Some Windows users see OneDrive ads in the user session menu

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 7, 2022

Microsoft Windows users who click on the user name in the Start Menu may see a new "Back up your files" advertisement there. Placed prominently with the only splash of color at the top of the menu, it advertises the company's OneDrive service.

windows onedrive ad start user

First spotted by Albacore, it appears that Microsoft has found another location to advertise its services. Some might say that it is Microsoft's right to promote its own services, considering that it owns the operating system. Others may object, stating that Microsoft should not plaster advertisement across the entire operating system.

Microsoft tested ads in various locations of the Windows operating system, from File Explorer over Search to Windows Widgets and Microsoft Edge. All have in common that they advertise Microsoft services and products; some free and some paid.

In this particular case, it is debatable whether OneDrive is the best option when it comes to backing up files. The service is integrated deeply into new versions of Windows and enabled automatically when users sign-in with a Microsoft account.

Microsoft shifted strategy regarding Windows some time ago by making it a vessel for additional revenue. Getting users to use OneDrive, and in the next step, to subscribe to a paid plan, adds to Microsoft's revenue and pushes users into the company's ecosystem even further.

windows settings suggestions

Tests on several desktop systems running Windows 11 did not return the "back up your files" listing in the context menu. It is possible that this is a limited trial run or limited to certain regions or based on other information that Microsoft has at its disposal.

Closing Words

It is clear that Microsoft won't change the course in the near future. To the contrary, it may even intensify advertisement on Windows machines. News broke recently that Microsoft is working on a new product that ties Windows with Windows 365 even further. The main idea behind this is to sell or rent low-cost devices to businesses and home users, and generate revenue from advertisement and subscriptions.

It would not be that much of a problem if Windows would include an option to turn all of these ads off in the settings. Such options exist for some locations. On Windows 11, there is an option under Privacy & Security > General, to disable suggested content in the Start Menu.

Most Windows users and organizations won't switch to another operating system because of this. Migrating to Linux, which seems the only option going forward, as Windows 7 and 8.1 will run out of support in January 2023, is a daunting task for most.

Now You: what is your take on this?

Some Windows users see OneDrive ads in the user session menu
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Some Windows users see OneDrive ads in the user session menu
Some Windows users see a new "back up your files" advertisement in the user session menu in the Windows Start Menu.
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  1. Rush said on November 8, 2022 at 10:31 pm

    Me: 64-bit system – laptop – No Dual Boot for me with M$

    Download ISO – Hate ‘systemd? ( Like me) PCLinuxOS – Don’t mind systemd? PopOS

    D-Ban: Wipe drive(s) for clean install or install new SSD-HDD
    Bios: Uncheck secure boot – check legacy boot

    Load flash drive or Cd ISO into external or internal drive and boot to new operating system, follow the prompts, passwd for encryption and passwd for login, ( or same PW for both ) 10-15 min later new operating system with a cafeteria style selection for hundreds of Apps for security, games, utilities, it’s all right there. Just point and click to install, don’t even need the command line to install programs. It’s there is you need it.

    M$ is a bully, thinking there is no competition out there…but there is….most ALL of Linux systems have many programs that provide layers of opportunity to load Windows exe. files in addition can play most games that you can play on m$.

    Don’t complain about the M$ pain, it’ll drive you insane….but there is a lot to gain…..
    as Linux as my main.

  2. pHROZEN gHOST said on November 7, 2022 at 11:01 pm

    I got rid of One Drive and MANY other packages as soon as I finished installing Windows 10.
    By doing so I eliminated many potential issues.

  3. Richard Rooster said on November 7, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    Prediction for 2023: Zorin OS 17 will kick so much ass it’s ricockolous.

  4. ECJ said on November 7, 2022 at 5:41 pm

    “…Most Windows users and organizations won’t switch to another operating system because of this.”

    The problem is Microsoft think they are getting away with it because there hasn’t been a mass exodus. What they do not seem to realise is that people have been noticing all this crap (Edge/MSN/Bing/Candy Crush, privacy violations, etc.) and their trust in Microsoft is being severely eroded.

    There hasn’t been a mass exodus yet – due to Windows being a monopoly on desktop – however whenever Microsoft try to launch a new product or service, it will be severely hampered/shunned due to people’s trust having been eroded with their BS shenanigans. Microsoft think they can do what they like, as they have been getting away with it, but it will come back to bite them.

    It reminds me of a recent Twitter thread where the thread author talks about “Trust Thermocline”.

    “…But they’ll only MOVE when they hit the Trust Thermocline. The point where their lack of trust in the product to meet their needs, and the emotional investment they’d made in it, have finally been outweighed by the physical and emotional effort required to abandon it.”

