Breaking: Windows users in the EEA will soon be able to remove Bing and Edge

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 17, 2023
Updated • Nov 17, 2023
Windows 10, Windows 11 News

Windows users who reside in the European Economic Area will soon be able to uninstall Microsoft Edge and Bing Search on Windows 11. They will furthermore be able to disable (some) ads.

Microsoft announced the change yesterday on the official Windows Blog. To ensure compliance with the Digital Markets Act in the European Economic Area (EEA), changes will roll out to users of Windows 10 and 11 devices soon says Microsoft.

The European Economic Area includes all member states of the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

To ensure compliance with the Digital Markets Act, EEA users of Windows will soon gain additional rights that Windows users from other regions don't have.

One of the major changes is the ability to remove Microsoft's Edge web browser from the Windows operating system. Microsoft Edge replaced Internet Explorer as the default browser in Windows.

Microsoft integrated Edge deeply into the operating system, for instance, by forcing certain links to open in Edge, even if another default browser is used and preferred by the user.

Bing Search, another component that Microsoft linked deeply into the operating system, may also be uninstalled. This would restore the classic functionality of Windows Search and remove the ability to get web results.

Microsoft started to unlock more native Windows apps for all users of the operating system, but the removal of Edge and Bing Search will be an EEA exclusive feature.

Another improvement comes to Widgets. Introduced in Windows 11 in its current form, it displays information to users when opened. This includes news, weather information and sports scores by default. While users get some say in what is displayed, Widgets displayed advertisement to all of them. The option to disable Microsoft News and ads is also coming as an exclusive options to users from the EEA.


Microsoft promises, again, that the upcoming version of Windows will remember user defaults. This has been a point of criticism in the past, as updates sometimes would restore defaults. This was always in Microsoft's favor, as it might have made Edge the default browser on the system again.

Microsoft plans to roll out the changes that it announced on the Windows blog gradually. Many are also integrated into the November 2023 non-security preview update for Windows 11 version 23h2 in the Release Preview channel. Not all of them are enabled by default, and Microsoft says that it will roll them out gradually to users over time.

Windows 10 will also receive the changes. All Windows 10 version 22H2 and Windows 11 version 23H2 PCs in the EEA will be compliant by March 6, 2024 according to Microsoft.

system apps windows 11

Windows will highlight core system apps in various places. This has been done already to a degree. Microsoft notes that users find important system apps under Settings > System > System Components. The new All listing of apps in the Start Menu labels these apps with system, and search results will also label them system if they come up.

Users may uninstall all non-system apps in Windows, with the exception of Microsoft Edge and Web Search from Microsoft Bing. The two apps are only removable in the EEA.

Windows users from the EEA will also be asked if they want to sync their accounts with Windows. The prompt allows users to prevent the syncing feature by default while signed-in with a Microsoft Account.

Another EEA-only change affects application defaults. Microsoft promises that Windows will always use the app defaults on Windows in the EEA for opening links and files. This feature has been announced previously, but Microsoft has not yet launched it. Microsoft says that any file or link, including web browser links, will always open in the default app selected by the user of the system in the EEA.

Closing Words

The announced changes are major for users in the EEA. While it will take a few months before they become available, it gives users more control over Windows. Provided that Microsoft stays true to its words, users will soon experience less frustration when using another default system browser. Ads will also be reduced, if users disable Bing Search and configure the system accordingly.

All in all, it is a major change that is unfortunately only available for users in the EEA.

Microsoft notes that Windows determines if a PC is in the EEA during the initial region selection during setup. Changing the setting later won't move it to the EEA region automatically, only a reset can do that, according to Microsoft.

Now You: what is your take on this development?

Windows users in the EU will soon be able to remove Bing and Edge, and disable ads
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Windows users in the EU will soon be able to remove Bing and Edge, and disable ads
Windows users from the European Economic Area will soon have more control over their devices. Here are the details.
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  1. Adelaide said on November 17, 2023 at 7:44 pm

    Great news. But will Microsoft also remove the built-in shortcuts to proprietary applications from Windows? For example, Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Win opens Microsoft Office 365 in the default browser; Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Win+W a sign-in to the, Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Win+T to MS Teams; Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Win+Y to Yammer, and Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Win+L to LinkedIn.

    Those shortcuts override any attempt to use them by a third-party application, such as Clavier+ or AutoHotkey, unless one kills Explorer.exe, runs the hokey utility, then restarts Explorer.

    1. Plants said on November 19, 2023 at 10:10 pm

      What was the point of this comment, and what does it have to do with the topic of the article?

  2. WilliamGatesTheight said on November 17, 2023 at 6:16 pm

    This needs to be implemented in more countries. People should always have a choice whats on their devices. Microsoft is out of control under Satya Nadella. Treating its operating system like venue for spyware and adware. Treating their userbase like garbage. Windows Pro and Enterprise editions aren’t free. Naturally, coverage for those editions should also be included.

  3. VioletMoon said on November 17, 2023 at 3:41 pm

    Maybe it’s a good sign, but how many users in the EAA are complaining? My guess is less than 15% of the current users will uninstall Edge/Bing.

    For those elsewhere, MSEdgeRedirect is a great program to prevent Edge/Bing from hijacking links, and directions for safely removing Edge are located on the Internet.

    Any user who seriously takes offense with Edge/Bing, isn’t doing his/her homework.

    Same goes for Widgets–News, etc.

  4. John said on November 17, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    I hope this ability extends beyond the EU eventually. I am not so negative about Edge or Bing but more about how Microsoft tries to beg and force you to use it.

  5. TelV said on November 17, 2023 at 2:43 pm

    That’s the first piece of good news Microsoft has ever come up with. It might also explain why two Edge shortcuts appeared on my Win 11 Pro machine when I last checked for updates a couple of days ago. The ‘extra’ desktop Edge shortcut was located on the right immediately above the the clock on the taskbar and I almost clicked the damn thing too. I couldn’t recall moving it there either and grabbed it with the intention of moving it the left hand side of the desktop, but suddenly noticed there was an Edge shortcut already present in that location. It was at that stage I was able to delete the both of them which I thought a bit odd at the time. But if Microsoft is going to allow Edge to be uninstalled then that’s great! I’ll be glad to see the back of the damn tthing. Same goes for Bing as well although I never actually used it.

  6. Thorky said on November 17, 2023 at 2:37 pm

    Great, but why only for Windows 11? Are there other laws for Windows 10?

    1. Windows11IsMalware said on November 17, 2023 at 10:34 pm

      Nowadays, Microsoft is even worse than some of the fraudulent businesses out there. Due to Microsoft’s behavior since Windows 10, there should be a significant fine and an antitrust inquiry. Similar to the EU, other nations must take aggressive action.

      Microsoft may essentially breach your privacy, require you to use their unfinished, untested applications, and bombard you with advertisements if you are not a resident of the EU, despite the fact that the operating system was purchased.

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