Microsoft Edge keeps me on edge

Updated: December 6, 2021

Human psychology is a fascinating domain. Take me, for example. I don't like stupid things. And I don't like being told what to do. When you combine the two, I really get angry when I'm being told to do stupid things. Case in point, browser nudges, popups, reminders, or pointless features. Case in point, a bunch of stuff happening recently with Microsoft Edge.

To give you a bit more context, by and large, this browser is not allowed to run on my Windows productivity hosts. The in-yer-face marketing approach (use, use, use, do it, do it, do it) employed by Microsoft persuaded me to implement a policy whereby Edge can't even start. Push, shove, action, reaction. However, that said, I am using Edge as my secondary browser on my Linux machines, and there, it works pretty well. I also kept it on the rather pointless Windows 11 test box. But now, I feel some extra purging is required. Why? Well, anguish not, I shall tell you all about this very shortly.

Payment tool integration, Chrome wink-wink say no more messages

Newsflash number one. Apparently, Microsoft integrated a new payment functionality into Edge. Until this point, I have to admit, I've never heard of Zip, and even now, Zip on its own is not relevant to this story. The fact this company offers its customers the ability to split payments into multiple installments (buy now, pay later) is beside the point. What matters is that Microsoft decided to add this into the browser. So when you go about checking out, you have the option to use this feature. Good or bad, useful, whatever, not relevant. The only thing that matters is that this isn't an extension, an add-on, a choice.

Newsflash number two. Apparently, Microsoft is also flashing customers with "cutesy" messages when they try to download and install Chrome. Sort of nerdy bickering, except I can't feel that warm sense of entertainment when multi-billion dollar giants swashbuckle over market share, oh woe me. Again, what matters here isn't the rivalry between the two, or the fact Microsoft, like any company, is trying to promote its products. The problem is that this is done in an aggressive, salesy, zero-scruples, foot-in-the-door way, the most detestable kind. If there's one thing I've never done - it's buying a product after a salesperson tried to "goad" me into doing it. Save the low-IQ tricks for someone else, please thank you.

I have no screenshots to provide here, unfortunately, because a) the mentioned functionality is available only in limited regions, and I didn't want to go through the entire login, authentication and payment process in Edge just to show you the option; the official Microsoft announcement will do b) the download message popup does not seem to happen in Linux and/or for users who are not signed into their browser, and I do not want to go through that ritual, either; again, you will need to rely on the available images from other sources.

So technically, I am not affected. However, it is a simple matter of principle.

Removing Edge from my systems ...

A common lowly man does not have much say in this world's macro-economics. But at least I can exercise a small symbolic gesture against pointless sales tricks. To wit, I've decided to extend my policy of not allowing Edge to run on my different systems, because I do not want to reward aggressive nonsense with market share. The message needs to be congruent.

Uninstall grayed out

There are so many problems with this. One, the aesthetics of it. The screenshot above comes from Windows 11. Notice the pale, gray-on-gray styling. An ergonomic abomination. Two, you cannot remove Edge, even though supposedly, the idea was, moving from the "old" Edge to the "new" Chromium-based Edge to give the users the elegance and separation and supposed security of the modular approach. Yet another example of nonsense.

I could understand if Edge is not removable from the system if it's the only browser on the host. But I use Firefox as my default browser, then there should be no issue removing the secondary browser.

The solution is to open a command prompt as an admin and run the uninstall command there:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft\Edge\Application\96.0.1054.43\Installer

setup --uninstall --force-uninstall --system-level

And now, Edge is gone (but a stub will still remain shown in the Apps section).

Apps stub

Edge, removed

Conclusion

I am rather unhappy by this whole situation. Over the years, I've tried numerous secondary browsers, and I've never been truly satisfied. It used to be Opera, then Chrome, then more and more Edge lately. But given this new wave of nonsense, I am scaling down on Edge, even though it's a pretty decent browser overall. Not that I'm gushing over the alternatives, only I can't abide silly marketing tricks. I just can't.

My primary browser is Firefox, on desktop and mobile, and it will always be. I dread the eventuality of Firefox disappearing. That will be the death knoll of the Internet as we know it. So listen carefully, you tech nerds. If you want to have some semblance of peace and quiet in your future Webs, don't allow this kind of pointless features to take hold. Vote with your, eh, command line. The end.

Cheers.

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