back to article Windows users can soon ditch Bing, Edge, other bundleware – but only in the EU

If you've ever dreamed of a Windows free from Bing, Edge, and other built-in apps, Microsoft has decided to grant your wish – provided you're a resident of the European Union. A Thursday update from the Windows Insider Program Team appeared to flag that Microsoft is giving up its fight to get exemptions from the EU's Digital …

  1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Happy

    Rip van Winkle

    Happy to wait a century or so!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Britain's getting a Brexit bonus at last

    anal probing, free of charge.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Britain's getting a Brexit bonus at last

      Will o' the People. ™®

      I clearly remember voting on this.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: I clearly remember voting on this

        And now we hear that Nigel 'mines a pint' Farage is going to return to Politics. Just when we were beginning to forget the [redacted] [redacted] [redacted]...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I clearly remember voting on this

          But first, a spot of kangaroo anus a la Nadine Dories.

  3. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Err no

    It can force us to entertain their crapware on our (Windows) machines. Using it is a different kettle of ball games.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Err no

      "Using it is a different kettle of ball games"

      That goes for using Windows too luckily.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK workarounds ?

    So how can a UK user dump this cruft ? Simply tell Windows we live in Ireland ?

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: UK workarounds ?

      Just uninstall it via powershell using "Remove-AppxPackage [App Name]".

      1. Julian 8

        Re: UK workarounds ?

        That does not work. Been trying for years to remove most of their crap.

        And the bits it may work on, are only for that user - why not off the whole OS

        1. Captain Scarlet

          Re: UK workarounds ?

          If you mean Edge just install another browser (Since every other user already uses Google Chrome without realising)

          1. Julian 8

            Re: UK workarounds ?

            I do, and msedgeredirect.

            I have no reason or want for the bloatware (xbox, cortana, edge, and then the silly apps it thinks I may want), so just do not want them even installed, but the fact they cannot be removed really pisses me off

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: UK workarounds ?

              That, and that they ignore the default browser setting: a link opened from e.g. Teams must be copied and pasted into e.g. a firefox window if you want to avoid Edge opening it.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: UK workarounds ?

                That's just incompetent developers being lazy, though. Which basically describes why the entire UI of Teams functions as it does. (Don't get me started on their dumpster fire of an API...)

                1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

                  Re: UK workarounds ?

                  Nope, it is deliberate to force you to eat their dog food.

              2. sedregj
                Big Brother

                Re: UK workarounds ?

                ... and Outlook also has its own browser preference because obviously an email client should dictate your preferences to you too, along with your OS, contact apps n that.

                1. R Soul Silver badge

                  Re: UK workarounds ?

                  M$ has your best interests at heart. So just shut up and enjoy the buggy bloatware.

              3. Captain Scarlet
                Coat

                Re: UK workarounds ?

                Actually yes have to agree MS Teams forcing everything to open in Edge is infuriating, one which installing another browser can't fix.

            2. Grogan Silver badge

              Re: UK workarounds ?

              Here's the thing though, when features from Windows are removed it's usually just removing access to them. So you'll remove a little 500 kb program, but the back end machinery remains. You can accomplish the same by removing shortcuts, making sure processes/services don't start etc.

              I hated that stupid fucking Cortana thing back when I was trying to use Windows 10 for gaming, so I hacked it out. Windows wouldn't let me remove the "app" because it would respawn after being killed so I had to quickly rename the directory out of the way before it could respawn. Task manager poised... file manager poised. Kill process, rename and hit enter. Then I replaced the directory with a file with no extension so there would be something there to fail a write. It could also be done from off system, if you can boot with something that can write to the fs (e.g. BartPE based boot disk)

              My life is Windows free now though, since the translation technologies (wine and directx translation) in Linux have gotten to the point where games that don't work are the exception.

          2. R Soul Silver badge

            Re: UK workarounds ?

            Isn't Edge just a rebadged Chrome these days?

        2. Spazturtle Silver badge

          Re: UK workarounds ?

          Did you open powershell as admin?

          And have you tried "Remove-AppxPackage -allusers [App Name]" ?

        3. MrDamage Silver badge

          Re: UK workarounds ?

