You can remove Edge and Bing Search on Windows 11 even if you don't live in Europe
Microsoft announced this week that users in the European Economic Area will soon be able to remove Bing and Edge from Windows 11. Users from all European Union countries as well as those from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will also be able to disable some ads and gain a couple of other privileges.
These users may uninstall Edge or Bing Search just like any other installed application once the feature lands. What Microsoft did not reveal is that users from outside the EEA region may also gain the same privileges.
Microsoft warned in the announcement that the region selected during setup determines whether the privileges are enabled on a Windows 11 system. Users who change the region at a later stage won't be able to gain the benefits, according to Microsoft.
What Microsoft failed to reveal is that it is indeed possible to make changes in the Registry to unlock the privileges, at least in development editions. It is too early to tell if the modifications apply to stable versions of Windows 11 as well. The first stable version is expected in the first half of 2024 and tests will show then if the Registry tweaks work for these versions as well.
Twitter user Albacore published instructions on changing the region and gaining the privileges. The instructions are not overly complicated, but they do require editing the Registry. It is recommended to create a backup of the system or at least from the Registry before making the modifications.
Note: modifying the region may impact some functionality of the operating system. Do not make these modifications on stable versions of Windows at this time. Also, users from the EEA do not need to make these modifications.
Here are step by step instructions on making the necessary modifications:
- Select Start, type regedit.exe and select the Registry Editor result from Search.
- Confirm the UAC prompt.
- Paste the string HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Control Panel\DeviceRegion into the address field of the Registry Editor.
- Locate the DeviceRegion Dword on the right side and double-click on it.
- Consult this Microsoft support page to find the numeric value for a European Country. Germany has 94, France 84, Finland 77 and so on.
- Change the value of the DeviceRegion Dword to the new country code.
- Paste the string HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\International\Geo into the address field.
- Double-click on Nation and change it to the same value entered previously, e.g., 94 for Germany.
- Double-click on Name and change it to the country's code, e.g., DE for Germany.
- Paste the third and final string into the address field: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsSelfHost\Applicability
- Make sure that EnablePreviewBuilds has a value that is not 0.
- Make sure that the BranchName is ReleasePreview.
- Close the Registry Editor.
- Restart the PC.
You may now remove Edge from Settings > Apps like any other app. The Uninstall option should be available now.
I confirmed the process and others have too. Note that the functionality is not available in all development installations of Windows 11 yet. You can use ViVeTool to enable them by enabling
- IntegratedServicesPolicyEnforcement (44353396)
- IntegratedServicesPolicyControl (43699941)
The bypass works in development builds of Windows 11 and it will likely also work in stable versions, once the functionality lands. This has to be tested though and users should not rush to apply the tweaks without proper backup or confirmation from trusted sources.
All in all, it looks as if anyone may be able to gain the same benefits as EEA users in the near future.
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