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Microsoft removes Copilot lock-screen ads following community backlash

Last Updated on March 8, 2024
Graphic displaying the logo and word "Copilot" with a "skip ad" button in the corner, against a blue and purple gradient background on a lock-screen.
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Ads are a frustrating but necessary part of any viable business model. Unfortunately, Windows users involuntarily experienced first-hand how intrusive these can be with Microsoft’s questionable Copilot QR code ad appearing on desktop lock screens. However, following a wave of community backlash, the well-known tech company has since removed the unwanted digital promotion for their AI chatbot.

The Copilot ad was initially spotted by a disgruntled Redditor who was predictably frustrated upon finding this at startup. Scanning the QR code (which we tried ourselves) redirects your device to Copilot’s app store page. Based on other users’ experiences, it appeared on Windows 10 and 11, though what caused it to trigger remains unclear. However, another commenter suggested this was merely a bug since it “doesn’t really fit the rest of the lock screen advertising UI.”

Microsoft pauses questionable Copilot lock-screen ads indefinitely

Because of these less-than-ideal responses, Windows Latest revealed that Microsoft has decided to pause this ad experiment indefinitely. An unnamed Microsoft spokesperson stated via the same article: “The notification was simply a way to educate users and has since been paused. We value our customer experiences and are always learning to determine what is most valuable and to whom.”

Now, these kinds of ads aren’t exactly new. After all, Windows 11 has a setting that allows “fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen.” The only difference is that you can disable these types of pop-ups, whereas the now-removed QR code is forced down users’ throats. It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that since Microsoft only “paused” these ads, it may eventually bring them back. But that won’t happen soon since handling another wave of complaints likely isn’t high on the company’s to-do list.

If you want to try out Microsoft’s AI chatbot voluntarily, we’ve got you covered. Check out our pages on ChatGPT vs. Copilot and Grok AI vs. Copilot to learn the differences between these models.

Nico is a Tech News Writer for PC Guide. He is also adept at finding a good deal every now and then, stemming from his days penny-pinching as a broke college kid.