          Try a few tools;

          DISM++

          Chris Titus Win10/11 Toolbox

          Disable Bing via registry

          [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer]

          "DisableSearchBoxSuggestions"=dword:00000001

          Disable Win11 background apps

          [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\AppPrivacy]

          "LetAppsRunInBackground"=dword:00000002

          Enable GPEdit on Home Editions (ran as batch file in admin cmd)

          @echo off

          pushd "%~dp0"

          dir /b %SystemRoot%\servicing\Packages\Microsoft-Windows-GroupPolicy-ClientExtensions-Package~3*.mum >List.txt

          dir /b %SystemRoot%\servicing\Packages\Microsoft-Windows-GroupPolicy-ClientTools-Package~3*.mum >>List.txt

          for /f %%i in ('findstr /i . List.txt 2^>nul') do dism /online /norestart /add-package:"%SystemRoot%\servicing\Packages\%%i"

          pause

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: UK workarounds ?

            You can also look there for some information on how to properly remove applications (in French): https://danard.net/content/suppression-dapplications-windows-10

          2. Maventi

            Re: UK workarounds ?

            That's the problem with Linux on the desktop - you need to resort to a terminal and loads of obscure commands to perform simple operations. Oh, wait...

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: UK workarounds ?

          "That does not work. Been trying for years to remove most of their crap."

          What?!?! Has format c: stopped working?

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: UK workarounds ?

            What? Has installing any form of Liniux or BSD stopped working?

            [see icon]

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: UK workarounds ?

        "He uninstalled the bloat with one simple trick. Microsoft hates it. Click here to find out"

      3. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: UK workarounds ?

        Some of these can't be remove-appx'd.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: UK workarounds ?

      The DMA is applicable in Northern Ireland I think? If so, that would be the best choice because then currency settings would default to £ instead of €.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: UK workarounds ?

        Good idea. I can always use my old address in Lisburn - Oh, I forgot. I don't need to. My only bit of kit which dual boots int0 Windows* won't go beyond 10 anyway.

        * I keep it mostly to remind myself of what I'm missing and reassure myself I made the right decision years ago. Tomorrow I'll maybe run this month's patches and marvel at how long it takes and how many times it reboots.

      2. Falmari Silver badge

        Re: UK workarounds ?

        Good idea, except there is no separate region setting for Northern Ireland, just UK (default £) or Ireland (default €).

        If the DMA is applicable in Northern Ireland, MS would need to add a Northern Ireland region choice.

        1. Falmari Silver badge

          Re: UK workarounds ?

          I missed a region setting choice, their are three regions covering the British Isles, UK, Ireland and Isle of Man.

          Not that that matters because the region setting has nothing to do with the regional format making what I wrote above irrelevant. :)

          Number date and currency regional format in Windows will default to use the regional format for the display language. The default of using the display language can be overridden by choosing to use a specific regional format, Whether the regional format defaults to the display language or is set to a specific regional format neither using the region setting.

          So no need to worry about default currency, just set region to Ireland and display language to English (United Kingdom) and the currency will be £.

    3. R Soul Silver badge
      Flame

      So how can a UK user dump this cruft?

      Have a word with that nice Mr. Farage. He promised us the UK would be a land of milk and honey when it left the EU and told its pesky bureaucrats to fuck off. I'm sure he'll be delighted to help everyone break free of M$'s shackles. And bring back the days when Britannia^Wthe Amstrad e-mailer ruled the world.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So how can a UK user dump this cruft?

        That 'nice Mr Farage' wants to drive the dagger through everyone's hearts by becoming the next PM ... when he can be bovvered to get out of that Jungle.

        I'd rather he stayed there forever.

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          Re: So how can a UK user dump this cruft?

          Since he has tried, and failed, to get elected as an MP seven times, it might be difficult for him to become PM.

          Not as difficult as it should be, mind, given that we seem to now be appointing people who haven't been elected to the HoL in order to shove them directly into high offices of state, and that is apparently fine.

    4. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: UK workarounds ?

      Article 49.

    5. MJI Silver badge

      Re: UK workarounds ?

      When I have to replace my 10 year old PC depending on what programmes I need.

      Will be Linux or Irish Windows, most likely dual boot,

    6. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: UK workarounds ?

      Don’t forget to also (at initial install time) use the language locale English(World) or English (Europe) and so avoid a whole lot more cruft.

      Looks like the first thing to be done with a new system will be a factory reset reinstall of Windows ( haven’t tested whether a repair reinstall has the same cleansing effect).

    7. BobChip
      Linux

      Re: UK workarounds ?

