A new Windows 11 non-security release is now available for you to try. The optional March 2023 KB5023778 preview update comes with two notable features we saw in the past tests Microsoft experimented with Insiders. While the first improvement can interest many as it involves a lighter search bar taskbar complementing a Windows custom color mode, the second one might raise some brows as it is basically all about Microsoft ads.
KB5023778 boasts two new features and some non-security fixes. The new features were first spotted in the previous releases of Microsoft to its Insiders, such as the lighter search box on the taskbar when users set Windows to a custom color mode (or the Windows mode to dark and the app mode to light).
Do we really need to stuff OneDrive promos in the user session flyout? Anything for that sweet sweet KPI ? pic.twitter.com/ZsQGmkntDS
— Albacore (@thebookisclosed) November 6, 2022
Another highlight of the release is the new “notifications” for Microsoft accounts in the Start menu. Sadly, these notifications involve Microsoft services, encouraging customers to back up their files via the cloud or Microsoft’s OneDrive product. According to the company, this is available to a limited number of users for now, and they might receive different treatments or designs for these notifications.
This ad-related feature has been under testing for months now, which might be a signal of Microsoft’s determination to roll it out to everyone publicly soon, especially as a part of next month’s Patch Tuesday. This, however, is not the first time Microsoft tried to inject or directly presented ads to Windows users. Last month, several users reported experiencing different ads, from a pushy Windows 11 upgrade to Microsoft 365 trial. In some of these instances, users shared encountering them randomly in different ways (e.g., Windows Out of Box Experience). Yet, these ads might get a permanent place on the Windows system soon, and KB5023778’s Start menu notifications is a proof of that.