How to disable Edge browser?
November 5, 2019 5:07 AM   Subscribe

I now have a Win10 Home laptop. The built-in Edge browser loads automatically, and interferes with some other programs. I want to disable it, since I'm not using it, but MS doesn't want me to.

Advice on the web says to use regedit, by navigating to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Policies/Microsoft/Edge. The problem is, there isn't an Edge listing in that directory. I have turned on viewing of hidden and protected files, and rebooted, but Edge isn't there.

Another suggestion was to install Group Policy Editor, which MS left out of the Home edition. I downloaded and installed it, but it doesn't seem to be available.

How do I get rid of this thing?
posted by Kirth Gerson to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
When you say "loads automatically," what do you mean?

I just set Win10 to use Firefox, and Edge doesn't seem to come up.
posted by uberchet at 6:05 AM on November 5, 2019

do you want something different from / more permanent than "Choose a default web browser"?

if you haven't done that already - hit the Windows key & type "default", then pick the corresponding option from the list - might also be listed as "Default app settings" - scroll down a little way to Web Browser, and if you have another browser installed, you can pick it from the list

if you have done that already - my apologies, I have nothing further to add

but the simple way worked for me on my annoying new Win10 work laptop, I didn't have to fool around in the registry
posted by rd45 at 6:05 AM on November 5, 2019

I have Windows 10 at work and haven’t seen Edge since I changed my default browser to Chrome.
posted by MadamM at 6:24 AM on November 5, 2019

Neither of those answers addresses my problem. This is not about setting my default browser. Edge starts and runs in the background, and I do not want it to.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:24 AM on November 5, 2019

Do either of these slightly different reg keys exist:

posted by Jacob G at 6:34 AM on November 5, 2019

Have you tried this to remove it from the startup list?
posted by missmagenta at 6:34 AM on November 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

I agree with missmagenta.
posted by terrapin at 6:56 AM on November 5, 2019

Jacob, no, neither of those entries are present, nor is any other entry with "Edge" in it present.

missmagenta, Edge does not appear on that list of startup programs (or on startup lists generated by other programs), but it does start.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:38 AM on November 5, 2019

I am assuming you are an admin on your machine? If you trust random software from a stranger on the internet, I can send you the package I have that uninstalls it. It goes remarkably fast. The only thing you have to do post uninstall is remove the shortcut from the desktop. Or leave it. Clicking on it won't do anything.

For all those who just say change the default, there are problems with this. I have seen multiple machines where after a Windows update or some such, random things default back to Edge. Sometimes webpages, sometimes pdfs, etc. It is remarkably frustating/annoying. The only consistent fix I have seen is to nuke it from orbit.

(Note: I am desktop support at my job.)
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 2:34 PM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I googled this, because it seemed super weird to me, and I couldn't find evidence of it happening on my main Windows environment. And then it hit me: my main Windows box is running Server.

So I checked my Win10 environment, and sure enough it's there. So, again, I googled. And what I found just made me madder.

Turns out, there's a Background Apps control panel in Settings, and you can turn this behavior off. MSFT allows a BUNCH of stuff to run in the background like this, but you can also turn every one of them OFF, and probably should.

Having this "Background Apps" thing exist separately and distinct from Startup Items is a great example of MSFT being absolutely hostile consistency and usability, TBH.

You might think this would address Edge's poor behavior. Reader, it does not. As soon as you start Edge again and quit it, Edge's background processes ARE RESTORED; it completely ignores the Background Apps setting.

As a non mouse notes, it seems like the only real option here is to nuke it from orbit ie uninstall, because this is some user-hostile bullshit.
posted by uberchet at 6:13 AM on November 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

uberchef, I had no idea there was a Background Apps control panel (because it's not shown). I found it by searching, and deselected Edge and a bunch of games. So far it hasn't restored its background function. If it only does that when it's opened for use, I may be OK.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:26 PM on November 6, 2019

Yeah, it's definitely gone, but only until you start it again. If you run Edge and then quit it, the background processes remain and near as I can tell the only way to stop them is to kill them in the Task Manager.

Windows is such a shit show.
posted by uberchet at 6:28 AM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was having the same problem with Edge. I couldn't find out how to turn the darn thing off!

uberchet Many thanks for your input! I also had no idea there was a background apps control panel.
posted by james33 at 7:17 AM on November 7, 2019

Disabling it in the Background Apps control panel seemed to solve the problem, but now it's doing its thing again even though it's still disabled there. Maybe a reboot will make it stop again.

As for what it's doing that I don't like, it's saving information about my browsing activity, even though I'm not using Edge to browse with. It saves Session, Set Aside Tabs, Form Information, and Cards, whatever those are. I know a lot of people are not bothered by Windows saving that sort of data, but I am.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:56 AM on November 8, 2019

Yes, a reboot stopped Edge from ignoring the Background Apps control panel setting.

The reason I know Edge is running in background is that when I run CCleaner, if Edge is running in the background, CCleaner spits an error message, and the results of the cleaning say that those items I listed in my last comment are associated with Edge, and were skipped. If it's not running, none of that happens, and the cleaning happens without issue.

I think Edge got re-enabled when I tried to download Notepad, which MS didn't see fit to include in Win10. I wanted to edit a simple HTML doc, but there isn't anything to do that in Win10 Home.

This is all pretty annoying. Why does MS feel it worthwhile to collect that data? Why do they hide the Background Apps control panel? Why didn't they include Notepad or Wordpad in Win10?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:04 AM on November 8, 2019

So -- Wordpad IS installed, just hidden so I have to search for it; it's not listed in All Apps.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:12 AM on November 8, 2019

Huh. All my Win10 environments have Notepad. When did they stop including it?

I'm also unclear on how Edge would be capturing data about your browsing activity in another browser. If true, that's really gross and invasive.
posted by uberchet at 7:50 AM on November 8, 2019

I don't know how Edge does it, but when CCleaner is allowed to, it deletes a very large browser cache associated with Edge, when all I've been using is Firefox.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:57 PM on November 8, 2019

Update: Even though I have Edge turned off in the Background Apps control panel, it still randomly starts up and collects data. I have to reboot again to get the setting to take.

This is something that happens with all sorts of Windows settings - I have things configured as I like them, then one or another setting goes back to what Windows thinks I should be using. I really wish MS would not build this flaw into their OS.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:41 AM on December 12, 2019

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