Microsoft Sneaks OneDrive Ads Into The Windows 10 File Explorer

When Microsoft announced that it would provide Windows 10 as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.x users during the first year of availability, you knew that there had to be some strings attached. As we’ve seen over the past year and a half, Microsoft has come under fire for its privacy policies, allegations of “spying” on users and its penchant for placing advertising within Windows 10.

It’s that last point that is once again rearing its ugly head for Windows 10 users. A redditor has noticed that Microsoft is now placing ads within the oft-used Windows File Explorer interface. It’s one thing to see ads pop into view when you’re browsing the internet with Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome, but you don’t expect (or want) to see advertisements in well-trafficked areas of your operating system of choice.

Windows 10

In this case, Microsoft is trying to get users to try out the paid version of its OneDrive cloud storage service. Interestingly enough, the redditor in question is already paying for OneDrive. OneDrive is integrated into Windows 10 and allows you to easily share files and user settings across devices.

Microsoft provides 5GB of storage for free (which may be enough for the most basic usage cases), but of course wants to lure customers into the paid plans which start at $1.99 per month for 50GB of storage. If you pay $6.99 per month (or $69.99 per year), you’ll get 1TB of storage and a subscription to Office 365 Personal. For those that need even more storage, Microsoft offers 5TB for $9.99 per month ($99.99 per year) and a subscription to Office 365 Home.

As you can see from the screenshot below, which was taken from my own Windows 10 install (release channel, without the Creators Update installed), Microsoft is advertising the $6.99 per month plan with included Office 365 Personal subscription.

onedrive ad 2

After doing some digging around on the internet, it appears that the only way to remove these OneDrive advertisements is to [while within Windows Explorer] navigate to View —> Options —> View —> Advanced settings. From there you will need to uncheck the “Show sync provider notifications” box, and you’ll be set free.

onedrive ad 1

Thankfully, this is a rather quick fix to get rid of annoying ads from within Windows 10. With that being said, it’s probably easier for Microsoft to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.