I’ve sat back and witnessed the development of Windows 10 and appreciated the speed of new feature releases, but it seems there’s a price to pay for this new “Windows as a service” world. Microsoft has gradually been infesting Windows 10 with annoying ads. The first emerged on the lock screen as “tips,” and then there was the bundling of Candy Crush with the OS, and now Microsoft has started blasting notifications into the task bar and File Explorer.
Windows 10 users have been complaining vocally in recent weeks about OneDrive notifications in the File Explorer, encouraging them to pay $6.99 for an Office 365 subscription. The task bar notifications that prompt people to switch to Edge when they use Chrome, or install Microsoft’s Personal Shopping Assistant for Chrome, have been appearing for months. Microsoft even decided to use notifications to warn Chrome users about battery drain. These types of notifications not only spoil the experience of using Windows 10’s built-in features, but they’re an annoying distraction.
Now Microsoft is planning to preload another app in Windows 10: Sling TV. While only US Windows 10 users will get Sling TV preloaded without the necessary subscription, it will sit alongside Candy Crush and Solitaire as other examples of what will soon be described as bloatware. Thankfully, it’s easy to uninstall these unnecessary apps, but that doesn’t mean Microsoft won’t add more to the mix in the future. Microsoft used to blame its OEM partners for bundling lots of useless apps on Windows PCs, but now it has itself to blame for doing the same to Windows 10.
Some might argue that Microsoft is well within its rights as most people got Windows 10 free of charge. That’s a valid argument for some, but most Windows users will have paid for a license for the OS through the purchase of a laptop or desktop PC. Placing notifications in the File Explorer and task bar — parts of the operating system that no other developers are allowed to touch — just feels really unnecessary and an abuse of power.
Microsoft added a notification center to Windows 10 for a reason. If it feels the need to blast its loyal users with irritating prompts then these should be channeled into that notification center, not wedged into the File Explorer or on top of the task bar. You shouldn’t have to dig deep into a settings panel to disable these; they shouldn’t be there in your File Explorer in the first place. Microsoft already had to walk back its aggressive Windows 10 upgrade prompts last year, so hopefully the company will come to its senses and rethink these annoying ads and bloatware in Windows 10.