I am Joe's complete lack of surprise

How to Debloat Microsoft Edge

Around the time Edge first dropped, a friend of mine confessed he had switched from Chrome and was loving it for its stream-lined speed. I have been jumping between browsers since 1999, so I gave it a shot. Surprisingly, Edge was great. All I had to do was switch the default search engine to Google and I was set.

As Edge evolved, I got hooked on Vertical Tabs. Other browsers have them, but in Edge, vertical tabs gracefully auto-collapse into Favicons, tab titles titles are very legible, and you can preview each tab just by hovering over them.

Recently though, Microsoft has added more and more "bloat" to Edge and I went window shopping for other browsers (I'm on Windows, for the record). After trying Librewolf, Floorp, and Vivaldi I came crawling back to Edge.

Here's a list of changes I use debloat and streamline Edge:

  1. Don't sign into Edge

  2. Under Settings -> Profiles untoggle all options under Microsoft Rewards, all settings in Profile preferences, and the option under Share browsing data with other Windows features

  3. In Microsoft Wallet untoggle Show buy now, pay later option on sites when you shop, and Show Express checkout on sites when you shop

  4. Under Settings -> Privacy, search and services Set Tracking prevention to Strict, toggle Send "Do Not Track" requests, untoggle Allow sites to check if you have payment methods saved, opt out of Optional diagnostic data, Search and service improvement, and Personalization & advertising

  5. In this same section, I choose to opt out in Security from Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, Website typo protection, Enhance your security on the web, and Microsoft Edge Secure Network

  6. In this same section again, opt out of every single option in Service - be sure to click on Address bar and search as well and disable the options under Search suggestions and filters

  7. In Appearance, under Customize Toolbar I enable Show tab actions menu, Hide title bar while in vertical tabs and Show tab preview on hover; I untoggle Show profile type in the profile button; set Show favorites bar to Never; Disable the Home button, set Forward button to Show Automatically, set Extensions button to Never show, and toggle off every single other button (as of the date of this post, there are 13!)

  8. In Sidebar, I untoggle every option

  9. In Start, home and new tabs I use StarterTab as my new tab page

  10. In Share, copy and paste I select Plain text

  11. In System and Performance I untoggle Continue running background extensions and apps when Microsoft Edge is closed and also Performance detector

That's it ;)

Here's what my Edge browser looks like after all is untoggled and saved:

I am Joe's complete lack of surprise

Reflecting on this post, the amount of effort required is unfortunate. However, in my experience, every browser requires some level of squabbling with settings and I still enjoy some of the unique features Edge has to offer.

I hope that Orion or Arc bring vertical tab lovers like myself a better solution soon!