Currently, when you only have one tab remaining in an Edge window, if you close that tab, the app will close itself as well.
With the new option – which leaker Leopeva64 spotted in testing, in the Canary version of the browser – Edge will no longer close when that final tab is dismissed. Instead, a default tab will open (NTP or New Tab Page) in its place, keeping the browser running.
Microsoft is testing an option that will cause controversy: when you click the "close" button of the last open tab, the browser doesn't close but instead switches to the NTP:https://t.co/h0pW7h3jRr.https://t.co/4gEvLmj8Nt pic.twitter.com/qSNJd8h8g1December 11, 2023
You can see the new scheme of things in action in Leopeva64’s tweet above.
Essentially, Edge becomes like the Terminator. You can kill that last tab, but it keeps coming back to life.
Analysis: If it‘s a choice, there‘s no real controversy...
Why would you want that to happen? Well, plenty of folks do, as Leopeva64 points out further in the thread of that tweet, and this is the default behavior (or at least an option) for closing the last tab on some of the best web browsers (not Google Chrome, mind).
The reasoning is that having no choice over what happens when closing that final tab is messing with the workflow of some folks, who are even going to the lengths of installing an extension to ensure the browser window isn’t closed with the last tab.
Other people subscribe to the opinion that it’s logical for the browser to close when you shut down that last tab, and that makes sense equally. And that if Edge keeps coming back it seems like it’s refusing to budge from your desktop, as it were.
To be fair, though, you can simply close the browser with the big ‘X’ icon top-right, as ever. And the point, really, is to give people a choice of how they want Edge to act in this final tab scenario.
On that score, at the moment, there is no toggle to change the behavior, though Leopeva64 says they’re certain Microsoft will implement one. That will surely be the case, and the only reason it isn’t present right now is that we’re still in early testing.
If the behavior of Edge not being closed when the final tab is dismissed is forced as the only way things work, mind, that will inevitably put a few noses out of joint. Mind you, this assumes the feature will make the cut for the release version of Edge – Microsoft could still ditch the idea, of course.
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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).