone who get their political money from people who think that people like me shouldn't exist.
So Fuck them and let'em fight for the scraps....or something.
 

DukenukemX

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Like some else mentioned now I exclusively press the windows key and type the first few letters of whatever program or file I need or am looking for. It's actually faster than even having the classic start menu. Then the few programs that I use a lot I just find the file and send to desktop.
I do this too except I sometimes forget the name of the program I need and have a hard time finding it. Though in Linux the start menu has categories so it makes it easier to find something I forget the name of. For example I need an application that encodes videos but I forget the name, I can look under Sound & Video and there's Handbrake and WinFF. The issue with the Windows start menu is that it's deliberately made to only be useful as a search function. Windows 11 somehow found a way to make it worse. Windows 7 has a more functional start menu than Windows 11. There's a reason why 3rd party start menu's like Start11 are getting more popular. Someone with a tin foil hat might say that by making the Start Menu into a search function that Microsoft is getting excellent analytics for when they collect data on you through their telemetry that you think you disabled.
 

cpufrost

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Dude... .tell me this fixes the right-click "Show more options" bullshit...
Set this in registry:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InprocServer32]
@=""

You can find a bunch of these here as well:

https://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/majorgeeks_registry_tweaks.html

The show more options when right clicking is probably one of the DUMBEST things ever they've done to Windows 11! I mean at this rate why not get rid of right click?!
 
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The show more options when right clicking is probably one of the DUMBEST things ever they've done to Windows 11! I mean at this rate why not get rid of right click?!

Completely stupid and the deal-breaker that made me install Windows 10 on my new PCs that came with 11.

It's a "feature" designed by idiots who think PCs are nothing more than a way of bootstrapping Facebook.
 
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zamardii12

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Set this in registry:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InprocServer32]
@=""

You can find a bunch of these here as well:

https://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/majorgeeks_registry_tweaks.html

The show more options when right clicking is probably one of the DUMBEST things ever they've done to Windows 11! I mean at this rate why not get rid of right click?!
Doesn't work. Still shows the "Show More Options" at the bottom and clicking it shows me a LOT more options.
 

cpufrost

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You have to restart.
It does work, I have a clickable (reg) file that puts it in the registry and use it on dozens of 11 PCs with success.
 

MaZa

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Oh boy... I think I go back to Windows 10 this evening. There is only so much BS that I can tolerate and W11 has been grinding on my nerves. I am sad to lose AutoHDR and HDR Calibration Tool though.
 

p05ta1

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window 11 work ok for me . I ok with games and firefox .
it is only ok after the 1st big update. also like i posted i can only really use it with startallback to get a usefull old menu.
 

travm

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I haven't Actually used the start menu in ten years. It was actually obsolete in back in 2002 when quick launch became a thing. It's now just something you use when the search fails.
 

somebrains

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My main issue with ads would be interrupting my experience if I’m consuming content.
We all have been thru that content consumption model change.
Doesn’t matter what device or OS I’m using, the content itself is access tiered.

So using a Linux distro won’t help, I have been meaning to try Min browser to watch uninterrupted YouTube.
I know there’s a lot of Brave users doing just that.
Eventually the maintainers will have to decide what to let thru, someone will offer them enough $.

Work wise, there should be a way to turn off advertising in the Pro version, or I imagine the workstation version if you’re on Xeon/Threadripper.

In app upsells are spreading in the open source tooling I use, I just turned off “pro” version ads of some extensions I was trying in VS Code last week.
I got pissed when I hit the “pay me more” wall using Adobe CC.

Apple products I expect a certain level of up sell.

How the ad stream is managed is more of a concern than an ad stream existing.
There has already been issues with payloads being compromised to attack client machines in the past.

I guess I’ll carve out some time when I start studying for the CEH in a couple months to use the ad vectors as target practice.
 
