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Microsoft Edge glitch
© Bongkarn Thanyakij |
Security & privacy

Windows bug: Check if Edge is silently running in the background

Microsoft keeps its Windows operating system running relatively smoothly by releasing regular updates. In its monthly Patch Tuesday update, many vulnerabilities get fixed.

However, in one of the latest updates, Microsoft enabled its Edge browser to launch automatically when your computer starts up. If Edge isn’t your default browser, this is annoying. But simply closing it from the desktop won’t shut it down.

Read on to see what you must do to free up some valuable memory and kill the process entirely.

Here’s the backstory

While it isn’t clear when the problems started or with which update, many Windows 10 and 11 users reported over the last few weeks that Edge starts up automatically when you log into your computer.

This means Microsoft added Edge to the startup applications without your knowledge. The company has been facing an uphill battle to get more users, as millions prefer Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox.

You could close Edge every time it launches, but that will quickly become annoying. Sure, it’s out of sight, but it’s not out of memory. So closing Edge, in theory, only minimizes it, but the process still runs in the background. This eats up valuable internal memory, which can slow down your computer.

You’re also out of luck if you are fed up and want to get rid of Edge. The company explains on a support page that Edge is the default browser for Windows, and you can’t delete it from your PC.

What you can do about it

So, what can you do if you can’t uninstall Edge and closing the app doesn’t get the job done? There are a few options. The easiest way is to disable Edge as the default browser.

How to choose the default browser in Windows:

  • Right-click on the Start button and select Settings.
  • Click on Apps, then click Default apps on the left panel.
  • Scroll down and click on Web browser. Then, choose your preferred browser.

Another option is to disable Edge from launching at startup. Here’s how:

  • Right-click on the Start button and select Settings.
  • Click on Apps, then click Startup.
  • Scroll down until you see Microsoft Edge and toggle the slider next to it to the off position.

If Edge is already running in the background, you can stop the process through the task manager.

  • Right-click on the taskbar at the bottom of your screen and select Task Manager.
  • Scroll down under the Processes tab until you see Microsoft Edge, then right-click on the process and click End task. You might have to do this several times, depending on the number of times it’s running.

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