    Except in Microsoft’s case, it won’t be a mass exodus like MySpace/Friends Reunited (as people are locked into Windows), but Microsoft will struggle to gain adoption of any new products and services. Google are also starting to find this out the hard way too – people remember.

    1. WilliamGates said on November 8, 2022 at 2:43 am

      Windows 11 is already so annoying that we don’t need any more of it. Antitrust charges should be brought against Apple, Google, and Microsoft for forcing their customers to use their cloud services. Microsoft requires an Elon Musk-style takeover, like the one Twitter is presently through. Too many stupid employees and management have ruined what was once a brilliant operating system. Starting with that moron Satya Nadella, fire everyone in the organizational ladder. Fire anyone who tries to impose subscriptions, advertisements, or dark patterns on any product. Employees who insist on breaking working features just to save their pointless jobs should be fired. Microsoft must also stop depending on people to find problems because they are frequently ineffective at doing so. Microsoft, on the other hand, doesn’t care about those who actually find flaws. Rebuild a real quality assurance team. They must get rid of that pointless feedback hub. It should be forbidden for anyone to work in the IT industry who are unable to understand what Windows users genuinely desire. It makes logical sense to add back the functions that Windows 11 removed from Windows 10. To arrive at this conclusion, it shouldn’t take five years and input from users.

  5. Mike said on November 7, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    Now would be a great time to brag about how much I love Blender. It’s one of the few programs left that still actually behaves like proper, professional software. It doesn’t do anything questionable behind your back such as installing sponsored extensions from third parties or show you intrusive ads while you’re working.

    Also the people who manage the Blender project are brilliant and know exactly what they’re doing. E.g. they have established a strong presence and literally all of the big companies are helping them out, either via financial donations or code, or both. NVidia, AMD, Facebook, Intel, Apple, many game studios, on and on and on.

    1. W.L. Emery said on November 8, 2022 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks for the tip!

  6. VioletMoon said on November 7, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    The bias is evident:

    “Placed prominently with the only splash of color at the top of the menu, it advertises the company’s OneDrive service.”

    Instead, just say it–

    [“Placed at the top of the menu, it advertises the company’s OneDrive service.”]

    Can you tell us more about the service compared to other services that also advertise upgrades?

    “Others may object, stating that Microsoft should not plaster advertisement(s) across the entire operating system.”

    “Plaster?” It sounds like MS products are riddled with advertisements for their own services and products with every click which is not the case–at least not on my computers. I’ve yet to see a MS advertisement.

    [“Others may object to an advertisement at the top of the OneDrive service.”]

    Loaded language isn’t going to convince me of an argument; it only reveals the fallacious reasoning of the writer.

    Per usual gHacks policy, the comment made here today will be deleted by sundown–it won’t even see the light of day, much like an embryo that is aborted.

    1. thebrowser said on November 7, 2022 at 8:01 pm

      > “it won’t even see the light of day, much like an embryo that is aborted.”

      Pff, now who’s using loaded language. And wrong, by the way.

      Not that I don’t agree with what you are saying, this hardly even promotes the feature. Which I still don’t approve, I wouldn’t want to have this extra options suddenly appearing on my PC.

  7. Phil said on November 7, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    That’s why I use Linux!

    1. John G. said on November 7, 2022 at 4:03 pm

      Onedrive works with Linux too indeed. ;o

      1. Phil said on November 7, 2022 at 4:30 pm

        I don’t use OneDrive in Linux

  8. Better than you said on November 7, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    Only a complete idiot uses Windows with a Microsoft account. Period.

    1. Mike said on November 7, 2022 at 5:36 pm

      Calling users idiots over this is unfair. That’s because the software is designed by Microsoft to be predatory and make it not only difficult to say no to using a Microsoft account, but to make it increasingly difficult to complete setup without one.

      What we have here, is a failure in the regulatory department of governments. Not that surprising though, because in the US, i.e. Microsoft’s home base of operations, consumer protection does not exist anymore. Businesses get to do literally whatever they want without any restraint whatsoever and then (rarely) just cough up a small fraction of the proceeds they earn to the authorities, while never admitting any wrong-doing.

      1. Peterc said on November 10, 2022 at 1:20 am


        “What we have here, is a failure ….” Two thumbs up for the Cool Hand Luke reference, and two more for the substance. In the US, the Supreme Court essentially killed consumer protection when it allowed corporations to impose mandatory arbitration and bans on class actions in contracts of adhesion (like EULAs). (Public enforcement agencies have been largely MIA since the Dubya administration deliberately tanked US v. Microsoft.) Given a choice between the poisonous frogs of Central and South America and the poisonous toads on the federal bench, I’d choose the former in a heartbeat: they’ve done a lot less damage to a lot fewer people … and they’re better-looking!

  9. Anonymous said on November 7, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    can you please stop send these to me?

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