Microsoft Edge users who haven't activated Windows 11, watch out: this change could be bad news

If you want to change certain settings in Edge, you may not be able to in the future - if you have an inactivated copy of Windows 11, that is.

1 minute & 28 seconds read time

Windows 11 users running an inactivated copy of the operating system may find that in the future, there's a further penalty exacted on them for failing to activate - and it involves Microsoft's Edge browser.

This move seemingly won't help persuade affected users to stay with the Edge browser (Image Credit: Microsoft)

This move seemingly won't help persuade affected users to stay with the Edge browser (Image Credit: Microsoft)

Windows Latest noticed that in a fresh test build of Edge, there are several flags that hint at the potentially incoming move. These are:

  • msEdgeActivatedStateCheckAndUpdate
  • msEdgeNonActivatedOSTrigger
  • msEdgeLockSettingsInNonActivatedOS

Just by looking at those flags you can guess the functionality being leveraged: a check for activation, then a trigger if Windows 11 isn't activated that means Edge Settings are locked.

Or, as Windows Latest found when playing with these flags in the Canary version of the browser, some of Edge's settings appear to get locked, at least.

The tech site also highlighted a nag banner that appeared across the top of the browser window, stating: "We notice your Windows is not activated, some customization has been limited."

At this point you might well be thinking: who cares, it's Edge, I don't use it. Well, that may be true, but nonetheless, it's a touch ominous that Microsoft is looking at these kinds of measures. It makes you wonder what functionality might be next on the chopping block, for those running an inactivated copy of Windows 11.

That inactivated experience does, of course, already entail a number of restrictions including various nags to activate and a lack of customization options on the desktop (and more besides).

Nothing might happen with this idea, mind you. After all, it's just in testing, and early testing at that, with only the groundwork in place - Microsoft may not go ahead with the change. All we can do is keep an eye on Edge test builds going forward.

Read more: It looks like Microsoft could cram more adverts veiled as 'recommendations' into Windows 11

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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