      Global workaround is better. Linux iso on USB stick. Press install when prompted. No more cruft. Simples.

  5. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Windows uses the region chosen by the customer during setup to identify if the PC is in the EEA

    When people all over the world discover that they can dump all the Bing and Edge crap simply by saying they live in Sweden on the setup screen, I can imagine Microsoft getting a bit perplexed by future usage stats showing that 58% of Windows users live in Sweden.

    1. Julian 8

      Re: Windows uses the region chosen by the customer during setup to identify if the PC is in the EEA

      Sweden here I come

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Windows uses the region chosen by the customer during setup to identify if the PC is in the EEA

        Years ago, a chap named "Julian" went to Sweden...

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          Re: Windows uses the region chosen by the customer during setup to identify if the PC is in the EEA

          Some chap who was fuzzy about the ides of consent, and then ran off and hid in an embassy in another country to avoid answering any awkward questions?

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Re: Windows uses the region chosen by the customer during setup to identify if the PC is in the EEA

            That's the one

    2. Rgen

      Re: Windows uses the region chosen by the customer during setup to identify if the PC is in the EEA

      I live in Sweden. Wink wink

  6. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    WSL

    Could you uninstall everything and only keep WSL?

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: WSL

      At that point, would you not be better just installing Debian / Ubuntu / whatever?

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: WSL

        But it wouldn't send the creeps watching Windows telemetry mad.

        Why is he not using Bing????!!!! AAAAAAAAA

  7. Julian 8

    What is the brexit bonus ?

    I don't see one as we need to be in the EU to remove the bloatware and being outside the EU means we can get some crap AI foisted upon us.

    *Miust admit, I am surprised MS have not been sued to using CoPilot. I hear that name and think of a routing application I used to use"

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: What is the brexit bonus ?

      I think the writer was taking the piss with the comment about a Brexit bonus!

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: What is the brexit bonus ?

        Need a saracasm icon.

    2. Ideasource Bronze badge

      Re: What is the brexit bonus ?

      They don't compete in the same market space.

      One operates in the AI response marketspace

      The other operates in commercial navigation marketspace with some light activity in the consumer navigation space.

      So there's no conflict.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: What is the brexit bonus ?

      If you read the article carefully, the "Brexit Bonus", clearly meant ironically, is that the EEA is not getting access to Copilot yet while the UK, not in the EEA, is. Nothing whatsoever to do with the other part of the story about removing certain apps from the system.

  8. MOH

    But I thought MS have always claimed that Edge is an integral part of the OS and can't be removed? Surely they weren't lying all the time?

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      It might mean that new Outlook, Teams, etc stopped working too - aren't they based on Edge?

      Which wouldn't be a problem for home machines, but it would with work ones (Teams anyway - new Outlook is best avoided at the moment but will probably be forced on everyone sooner or later).

      1. Spanners Silver badge
        Happy

        Teams

        If the worst comes, you can do teams through your browser - whichever one you fancy.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge
        WTF?

        It might mean that new Outlook, Teams, etc stopped working too - aren't they based on Edge?

        You say that as if it would be a bad thing....

        1. 43300 Silver badge

          Unfortunately it would when they are a work requirement!

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        No Edge wil l simply become part of the Office bundle…

      4. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Aren't there two different things called Teams? One is the crapware foisted on you as part of Win11 and the other is crapware foisted on you as business software? Do they both rely on Edge?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How do you tell if a Microsoft spokesperson is lying? Their lips are moving...

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      No. That was Internet Explorer.

      See how irreplaceable that was.

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "On the other hand, Europeans have to wait for Copilot"

    So - a double win for being in the EU.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Codejunky will be along shortly with deluded details.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Happy

        Possibly, though he's been a bit quiet recently. Is he off with Nige to Australia? Or will he be helping Suella with her leadership bid? Or is simply enjoying the silky prose of Nadine's The Plot?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Perhaps codejunky is Farage. They have the same delusions and spout the same bollocks.

          She/he can't be reading Mad Nad's entry for the Nobel Literature Prize. That only takes a minute or two, even for those who have to point their finger under each word as they spell it out letter by letter.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or maybe he finally just disappeared up his own arsehole.

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    So the ability to remove MS bloatware is only going to be available for new installs where the location is set to a country inside Europe or will this function get enabled if you already have Windows set to a location in the EEA through a Windows update?

