Windows

Poll: Would you want ads on your Windows Desktop

Microsoft is selling branded Windows 7 Desktop themes to advertisers. Would you want them on your Windows Desktop?

As if all the sponsored applications that come with most new computers wasn't enough, Microsoft announced Friday a program to sell ads on the Windows 7 desktop.

According to a CNET News report from Ina Fried:

"Advertisers can buy the right to offer various themes that customize the desktop image and that promote various gadgets and even custom sounds for the Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft stressed, however, that users will choose which, if any, of the customizations they want to download. ... The Windows Personalization Gallery offers a desktop branding experience for users throughout the operation of their Windows 7-based PC, including backgrounds, slide shows, borders, and application audio elements."

I understand that no one is forced to download or use a sponsored desktop theme. I also realize most people proudly wear clothing emblazoned with their favorite brand logo. But, something about this program rubs me the wrong way. What do you think?

Microsoft Windows Personalization Gallery

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

72 comments
mbargu
mbargu

yes i will if i get something out of it. nothing is free

joelmaths
joelmaths

It's not wrong as long as the user is not forced into it. In fact, some people may look at it as a good feature, maybe.

gdodds
gdodds

My desktop is my personal space - I don't want it invaded by ads!

tonycopp
tonycopp

No. I'd boycott anything that adds to the certainty of Random Memory Allocation-related crash and inhibited my most rapid arrival at the app of my choosing.

Pringles86
Pringles86

You are boycotting Windows 7? That's good!

tonycopp
tonycopp

It's good if your mission is clear to get to your app with the most speed and least clutter. The frou-frou is not there for you, it's a diversion to keep the cash flow while they don't insure the OS crash-free or care about your legacy apps and support tools working. I'm off the new OS M$FT baloney pony, you can enjoy the ride while you reach down and grab your spurs.

tnaser2006
tnaser2006

No! With an already flawed product introducing yet another, albeit this time deliberate, another exploitable security hole is the last thing that we need. However, if MS decides on a different revenue scheme and makes their OS free, then the idea can be tolerated. (And pigs will fly, hell will freeze over...

Pringles86
Pringles86

Themes have been around for many years. Did you complain about the "exploitable security hole" in Windows XP themes? (which is worse because you can't even get cool XP themes from Microsoft's website, you have to get 3rd party ones.) How is a sponsored theme different from a regular theme, security wise? Themes are nothing new...

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I currently have a black, Harley background with a dark orange tint on Vista so it is practically branded. Assuming that there are no programs installed outside of a basic theme or custom icon set, I don't see any issues with it. If you want to use it, there it is. If you don't want to use it, don't. Some people like a classic desktop, let them have it without banning Aero for the rest of us. Likewise, don't shove Aero down their throat if they like a plain, classic theme. If my kid downloaded and installed a transformers theme through this method and the "my computer" icon were replaced by say...Megan Fox, I wouldn't be all that upset. It's a theme, bfd. Mozilla does it, only no one gets paid for the advertising. :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Most people are saying they wouldn't want it, but I think (hope?) they realize this is being discussed as a voluntary option. I won't be exercising it, but it doesn't bother me. If it was mandatory, that would be a different matter.

CAH
CAH

If someone want the official NFL Desktop or the Pepsi Ball as their background, why would that offend people? It's not like anyone anywhere is holding a gun to your head...

dvgoad
dvgoad

Absolutely not, for no reason. My grandfather always said "Nothing is for free, there is always some sort of price attached."

tonycopp
tonycopp

Adverts that impose their jingle-jangle upon your field of concentration are so not free..that is unless the fruit of your concentration is worth less. Please tell your grandfather this from a fellow grandfather, "There is nothing new under the Sun, which is the only free lunch there is."

urmask
urmask

NO!! PERIOD! I am willing to sacrifice my gaming expierence to ads... NO NO NO! I use Mac too and I can use only mac too.. So NO NO NO!