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Modred189

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I haven't Actually used the start menu in ten years. It was actually obsolete in back in 2002 when quick launch became a thing. It's now just something you use when the search fails.
This. Muscle memory of windows key + app name has replaced it for me. Most common apps have task bar icons or are in a launcher ( steam).

That said, I looked at my start since this thread came up and haven't noticed anything nefarious.
 

DPI

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My main issue with ads would be interrupting my experience if I’m consuming content.
We all have been thru that content consumption model change.
Doesn’t matter what device or OS I’m using, the content itself is access tiered.

So using a Linux distro won’t help, I have been meaning to try Min browser to watch uninterrupted YouTube.
I know there’s a lot of Brave users doing just that.
Eventually the maintainers will have to decide what to let thru, someone will offer them enough $.

Work wise, there should be a way to turn off advertising in the Pro version, or I imagine the workstation version if you’re on Xeon/Threadripper.

In app upsells are spreading in the open source tooling I use, I just turned off “pro” version ads of some extensions I was trying in VS Code last week.
I got pissed when I hit the “pay me more” wall using Adobe CC.

Apple products I expect a certain level of up sell.

How the ad stream is managed is more of a concern than an ad stream existing.
There has already been issues with payloads being compromised to attack client machines in the past.

I guess I’ll carve out some time when I start studying for the CEH in a couple months to use the ad vectors as target practice.
Yeah for Brave I've noticed an uptick in TV commercials, as well ad buys on major podcasts like JRE which is not cheap - always a bad sign. Too many projects that started small and built a rep peddling "privacy" get bigger and the monetization becomes irresistible. NordVPN another one. There's a whole fake privacy industry where the products abandoned actual or at least okay privacy long ago and are coasting on inertia selling overpriced pseudo-privacy to normies.

I finally spent some time digging into how deeply Edge is hooked into Windows and how much telemetry its constantly generating and I'm removing Edge from my next debloated Windows install ISO (I normally use MSMG Toolkit, but I'm testing NTLite again as well). Just too many conflict of interest shenanigans when the OS vendor is also the browser vendor. That it was so important to MS to have a firstparty browser conveys something, just like it's so important to Google and Apple.
 
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DPI

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Work wise, there should be a way to turn off advertising in the Pro version, or I imagine the workstation version if you’re on Xeon/Threadripper.
Sadly the "workstation version" officially supported by AMD even for Threadripper Pro (WRX80) is just stock Windows 10 Pro and 11 Pro. Thats it, the entirety of their OS support for their non-Epyc platforms. Imagine you bought a $7000 CPU, $1000 MB and $1200 in DDR4 and you're greeted with shopping suggestions, hollywood gossip and Candy Crush.

That MS is adamant about no true Workstation SKU, and Pro is really just Home with domain joining, is telling. LTSC doesn't count because it's a different beast and requires an ELA, which locks out SMBs and retail users.
 
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DukenukemX

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So using a Linux distro won’t help,
That all depends on your level of intelligence. Also yes it would. Besides the inherit nature of open source which means you can't do something for money without consequence, (looking at you CentOS), but there's also the fact that GNU Linux distros don't have a specific UI. If I want I can switch from Cinnamon UI to Mate, to KDE, to whatever I want by just logging out and back in. Which none of those GUI's have any sort of ads in the start menu or anywhere. Even if they did it would be one of many UI's people could switch to. I use Cinnamon because it's the most Windows like UI, but if they decided to inject ads then I'd probably switch to KDE or wait for someone to fork it since it's open source. This is why Open Office got forked into Iibre, and why Emby got forked into JellyFin. Someone does want to take their project to make monetary income but all that does is just force people to fork it. You can't fork Windows when Microsoft pushes for ads in a start menu.
Apple products I expect a certain level of up sell.
Lets not get crazy here.