    Im sure it will just be some patch and registry setting that people more clever than me will work out what it is and publish online for the rest of us outside Europe in no time once it goes live either way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But 99.9% of W11 users won't care anyway.

      1. Cruachan Bronze badge

        That's always the trouble with these things. Around these parts people like to choose their apps, but the average user just wants things to work, hence why Linux on the desktop doesn't work for the average user unless someone makes the decision of default apps for them.

        Before long we're going to see the same suits hit Android, iOS and MacOS too.

  11. jmch Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Search disaster

    Searching for something on the Internet (research, news, very broad scope) is a fundamentally different task to searching for something on your local PC (file or app, very narrow scope).

    Why oh why does Windows try and squish these together into one function?

    1. abend0c4 Silver badge

      Re: Search disaster

      So it can "legitimately" send your local data to the mothership.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Search disaster

      Especially since doing a Windows search for some files (especially a programme) will oft times not actually list said file, but will throw a bunch of internet links.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Search disaster

        At least that is more helpful than “Help” (Windows and Office) which now requires internet access and most of the time fails to find anything. Ie. Not only can’t MS be bothered to write user guides etc. they can’t be bothered to write help files or articles.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Search disaster

          Only thing wrong with that comment is the word "now".

          For decades Microsoft Help has only told users the blindingly obvious but omitted to explain how to do anything complicated.

    3. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Search disaster

      I gave up with Windows Search after that disastrous update a few years back when they ripped out the search that almost worked and replaced it with the current mess.

      Try using "Everything" from Void Tools - far superior.

      https://www.voidtools.com/downloads/

  12. Martin Howe

    If only the same could be applied to Android. Both my phones are loaded with bloatware from Google that I will *never* use; most of it can only be disabled, with some dire warning about the system not working properly, which for speech recognition apps and so on is ridiculous. Also Google Play Music is insane, it requires an internet connection even to play music stored on the phone itself; so after installing VLC, you guessed it I *can't* uninstall Google Play Music; it sits there wasting storage space that could be used for things I *want* on my phone :(

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Android Bloatware

      Aren't there 'vanilla Android' distros available? Or... that's what so many posters here have claimed in the past?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Android Bloatware

        Yes, but much of what people refer to as “Android” is actually Google Play Services…

    2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Put on your wizard hat, go into the version info on your phone and tap it the magical number of times until your phone is in "developer mode", download and install adb on your PC (may also apply on a Mac, almost certainly will on Linux), plug your phone in via a USB cable, open an adb console, and uninstall it using the following incantation:

      pm uninstall -k --user 0 com.google.android.music

      The same technique can be used to remove all manner of "non-uninstallable" bloatware off your phone, including shiteware that mobile operators preinstall on new phones if you're silly enough to buy one through them.

    3. Chet Mannly

      Get ADB, or search for android debloat apps (xedevelopers are a good source of info abd apps). I have everything google related stripped out of mine.

      They run on your PC and allow you to uninstall absolutely anything on your phone. Most have a default set of stuff you can safely.uninstall, but you can use them to uninstall anything - so be careful!

  13. navarac Silver badge

    EU v EEA

    The article seems to think that the EU (European Union) and the EEA (European Economic Area) are the same thing. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are in the EEA but not in the EU for example.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll have to test Switzerland...

    I'll have to test Switzerland...surrounded by europe, but likely not protected by it.

  15. An0nym0u5
    Boffin

    Use MSMG Toolkit

    LOL, 70+ comments and not one person mentioned MSMG Toolkit that lets you easily remove all the crappy MS bloatware. I've been using it for years now and I must say the experience is similar to when you start using adblockers , just can't imagine going back browsing internet without uBlock or installing vanilla Windows on my PC.

  16. jeffdyer

    "On the other hand, Europeans have to wait for Copilot"

    Well clearly not as it's available in the UK

  17. 43300 Silver badge

    Anyone tried automated processes to get rid of that fucking Copilot icon which has appeared on the taskbar in W11 23H2? I'm currently testing but there doesn't seem to be anything in the Intune settings catalogue so resorted to a proactive remediation using Powershell scripts to check for, and if necessary create, the required registry keys which turn it off.

    Typical Microsoft - foist this shit on us and make it difficult to remove it. It's due to come to W10 too in due course so hopefully the registry keys are in the same place.

  18. Mike_JC

    I have Copilot on my Windows 11 Pro PC but I have yet to use it.

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