On November 16, 2023, Microsoft announced several changes to its operating system to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act. To avoid the regulator’s scrutiny, Microsoft allowed changing several Windows settings and uninstalling some previously non-removable stock applications. Microsoft Edge is among those apps, and EU citizens will be able to remove it soon.
However, there is no need to move into the EU to uninstall Microsoft Edge in Windows 11. As it turned out, a few changes in Windows Registry (shared by @thebookisclosed on X) can force the operating system to allow uninstalling Edge, disabling ads in Windows Search, and removing the news feed in Windows Widgets.
Note: Back up important data and create a system restore point. Do not proceed if you are not comfortable with modifying the registry and enabling hidden features or if you are not ready for unexpected troubleshooting. Changing your device region may also affect other apps and services.
- Install Windows 11 build 22631.2787 from the Release Preview Channel.
- Update Microsoft Edge to the latest version.
- Disable Startup Boost in Microsoft Edge. Keeping Startup Boost on will prevent you from uninstalling Edge and result in the latter asking you to close all open windows even if the browser is not running.
- Download the ViVeTool app from GitHub and extract its files wherever convenient.
- Launch Command Prompt as Administrator and navigate to the folder with ViVeTool files using the CD command. Here is an example: CD C:\Vive.
- Type vivetool /enable /id:44353396 and press Enter.
- Restart your computer.
- Press Win + R and type regedit.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Control Panel\DeviceRegion.
- Double-click the DeviceRegion value and change its data to 54 (or decimal 84). This will change your device location to France. You can check out this document to get another country code.
- Navigate to HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\International\Geo and change the Nation value to 84.
- Change the Name value to FR.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsSelfHost\Applicability and ensure the EnablePreviewBuilds value is not set to zero and BranchName is set to “ReleasePreview.”
- Restart your computer.
- Now, you can right-click Microsoft Edge and uninstall it. Kill Microsoft Edge and its processes Task Manager if the system still asks you to close all windows.
Of course, going through that hassle is unnecessary if you live in the EU. Build 22631.2787 will soon be available in the Stable Channel, allowing everyone to remove Microsoft Edge without resorting to radical methods.