egmccann
egmccann

It already happens. Go around a workplace, or friends' computers. How many have pictures of, say, a new car model, or games, or (for instance with winter coming up) the old Coca-Cola polar bear? From the sound of the blurb, it's just a step farther. Not only do you get wallpaper, but the colors and such customized with it. To which I say - big deal. If someone really likes (say) a Ford Mustang, and Ford puts out a Mustang-themed - er, theme, good for them. Now, if they went to obnoxious levels with it (say, "This program launching by Coke!" on every program launch,) then no - but that's also something that *I* can turn off. And I certainly don't want them launching videos or forcing me to a site - that has gone from "theme" to "adware," will be nuked off the system AND lose whoever it is some business.

lls_physics
lls_physics

No. No. A thousand times no. Heck, no. When I buy clothes, I want to look like ME in decent-looking clothes. I do not want to be advertising anything: Not Pepsi, Tommy Hilfiger, anyone or anything. When I pay my bank fees and service charges for my checking account, I've already paid my "dues." I know what services they offer, and I DON'T need to see advertisements for bank services on my monitor before I check my bank balance or look for a transaction online. When I buy software, I expect it to do what I bought it for without ads, without wasting my time looking at extraneous media clips "because they can." I want it to be silent, nearly invisible and efficient. If I use or subscribe to free software or services such as FB or TechRepublic, I expect there to be advertisements. But NOT if I paid for the software or subscription.

SaadHusain
SaadHusain

As long as Windows was free and I could delete the ads or overwrite them! I thought Windows was one big ad!

jgmsys@yahoo.com
jgmsys@yahoo.com

Don't we already get enough advertising rubbish shoved down our throats already? This is unacceptable.

oldthom
oldthom

This is going too far. MS's quest for ever more profits, that will help line the bottoms of their already wealthy beyond measure board members and their top investors, will ultimately lead us down a path of no return where everyone will eventually lose. A strong, well-built product sells itself, MS knows this and not extraneous advertising. I already replaced one XP desktop with a Mac and quite pleased with the results - the rest will follow if MS follows through with this kind of hair-brained stunt. That is not a joke or a threat. As a media consulting company, we have many clients and try to remain as neutral as possible. We go to great lengths to block all advertising on our websites and internal work space and I'll be damned if I am going to let it onto our desktops!

buddhan08
buddhan08

If I would have their ad on my Desktop than I would also want some money for it. Because their ad is on my desktop

mbrello
mbrello

And as long as the theme(s) used were utlimately my choice, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Anyone remember the Budweiser frogs back in the 90's? I thought they were hilarious and had them as my wallpaper until something I liked better came along.

jason
jason

Honestly I think we see ads so much on the web now that putting ads in a desktop theme really wouldnt phase me. I say this, thinking that the ad would not be be the WHOLE image of the theme.

jc3lions
jc3lions

Just when you think Microsoft show a small sign of going in the right direction with W7.....

dwilkinson
dwilkinson

You know they will come up with something fun, like a blue angels screensaver and every now and then a southwest airline logo would run across the screen. With the right talent on the creative side many people will download quality themes until they see some company come out with something more appealing. A two hole Nike Tiger golf game that you can add holes to over time...

Witchfinder
Witchfinder

Why would I add something that'll just hog resources? Without any applications running, my installation of Win 7 Professional consumes nearly a gigabyte of system memory. Can we please have less bloat!

Pringles86
Pringles86

NT

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

Why would anyone in their right mind volunteer to get advertised to?

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

...if the content is worth it. I don't volunteer for ads, which seems to be what we are talking about here. Of course, thinking more upon it, I voluntarily have created (or downloaded) wallpapers promoting whatever game I happen to be obsessed with for my home PC. You should have asked the Network television question. I do not (single exception - when my home football team is playing).

