Windows 11 update delivers a fix for broken VPNs – but also sees adverts infiltrate the Start menu

Happy Microsoft Patch Tuesday May 2024 to all who celebrate! Yesterday saw a new update for Windows 11 that brings fixes for existing issues, along with other changes, as part of Microsoft’s monthly patch cycle. Version KB5037771 is now available to Windows 11 users, and it brings some notable developments like new Start menu features and a fix for a previously reported VPN-related issue. 

To get the new update, check your Windows Update app. Your system might have already downloaded the update and prepared it for installation, but if not, click on ‘Check for Updates.’ Note that this is a mandatory update that Microsoft would strongly urge you to install for security reasons, and it’s available for Windows 11 23H2 and 22H2 users.

Windows Update panel

(Image credit: TechRadar España)

One of the changes that update KB5037771 delivers is adverts embedded in the Start menu, as previously witnessed in preview builds (including last month’s optional update for Windows 11). The ads are presented as recommendations, highlighting certain apps from the Microsoft Store from a group of selected developers. 

Explaining the rationale behind this move, Microsoft says it’s intended to help users discover apps that they might find useful or entertaining that they may not be aware of. If you don’t find a particular ad (sorry, ‘recommendation’) helpful, Windows Latest observes that you can dismiss it by right-clicking on it. 

You can go further and block these ads for recommended third-party apps in your Start menu by going to the following location: 

 Settings > Personalization > Start

Here, you can switch off the toggle next to the ‘Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more’ option, and this will prevent these promotions or recommendations, or whatever you want to call them (adverts, ahem), from appearing.

Further note that in the Recommended section of the Start menu, Microsoft has also started showing apps that you use frequently but don’t have pinned in your Start menu or taskbar.

These changes to the Start menu are due to begin rolling out to users in the coming weeks, but some people might not be shown the ads depending on the region they’re in, Windows Latest reports – noting that those in Europe may not get the adverts (lucky them).

A close up of a person sitting at a table and typing on a computer (a laptop)

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff)

A long-awaited fix for some VPN users

The update also incorporates a fix for a problem that caused VPN connection failures, which were seemingly a side-effect of the April 2024 cumulative update. Some users reported issues with certain VPN connections, and Microsoft has since acknowledged the problems and added that they should be resolved after this new May 2024 update.

Other changes that KB5037771 brings include upgraded MSN cards on your lock screen and new widget animations.

It feels like a broken record at this point, writing about Microsoft pushing forward with this advertising strategy in Windows 11. Is there any chance the software giant will rethink this policy? It doesn’t seem likely, and if anything, I can see Microsoft continuing to integrate ads into more and more places in Windows 11.

Okay, so in this case, the adverts can be turned off, which is at least something – but I fear that Microsoft is going to continue in this direction, unless it starts getting a lot of negative feedback.


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Microsoft admits latest Windows 11 update is breaking some VPNs

Windows 11 and Windows 10 users are in some cases facing a problem whereby their VPN connection is failing to work thanks to the latest cumulative updates from Microsoft for these operating systems.

We’re talking about the main updates for last month, April, which are KB5036893 for Windows 11 (ushering in Moment 5 features), and KB5036892 for Windows 10 – and this also holds true for the preview updates released at the end of April.

Neowin noticed that Microsoft has officially acknowledged that these updates are breaking some VPNs, posting on its Windows 11 health dashboard to say: “Windows devices might face VPN connection failures after installing the April 2024 security update (KB5036893) or the April 2024 non-security preview update.”

Microsoft informs us that it’s working on fixing the problem and will “provide an update in an upcoming release,” but sadly, we don’t get any details beyond that.

Analysis: Rocky road for updates of late

This is a vague diagnosis from Microsoft, with no info provided as to what might be the root cause (or causes) of this VPN-related problem. It’s not affecting all Windows 11 (or Windows 10) users by any means, but certainly some VPN users are experiencing service failure. All we can do right now is wait for Microsoft to continue its investigation into finding out what’s gone wrong with the April update, and to provide those additional details – hopefully soon.

For those affected, this is a troubling situation, as the April cumulative update is very different from an optional update – you have to install it (Windows 11 Home users can only delay it for a bit if they want to take evasive action). Also, without the update, you don’t have the latest security measures, so your PC is just a bit more vulnerable to intrusion.

For home-based PC users running into this bug, Microsoft only offers up the following advice: “If you need support with your personal or family account, use the Get help app in Windows.”

It’s been a pretty rocky road for the April update for Windows 11 when you consider that the upgrade has brought with it some other nasty bugs, including a new spin on the Blue Screen of Death – which we dubbed the White Screen of Doom. Plus the preview update for April has an odd issue with profile photos, and there are other glitches floating around besides. So, all in all, Microsoft isn’t having a great time of things lately.

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