I haven't Actually used the start menu in ten years. It was actually obsolete in back in 2002 when quick launch became a thing. It's now just something you use when the search fails.
If they're putting ads in the start menu then clearly people are using it. You wouldn't put ads in places where people won't see it.
Yeah for Brave I've noticed an uptick in TV commercials, as well ad buys on major podcasts like JRE which is not cheap - always a bad sign. Too many projects that started small and built a rep peddling "privacy" get bigger and the monetization becomes irresistible. NordVPN another one. There's a whole fake privacy industry where the products abandoned actual or at least okay privacy long ago and are coasting on inertia selling overpriced pseudo-privacy to normies.

I finally spent some time digging into how deeply Edge is hooked into Windows and how much telemetry its constantly generating and I'm removing Edge from my next debloated Windows install ISO (I normally use MSMG Toolkit, but I'm testing NTLite again as well). Just too many conflict of interest shenanigans when the OS vendor is also the browser vendor. That it was so important to MS to have a firstparty browser conveys something, just like it's so important to Google and Apple.
Brave is a web browser for people who don't realize it's just Chrome. Edge is now Chrome but Microsoft flavored. Looks like I gotta teach some people here. Why not FireFox? I use it and don't see problems. You know by next year Google is going to use Manifest V3 which won't block ads as well as V2. What do you think browsers like Edge and Opera will use when Google makes the switch? Brave may not, but you're delaying the inevitable by using Brave. FireFox is one of the few browsers that didn't just take Chromium and gave it a different skin. This is beginner stuff here.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ublock-origin/
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/sponsorblock/
 

DPI

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Brave is a web browser for people who don't realize it's just Chrome. Edge is now Chrome but Microsoft flavored. Looks like I gotta teach some people here.
Yep but I assumed it went without saying. But it's more nuanced than "Edge is just Chrome" oversimplification. And probably beyond scope of the thread. Firefox is fine.

My strat is just splitting up browsing activity across a few of the least worst browsers so no one company gets the benefit of collecting 100% of the activity data... as easily.
 
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t1337duder

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That's funny, I thought Windows 10 already did that. Or maybe it's just a bunch of other bloated shit in the start menu after a fresh install.
 

atarione

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I have been using Firefox almost exclusively since 2004~ .... I never have adds interrupt YouTube videos on my browser... mostly no ads ad at all. with a few well known add-ons / plugins running

I just looked at my windows 11 start menu and (yeah I have turned a few things off..but what am I supposed to be all P*ssed about that hasnt happened since window 8~ My smart phone has more tmobile crap I am stuck with than windows 11??

windows11Start.jpg
 

sharknice

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I have been using Firefox almost exclusively since 2004~ .... I never have adds interrupt YouTube videos on my browser... mostly no ads ad at all. with a few well known add-ons / plugins running

I just looked at my windows 11 start menu and (yeah I have turned a few things off..but what am I supposed to be all P*ssed about that hasnt happened since window 8~ My smart phone has more tmobile crap I am stuck with than windows 11??

View attachment 530319
Don't buy your phone from a carrier, buy from Amazon or something. I've done this for the past 10 years or so and it's so much better not having any of that crap on there.
 

DukenukemX

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Don't buy your phone from a carrier, buy from Amazon or something. I've done this for the past 10 years or so and it's so much better not having any of that crap on there.
What I do is buy a phone that is fully supported by LineageOS. The more popular the product, the better the support. My Moto X4 is on the list but I wouldn't say that it's got a lot of support from the community. Google devices has the most support from what I've seen. Once you have the ability to install a custom rom then you can remove bloat and block ads more effectively.

https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/#motorola
 

DPI

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That's funny, I thought Windows 10 already did that. Or maybe it's just a bunch of other bloated shit in the start menu after a fresh install.
It's more that 11 has ratcheted user experience and privacy in the wrong direction another few clicks, just like every prior new version of Windows.

Things that used to have opt-outs don't, things that used to be uninstallable arent, things that used to be customizable with a reg tweak have been removed... which some might chalk up to "code cleanup" rather than deliberate to remove user choice, yet there is a ton of deprecated shit in the reg that's decades old and still being copied forward.
 
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