Microsoft Broke Windows 11 with a Built-In Ad

Andrew Heinzman

Review Geek

Windows 11 running on a tablet-like device.


Don’t you hate the little Windows ads that try to sell you on new apps and services? Yeah, well one of those built-in ads just broke the Taskbar and Start Menu in Windows 11’s latest Dev and Beta builds.

Microsoft launched the latest Windows 11 Dev and Beta builds (22000.176 and 22449) on September 2nd. Within hours, testers reported that their Windows 11 desktop shell was inoperable, leaving their computer without a Start Menu or Taskbar. It seems that a Microsoft Teams promotional notification caused the issue.

Thank you again for your patience #WindowsInsiders – If you were impacted by this issue, you can use the steps added to the top of these blog posts to get back into a working state on your PC:
Build 22000.176
Build 22449

— Windows Insider (@windowsinsider) September 3, 2021

The advertisement no longer causes Windows 11 to crash—Microsoft says it was a server-side issue. But affected users may need to tweak their registry to get the desktop shell back into working order. Microsoft suggests taking the following steps to do so:

  • Step 1: Use CTRL-ALT-DEL and choose to open Task Manager.
  • Step 2: Choose “More details” at the bottom of Task Manager to expand Task Manager.
  • Step 3: Go to “File” and choose “Run new task.”
  • Step 4: Type “cmd” in the “Open” field.
  • Step 5: Paste the following: reg delete HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\IrisService /f && shutdown -r -t 0
  • Step 6: Hit enter, and then your PC should reboot. After rebooting, everything should be back to normal.

While we’re glad to see Microsoft fix this issue so quickly, we’re also very concerned about the fragility of Windows 11’s desktop shell. Keep in mind that the latest Dev and Beta builds are post-RTM, meaning that they’re newer versions of Windows 11 than what Microsoft will release on October 5th. Will Microsoft break ordinary peoples’ computers with a stupid little advertisement next month? Hopefully not!

Source: Microsoft via XDA Developers

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