Microsoft tests settings to remove Edge and Bing on Windows 11, 10 for EU users

  • Microsoft reveals the changes coming to Windows 11 and 10 to comply with the Digital Markets Act.
  • This includes allowing users to remove inbox apps, change search providers, and new sync configurations.
  • These changes will only affect users in the European Economic Area.
  • The update KB5032288 contains a preview of all these changes. 

Microsoft has unveiled its plan to allow Windows 11 (and 10) users to uninstall virtually any inbox app, disable Bing web search, change search providers, choose whether to sync data between a Microsoft account and Windows, and preserve their default options as part of the new effort to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Although the operating system already allows users to uninstall most of the built-in applications, Microsoft is making changes to include the option to remove virtually any application, including Microsoft Edge, Photos, Web Search from Microsoft Bing, Cortana, and Camera.

As part of the new changes, the company is adding interoperability changes for the Widgets dashboard and Windows Search to allow other providers (such as Google) to extend their custom search experience. In addition, you will get the option to turn off news and advertisements from the Widgets dashboard. 

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Microsoft is also making changes to ensure that Windows 11 (and 10) will preserve the user’s default configurations, including remembering the default web web browser, email client, and others. 

Furthermore, the system will now prompt users to give them the choice to sync their data between Windows and a Microsoft account. Of course, if the user chooses not to share the data, this will limit the functionality of some features, such as file recommendations in the Start menu.

It’s important to note that the operating system uses the region the customer chose during the initial setup to identify if the computer belongs to the EEA. Once chosen in the device setup, the region used for DMA compliance can only be changed by resetting the system.

What’s the Digital Markets Act (DMA)?

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) is a European Union set of rules that aims to promote fair and competitive digital markets by preventing large online platforms, known as “gatekeepers,” from abusing their market power. Gatekeepers must comply with obligations and prohibitions, such as not self-preferencing their products and services, allowing users to uninstall pre-installed apps, and enabling users to switch between different messaging services easily.

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What regions will the changes for Windows 11 (and 10) apply?

These new obligations that Microsoft has to comply with will affect the 27 territories of the European Economic Area (EEA), including:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Will Microsoft expand the changes to other markets?

Microsoft is only obligated to comply with the European Economic Area (EEA), so initially, the company will only roll out the changes for the territories that constitute the EEA on devices running Windows 11, and later on, the same changes will expand to Windows 10. 

Although the software giant already spent the time to make these changes to the operating system and could easily roll them out to everyone, it’s unlikely that this will happen. 

When will the changes appear on Windows 11?

Microsoft is already testing the changes with the release of the update KB5032288 for Windows 11 23H2 and version 22H2 in the Release Preview Channel. The changes will also arrive on Windows 10 but at a later date. The company will roll out the changes gradually, but both operating systems must be updated and compliant with the Digital Markets Act by March 6, 2024.

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It’s important to note that currently, Windows 11 23H2 doesn’t include Copilot in the EEA, and it won’t be available until the company makes it compliant with the DMA. At the time of this writing, the chatbot AI is gradually rolling out in North America, the United Kingdom, and parts of Asia and South America.

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