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Ads pop up on Windows 10 lock screen, and it's not malware: Microsoft put them there

ads windows 10 lock screen features users wanted added v2
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Microsoft recently stuck an ad in the lock screen of Windows 10, meaning many of the 200 million users who upgraded from previous versions were greeted by an advertisement over the past 24 hours.

The ad in question was for the Windows Store version of Rise of the Tomb Raider, and for some users it took up the entire screen with a picture from the game. The new Tomb Raider installment was added to the Windows Store last month, bringing a AAA game to a platform that doesn’t have many of them.

This isn’t a surprise: Microsoft discussed using the lock screen for ads last spring before Windows 10 was widely released. But this is the first time actual ads have shown up.

If you want to disable these unwanted guests, you’re not alone — and there’s an option to do so, as explained by HowToGeek. To summarize, you need to hit Start, then Settings. Head to Personalization, then Lockscreen settings. If “Windows Spotlight” is selected, pick either a “Picture” or “Slideshow” instead. Then uncheck the option that says “Get fun tips tricks and more on your lock screen.” This should disable such ads from showing up on the lock screen entirely.

When we talked to Windows Store developers recently about sales, one developer told us visability is a key problem. Basically, people don’t look at the Store very often, so sales come from outside press instead of exposure within the Store itself.

Microsoft told us it was hoping to increase visibility for Store apps, and lockscreen ads certainly accomplish that. The question is at what cost.

Windows 10, ads on lock screen.
And they wonder why some people are refusing to upgrade… what's next, ads in BIOS?

— Jadran Kotnik (@Lunatrius) February 24, 2016

Windows 10 is well regarded among technology journalists and many Microsoft fans, but many Windows users were annoyed with the persistent pop-ups to upgrade that have been pushed to Windows 7 and 8 users. Ads showing up in the operating system certainly aren’t going to endear Windows 10 to those folks, to say the least.

The question is whether most users will care; there is an option to disable the ads, after all. It will be interesting to see how users react, especially if such ads become more common.

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Justin Pot
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