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You joined this web site, 'volunteering' to donate screen space to the advertising in order to view the free content. I'm not going to ask if you ever watch network television.

jason.vanberkom
jason.vanberkom

Its not like they are forcing you to put it on your desktop. I say why not. Movie and video game themes might be kinda fun.

Pringles86
Pringles86

I think the word "ads" is what is scaring everyone. I don't see a picture of a car as advertising, I just like the car. Or a video game theme, I just like the game. I do understand some people want a blank background or whatever, but for someone who uses different wallpapers then this isn't a problem as it is chosen by you. You aren't FORCED to view these "ads", you selected the theme you wanted.

jedih
jedih

absolutely ridiculous!!!! can find my own wallpaper thank you MS. I think we are all getting more than enough advertising thrown at us...

1bn0
1bn0

Can't be removed fast enough! I don't want the damned applications and neither do my clients. I order and setup new computers for my clients. It frustrates me that I have to remove the applications before I can return the machine to a They certainly don't want ads in Windows. Spam by any other name is still spam.

dayen
dayen

Will it make it stable I don't think so and my staff will stop working to watch the ad's I hope they want to stay an extra hour or so to make up the lost time

dogknees
dogknees

No links, or active content, just standard ads, no problem. I can easily put something in the Startup Menu that will immediately cover it, so it won't affect me in the slightest. I'm also very good at ignoring things that don't interest me, so I wouldn't even notice it after a while.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Ads? No. No. No.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Oh. Wait a minute. You ain't wit da program. Who you be wit? Mark you -- you will be marked, depending on your answer.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

No more needs to be said.

GSG
GSG

That's what I was thinking. If you choose to allow the ad, then what else is installed? I'm sure that they'll be installing something that will look at who you are, where you go, etc... and beam that info back to the mothership. Then, the hackers will use it as yet another vector, etc.. and so on...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

scipts, applets, flash cookies, popups, tracking, usage patterns identities... Not even a free copy of windows 7 exlusive ultimate never to be beaten, could induce me to do something this f'ing dumb.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Load some wallpapers, change the color scheme from blue to black, ignore everything else.

rhhunt
rhhunt

Hell NO!!! If I want to see ads or commercials, all I need do is turn on my TV, radio, etc... My computer desktop is MY domain... Don't infringe on my territory!!!

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

After paying through the nose for an OS and getting bundled unwanted crapware that needs to be cleaned off as it is, there is no freaking way I would be willing to voluntarily add on even more ads or logos. I see them on animated billboards, the side of cars and buses, in the air, on athletes, in stadiums, streaming videos, antivirus popups, website popups, bus benches, bus shelters, before movies at a theater, cardboard coffee cup holders, even on the inside of bathroom stall doors - there is no way I would want them to be even more pervasive than they already are.

Jacky Howe
Jacky Howe

as a Tool not a Toy. Plain vanilla for me thanks.

Pringles86
Pringles86

I answered "No" to the poll, but then I started thinking about it. If they were brands I was interested in, then yes. If Ferrari or Bugatti or other exotic car makers made a theme that gave the stats of the car and multiple images of the car, then I would get it. That is, if I used Windows on my home computers. Maybe if/when we migrate to Windows 7 at work. After looking at the gallery I see Ferrari already has one. Nice... From the small images provided it looks like they don't give stats of the cars tho... Too bad.

ty.lamb
ty.lamb

90% of the clothing and 95% of the shoes we purchase have branding and that's COOL. Put it on a computer screen and 87% say no way? Makes no since. Big companies will put up big bucks to put together a cool looking screen that has either a piece of their merchandise in it or there name at the bottom corner.

Brown-IT-Guy
Brown-IT-Guy

I don't disagree with the premise of what you're saying, but point is VERY few people, if any, are accustomed to ads on their PC desktop. Although PC manufacturers do it. Consider Dell, Asus, Acer. It still feels like another step towards encroaching on my personal space. Why not put a billboard in a nice frame on my living room wall or above my toilet?

Editor's Picks