Everyone’s least favorite web browser will soon be impossible to uninstall

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The new Chromium-based version of web browser Microsoft Edge will soon be impossible to uninstall from Windows devices.

The new Edge browser was launched in January, replacing the outdated HTML-based version now known as Edge Legacy. Until now, Microsoft has opted for a phased approach to the rollout, but will soon push the new browser to all users.

However, according to a Microsoft blog post, once the transition to the new version is complete, users will no longer be able to remove Edge Chromium from their computers - at least not via the traditional avenue.

Uninstall Microsoft Edge

For years, Microsoft Edge was simply used as the vehicle through which to download Google Chrome. According to statistics from StatCounter, Edge Legacy holds just 0.98% share of the browser market (as of the end of July), compared to Chrome's colossal 65.89%.

By shifting to a new and improved, Chromium-based version, Microsoft is hoping to gain a foothold in the market. The new browser, in its defence, delivers a number of speed, security and performance upgrades, bringing the experience in line with what users might expect from a modern web browser.

It will also, however, soon be forced upon Windows users as part of a system update, which will make it ever-present on devices.

“We want to ensure all Windows customers have the latest Microsoft Edge browser for the performance, privacy, security, productivity and support features it offers,” reads the Microsoft blog post.

“The new version of Microsoft Edge is included in a Windows system update, so the option to uninstall it or use the legacy version of Microsoft will no longer be available.”

While the updated browser has generally been well received (the new version has now leapfrogged Firefox in the rankings), the inability to uninstall the new Microsoft Edge is likely to rub some users up the wrong way, perhaps cementing the browser’s reputation as Microsoft bloatware.

For users desperate to rid themselves of the web browser, there is a workaround, courtesy of deskmodder:

  1. Navigate to C: \ Program Files (x86) \ Microsoft \ Edge \ Application
  2. Select the current version number
  3. Locate setup.exe
  4. Navigate to the file path within Command Prompt
  5. Execute the following command: setup.exe --uninstall --system-level --verbose-logging -- force-uninstall

Note, it is recommended that only experienced users attempt to uninstall Edge by this method.

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.