Windows 10 Brings MS Office Start Menu Surprise

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has added links to Office web apps on Windows 10 computers without asking permission. It's more of an irritation than a damaging problem, but it's certainly safe to say some folks are irritated.

The links appear to have been added by an automatic update, with some users reporting their computer restarted without warning and they lost some work that hadn't been saved. (Users can set Windows 10 to only restart automatically at set times such as during the night to stop this happening.)

The links appear in the Start Menu alongside other apps as a single tile that contains several small icons for Office components. However, they aren't actually apps in themselves. Instead they are links to the online version of Microsoft Office, opening up in the Edge browser. (Source:

Free Versions Of Office?

Known officially as "Microsoft 365 for the web", these are free versions of tools such as Word and Excel that run in a web browser. They include some basic functionality, including collaborating with other users, but exclude more advanced features that are only available in the subscription or standalone purchase versions.

To make things more confusing, it appears that on computers which already have Office installed, the new tile's icons instead open up the relevant apps. That seems completely pointless as anyone who already uses Office on their computer will already have at least one way of opening the apps.

No Disk Space Used

This setup means that "update" isn't actually taking up any hard drive space, but the icons do clutter up the Start Menu. They can be removed in either the "Apps & Features" section of the Windows 10 Settings App, or in the "Programs & Features" section of the Control Panel. (Source:

It's something of a matter of opinion how serious this issue is. From a practical perspective, most user shouldn't experience problems with the update being installed and it's more a case of being annoyed and minorly inconvenienced.

However, critics argue it's an example of Microsoft going too far to promote its own services at the expense of the user feeling as if they have total control of their computer.

What's Your Opinion?

Had you noticed this issue? Should Microsoft have added these icons without user permission? Is it a big deal or a storm in a teacup?

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Dennis Faas's picture

This is another great reason to use Classic Shell / Open Shell instead of the default Windows 10 start menu. It works and without any BS!

ronangel1's picture

I use offline ver of office but not that often. If those links appear on my computer will delete straight away as nothing I do goes into the cloud.

hiker_14152's picture

I just ran the recent update of Win 10 and, as you mentioned, there is a new Office icon on the Start menu. I have Office 2019 installed locally and I never save any files to the web. My 2 year old Dell Inspiron laptop is suddenly overnight super slow. They have no business adding this crap into the mix.