If you’re one of those who are wishing away Microsoft Edge, the default web browser included with the Windows 10 operating system, you’re not alone. Despite being a decent browser that’s constantly improving thanks to Windows 10 updates, it’s not easy to get rid of for good.
It’s a core component in Windows and a Trusted App so you can’t uninstall or remove it. Edge is also persistent, sometimes spawning popups to remind you how inefficient other browsers are. But this probably isn’t enough impetus to make you switch to using it. If anything, it pales in comparison to other popular browsers and ends up being more annoying than helpful.
What’s worse than lack of personalization, extension support, and bothersome notification balloons is how Edge pre-launches on startup and runs in the background.
Why Microsoft Edge runs in the background
Edge received a performance boost in the Windows 10 October 2018 update or version 1809, which allows it to pre-launch processes and preload Start and New Tabs at startup.
These optimizations waste resources and slow your computer’s startup, especially if you don’t use it as your browser. However, you can disable this and banish Edge from your web browsing experience so it doesn’t bother you again. The first two steps can be done by anyone, while the last two are based on Home or Pro editions.
Change the default browser
You’re not stuck with Edge, as there are several other web browsers you can choose from including Chrome, Opera, or Mozilla’s Firefox.
If your default browser is set to Edge, you can download one of the other popular browsers from Edge if you don’t already have it. To do this:
- Click Download on Chrome, Opera, or Firefox, depending on the browser you want to install.
- Locate the download link at the bottom-left side of the Edge browser.
- Click the download link (or click Open).
- If prompted to accept Terms of Service, click Accept.
- Click Install (click Yes to approve if prompted).
Set a default browser
A default browser opens when you click a link in either a web page, email, or document. In Windows 10 the default browser is set as Microsoft Edge. To change the default browser:
1. Click “Start -> Settings -> Apps.”
2. Click “Default Apps” and a list of results will be displayed.
3. Click on the desired browser.
4. Exit the Settings window.
Turn Edge off as a background app
You can turn off Microsoft Edge as a background app or process using these steps:
1. Open Settings.
2. In the search box type “Privacy.”
3. Select “Privacy Settings” from the results listed.
4. On the left pane scroll down to “App Permissions.”
5. Locate “Background apps,” and click on it. (If it doesn’t show on the list of App Permissions, maximize the window.)
6. On the right side find Microsoft Edge, and turn it off.
7. Reboot your computer.
Disable Edge by editing the Registry
If you have the Home edition of Windows, you can use the Registry Editor to disable Edge. Pro or Enterprise editions are handled in the next method, but you can still use it if you’re comfortable with it.
If you’ve never worked with Registry Editor before, be sure to back up the Registry and your computer before you start making changes.
To disable Edge by making changes in the Registry, you’ll have to make two edits: one that prevents pre-launching of processes and another that prevents preloading of Start and New Tabs.
1. Prevent pre-launching of processes in Microsoft Edge
1. Click the search button and type
2. Press Enter to open Registry Editor. (Allow it to make changes, if prompted.)
3. On the left side of the Registry Editor navigate to the key “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\MicrosoftEdge\Main.”
4. Right-click the main key, and select “New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.”
5. Name the value “AllowPrelaunch.”
6. Double-click the new AllowPrelaunch value.
7. In the Value Data box set the value to 0. and click OK. (This can be changed back by going back to AllowPrelaunch and setting the value to 1.)
2. Prevent Preloading of Start and New Tabs
While still in the Registry Editor:
1. On the left side of the Registry Editor navigate to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\MicrosoftEdge.
2. Right-click MicrosoftEdge folder and select “New -> Key.”
3. Name the new key “TabPreloader.”
4. Right-click the TabPreloader key.
5. Select “New -> DWORD (32-bit) value.”
6. Name the new value “AllowTabPreloading.”
7. Double-click the new AllowTabPreloading value to modify it.
8. In the Value Data box set the value to 0.
9. Click OK. (You can go back to AllowTabPreloading and set the value to 1 later.)
10. Exit the Registry Editor and restart your computer to effect changes.
Disable Edge using Local Group Policy Editor
You can disable Microsoft Edge with a Group Policy setting. This editor is, however, only available in the Pro, Education, and Education editions of Windows 10.
1. Right-click the Start button and select Run.
gpedit.msc and click OK or press Enter to open the Local Group Policy Editor.
3. In the left pane go to “Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Microsoft Edge.”
4. In the right pane of Microsoft Edge double click Prevent Microsoft Edge from starting and loading the Start and New Tab page at Windows startup, and each time Microsoft Edge is closed to edit the policy.
5. Click Enable.
6. Click OK and close the Group Policy Editor.
Did any of these steps finally stop Microsoft Edge from running in the background of your system? Share with us below.
Image Credit: Microsoft