Microsoft Edge experiments with new feature to simplify user experience on Windows 11

How Microsoft Edge with Fluent Design is Revolutionizing Windows 11

Microsoft has unveiled a new feature aimed at streamlining one of Edge’s divisive features—the Sidebar, which can be anchored to the right side of Windows 11 and Windows 10. A new function is currently being trialed in Microsoft Edge Canary that automatically identifies unused items in the Sidebar. The Sidebar was introduced to Edge in September 2022 with a promise of enhancing productivity on Windows 11 and Windows 10, which lacks Copilot by default.

The Sidebar contains a plethora of tools that can be accessed directly within Microsoft Edge. These tools, such as “Math Solver” for quick calculations and direct access to services like Outlook, have significantly enriched the browsing experience. However, the automatic addition of items to the Sidebar has resulted in a cluttered user interface. Microsoft is addressing this issue with a new pop-up that allows users to declutter their Sidebar by hiding unused apps.

By choosing the “hide apps” option in the pop-up, users can declutter the Sidebar, giving the browser a more streamlined appearance. The “keep all apps” option, on the other hand, allows users to maintain the existing look. Additionally, users have the option to completely disable the Sidebar by clicking the “Auto-hide” button, or they can utilize the group policy editor to block the feature entirely.

To block the Sidebar using the group policy editor, users can navigate to Administrative Templates > Microsoft Edge, locate the option called “Show Hubs Sidebar,” and then select “Disabled” to block the Sidebar. Conversely, selecting “Enabled” will restore the Sidebar. Once the changes have been made, users can relaunch Edge to experience the browser without the Sidebar. It’s important to note that these changes can be reverted at any time.

Ultimately, Microsoft’s efforts to streamline the Sidebar in Edge demonstrate their commitment to improving the user experience on Windows 11, making it a more efficient and customizable platform for all users.

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