Microsoft Edge may be running on your Windows PCs, even if you don't use the browser

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 4, 2022
Updated • Feb 4, 2022
Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge is the default browser on recent versions of Windows 10 and Windows 11. Microsoft integrated a feature in Edge that it calls startup boost; this feature preloads some Edge components to make the browser start up instantly when it is launched.

microsoft-edge startup boost processes

Problem is: startup boost is not disabled automatically when users switch to another browser. Even on systems where Edge is not used at all, it may be enabled and Edge components may be loaded on system start to make the browser's start faster.

Microsoft highlights the benefits of startup boost on the official FAQ website:

Microsoft Edge will start more quickly when it is launched from the taskbar, desktop, or from hyperlinks embedded in other applications when you log on after device startup or the browser is closed.

The feature keeps the browser running with minimal processes when the browser is closed according to Microsoft and the processes have "limited impact on device resource usage".

It is easy enough to check. Just fire up the Windows Task Manager, or better, Sysinternals' Process Explorer, and check if msedge.exe processes are loaded on the system after the system has booted. If you see the processes listed, startup boost is enabled on the system.

Disable Startup Boost in Edgeedge startup boost

It is easy enough to disable Startup Boost in Edge itself.

  1. Load edge://settings/system in the browser's address bar.
  2. You find Startup boost grouped under System.
  3. Toggle it so that it is set to off (black dot and white background of the element).

That's all there is to it. Edge won't have its components loaded on the next system startup. You can restart immediately to check this.

System administrators may run into a problem when they attempt to configure a policy to disable Startup Boost on managed systems. Michael Niehaus mentioned this on his Out of Office Hours blog the other day.

The Group Policy Editor lists a policy -- Allow Microsoft Edge to pre-launch at Windows Startup, when the system is idle, and each time Microsoft Edge is closed -- but the problem is that it does not disable Startup Boost. Niehaus suggests that it is designed for the old Microsoft Edge browser, and thus not compatible with the Startup boost feature of the new Edge.

Administrators need to download the Chromium Edge ADMX files to manage Startup boost of the new Edge on managed systems. With these in place, administrators find the "Enable startup boost" policy under Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Microsoft Edge > Performance. Switching the state of the policy to Disabled turns off Startup boost on systems.

Closing Words

Startup boost improves the loading of Edge on Windows PCs. Users who do use Edge may find the feature beneficial, but those who don't, and that appears to be the majority, has no benefit from the feature if Edge is not used at all. Disabling Startup boost is easy for individual user systems, but administrators need the new ADMX file to do so.

Now You: do you use Microsoft Edge?

Microsoft Edge may be running on your Windows PCs, even if you don't use the browser
Article Name
Microsoft Edge may be running on your Windows PCs, even if you don't use the browser
Microsoft Edge is loaded on every system startup on Windows PCs, even if the browser is not used at all. Our guide walks you through the steps of disabling it.
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  1. Dwayne said on February 10, 2022 at 11:24 am

    Using edge all day, every day. Uninstalled chrome a year or so back and I’ve never missed it. More like glad it’s gone for a whole host of reasons!

  2. common sense computing said on February 7, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    Edge also includes a number of tasks and services that consume CPU time and battery life. Autoruns is your friend.

  3. JohnIL said on February 7, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    I started off liking Edge browser, but now that Microsoft keeps adding so many bloated features I have lost interest in continuing to use it. This is not what I was wanting from Microsoft in a web browser. Yes, I certainly don’t want the browser running in the background. Especially when I don’t use it very much.

  4. Naa bro no name for you said on February 7, 2022 at 6:35 am

    I use edge because it’s a product that a company actually puts effort in. Chrome, albeit its long lifespan, barely scratches the surface of how much more Microsoft has put into its browser.

    More than half of what people say about edge is actually just stereotypes of edge’s darker times.

  5. doctor death said on February 7, 2022 at 4:17 am

    > do you use Microsoft Edge?

    Yes, and I like it, but there is some BS with it. For example:

    With Edge, I went to install Google Chrome, and Edge gave this popup nag:

    “We’re sorry to see you go. There’s more than one reason why Microsoft Edge is the browser recommended by Microsoft.”

  6. Ray said on February 7, 2022 at 3:04 am

    I still prefer edge over chrome even with Microsoft sneaky ways to let Edge in.

  7. JediWombat said on February 5, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    >Do you use Microsoft Edge?

    Yes, of course, on every system I’ve ever built. Microsoft Edge is the world’s best Chrome downloader ;)

    1. Hary said on February 7, 2022 at 8:45 pm


      You made me laugh to tears.

