Microsoft Edge breaks Windows 11’s tablet mode in bizarre glitch

Microsoft Edge
(Image credit: Shutterstock / monticello)

Microsoft Edge has reportedly gone a bit haywire with its latest update, at least for some users who are seeing the web browser presented in touch-friendly form – on desktop PCs where this isn’t necessary.

What’s going on here? Well, as Windows Latest reports, after opening Edge and finding the browser updated, the browser client had bigger spaces between interface elements (including tabs) and wider buttons.

This is the configuration used to make the browser better for touchscreens, giving you more space to tap on things, but the problem is that the mode is supposedly appearing on Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs, which are normal (non-touchscreen) desktops.

Windows Latest observes that what’s happening is that Microsoft has mistakenly forced the tablet-friendly mode to turn on with Edge, at least on some desktop PCs, which are being misidentified as tablets somehow – including the system used by the writer for the tech site.

Analysis: A confusing and frankly weird bug

Well, this is a new – and very odd – one on us. There is an easy cure, fortunately, which as Windows Latest points out, simply involves diving into the Settings panel for Edge, heading to 'Appearances' and turning off the ‘touch mode’ – which is what has been accidentally activated here.

For those not familiar with the touch mode, or who don’t know it exists at all, the updated Edge could be very confusing. Some users may assume that this is a new design Microsoft is trying out for the browser, and will be left scratching their heads as to the rationale behind the move.

Now, don’t get us wrong – touch mode is very useful to have and apply where needed (with a touchscreen, of course). But this wrongful application in some cases is a pretty glaring error from Microsoft, and not a helpful move in the quest for Edge to be seen as one of the best web browsers going.

According to Windows Latest, the bug can be replicated on Microsoft Edge version 117 (with default settings), and there are users on Reddit complaining about this issue. As one Redditor puts it, they are “kinda shocked” that Microsoft didn’t notice this before pushing out the latest update, and we’re more than a bit shocked ourselves.

There is a suggestion on another Reddit post that a fix has been deployed, but there are still reports of affected people out there. At any rate, you can fix things yourself using the mentioned toggle (in Settings) easily enough, thankfully.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).