Yesterday after releasing new Windows 11 builds in the Dev and Beta channels, Insiders reported that their Start Menu and taskbar were crashing. As it turned out, it was caused by Windows 11 delivering ads, as was reported by Daniel Aleksandersen, who dug into the issue. XDA Developers reports:
First of all, Microsoft did publish a fix. [If your PC is in an unusable state and you’re reading this in an effort to get out of it, the article includes a step-by-step guide to fix the problem.] The ad itself is for Microsoft Teams, and how it’s integrated into Windows 11. As with most of the ads that are injected into Windows, this should still pop up as a notification even if you have all notifications turned off.
While we know the cause, the bigger question that Aleksandersen dives into is how the Windows 11 shell can be so fragile that ads can crash it. Windows in 2021 has a ton of components in it that have to grab content from the cloud at any given time, from the Bing lockscreen wallpaper to Windows Update to advertisements that come from Microsoft. It’s pretty wild that when one of them isn’t functioning correctly, this could happen. There are clearly two issues here. One is that a cloud service can break Windows 11. The other is that Microsoft is injecting ads into the OS in the first place, a sure pain point for many. One thing is for sure; Microsoft isn’t going to scale back on its advertisements in Windows any time soon. Instead, it’s just going to fix the glitch, and if that makes you draw a parallel to Office Space, that’s fine too.