  8. Anonymous said on February 5, 2022 at 8:14 pm


  9. Flyer said on February 5, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    Geeez, new system, new problems not known before :/

  10. ULBoom said on February 5, 2022 at 3:26 pm

    Just remove Chredge with Powershell. It’s been predictably bloated into a pseudo OS inside WindowsChromeBook.

  11. Janne Vellamo said on February 5, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    How about an article about how your photos all go to Microsoft One Drive, in stead of your hard drive, thus becoming property of Microsoft? I never wanted to store my pictures in the cloud, I wanted them on my computer, but Microsoft thinks all my photos are belong to Microsoft.

  12. Dumbledalf said on February 5, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    I just uninstall bloatware/malware junk like this and Windows Security.

  13. OldGamer said on February 5, 2022 at 2:33 am

    I have a couple of systems not ever being connected to any network. Always, only using off-line updates on them. Now, with a .Net update, every Tuesday or Wednesday, boot-time is an extra 40 seconds of waiting. Showing a silly Blue screen.. Only once a week.. Everything related to updates is disabled. Waiting for what !? Calling home.. I guess… Btw, those non-connected systems is the best I’ve ever had.

  14. The whole story in 4 words said on February 4, 2022 at 11:16 pm

    Edge is a malware.

    1. YBU said on February 7, 2022 at 4:24 am

      Your hyperbole is at best rebarbative.

      At least you can count.

  15. DeceptivePatterns said on February 4, 2022 at 10:46 pm

    Its been always like this. They want you to stay connected to their endpoints at all times to gather much data as possible.

  16. piomiq said on February 4, 2022 at 9:42 pm

    Nothing new. In Windows you are connecting with WiFi even you are not logged in. It is doing just after login screen is shown.

  17. Service Pack said on February 4, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    This has been the behavior even for Edge Legacy [or the original Edge] since 2015

  18. NiksJobs said on February 4, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    This browser has become a bloat and dangerous for your privacy….too bad because I really liked it and now I am going to disable it completely and permanently.

  19. Tony said on February 4, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    It can’t run on Linux, because I didn’t install it, so no worries.

  20. Tachy said on February 4, 2022 at 3:11 pm
    1. just an Ed said on February 4, 2022 at 4:51 pm

      It says updated next to Mr. B’s name. I would guess it has to do with the added mention of a download being needed for administrators to disable the feature on managed networks.

  21. Harry Rimshot said on February 4, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    On the Startup tab disable Msedge.
    It doesn’t appear on my Details list either.

  22. Neutrino said on February 4, 2022 at 9:56 am

    My experience on Win10 was much worse than that:

    – Edge was closed
    – wasn’t running in the tray
    – There was no msedge.exe in tasks manager
    – Startup Boost option was disabled
    – “Continue running background apps when Edge is closed” was disabled

    But I’d still somehow receive push notifications from it… from the void… from the ether.

    My solution was only one: Revo Uninstaller

    1. Hary said on February 7, 2022 at 8:40 pm

      Same here.

  23. Trey said on February 4, 2022 at 9:48 am

    I checked and oh yea, I had uninstalled Edge.

    1. S66 said on February 4, 2022 at 9:55 am

      When I uninstalled Edge, it reinstalled itself :(

      1. nichan said on February 10, 2022 at 8:01 am

        There is a way Not to get it if you don’t want to.
        It is possible to uninstall and completely block Edge on Windows 10. When it involves the registry to make changes, there is a possibility to mess up.

        Video here : however use the link above to download the blocker and not from the utube video

  24. Marti Martz said on February 4, 2022 at 9:47 am

    This explains why Bleachbit has to continually force close it on affected systems… and yes it finds the dirt that it does without user consent when it’s never been executed.

    Thanks for the tips.

    1. Marti Martz said on February 4, 2022 at 10:14 am

      Slight correction before the peanut gallery goes nutterz…

      CCleaner shows the force closing dialog and with Bleachbit I’ve been having to relaunch Edge and exit Edge from their menu item and pray that it doesn’t relaunch (even though it does eventually) before it can be scrubbed.

  25. Anonymous said on February 4, 2022 at 8:40 am

    1) Search for ‘how to fully uninstall Edge’ (may install as program, app or both).
    2) Search for ‘prevent edge reinstalling’

  26. Jojo said on February 4, 2022 at 8:20 am

    I checked and have the toggle off.

    BTW: Edge has the worst spell checker I have seen in any browser. There’s a subject to write on!

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