This ability has been introduced with version 116 of Edge, as spotted by Ghacks, and it comes alongside the usual bug fixes and smoothing out of performance issues.
The Edge sidebar normally nestles on the right-hand side of the browser, but now, those on Windows 10 can pop it out of the browser window, and place it on their desktop.
The idea is to facilitate a “side-by-side experience” with the sidebar and any Windows 10 app, with the feature remaining present on the desktop, even if the Edge browser itself is closed.
So, this is kind of like having two taskbars on your desktop, if you will, with one of them being Edge-specific.
Analysis: Substitute Copilot – at least in a small way
This is a useful option that’s opt-in as Microsoft makes clear, so if you’re not interested in having the Edge sidebar on your Windows 10 desktop, you’ll never need to bother with it. For those who do want access to its features independently of the browser window, it’s clearly a handy choice to have.
Indeed, when you remember that Microsoft’s Copilot AI is only coming to Windows 11, this is actually a way of getting something a little like this on Windows 10. We’ve already seen that Microsoft plans to incorporate Copilot into the Edge sidebar, after all, so you’ll be able to deploy this on the desktop, in the same vein as Windows Copilot.
Granted, the functionality of Copilot for Edge will be nowhere near as useful as the full version of Copilot – which theoretically will be able to change all manner of Windows settings in the blink of an eye – but it’s something.
And Microsoft is going to work on adding “additional features and options” to the sidebar with future incarnations of Edge, as you might imagine. The sidebar isn’t going away, in short, for Windows 10 or 11 users, and is seemingly a key part of Microsoft’s ambition to make Edge one of the best web browsers out there.
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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).