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Since we published the Keeping Browsing Experience in Users’ Hands blog in December 2015, we’ve received feedback from the ecosystem and engaged in discussions with the industry. Based on those discussions and feedback, we are making a couple of updates.

Unwanted software

Unwanted software are programs that alter your Windows experience without your consent or control. We use evaluation criteria to determine what programs are classified as unwanted software. As the software ecosystem evolves, so does our evaluation criteria. To learn more, read these blog entries:

Protecting customers from being intimidated into making an unnecessary purchase

Cleaners ought to be clean (and clear)

A brief discourse on ‘Changing browsing experience’

Keeping browsing experience in users’ hands

Keeping Browsing Experience in Users’ Hands, an Update…

Cleaning up misleading advertisements

Adware: A new approach

We are broadening the scope of the evaluation criteria we blogged about to state:

Programs that change the user browsing experience must only use the browsers’ supported extensibility model for installation, execution, disabling and removal. Browsers without supported extensibility models will be considered non-extensible.

This addition addresses software that modifies the browsing experience, not just those that insert ads into the browsing experience.

Accordingly, we are moving the criterion from the Advertising criteria to become an expansion of our BrowserModifier criteria.

By doing so we are closing additional gaps that impact the browsing experience from outside the browser, not just ad injection software, and are pointing developers to comply with the browser’s respective extensibility models.

Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge’s policy, for example, can be found at

In addition, and due to the broadening of the policy, we are further extending the notification up until May 2, 2016.

We continue to encourage developers who may be affected by this policy to work with us during the notification time, and fix their software to become compliant with the new criteria and follow the respective browser policies.

Enforcement starts on May 2, 2016.

Barak Shein and Michael Johnson



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