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Microsoft reportedly shelves Windows 10 'Sets' feature as Edge moves to Chromium

Over the weekend, a Microsoft employee on Twitter made mention that "the shell-provided tab experience" coming to Windows 10 is "no more." While there's been some debate as to what exactly the tweet is referring to, many had concluded that the "shell-provided tab experience" is Windows 10's Sets feature. The tweet has since been clarified as being unrelated to Sets, but now people are asking where Sets is, as the last time we heard about it was back in 2018.

Announced back in 2017, Sets was an idea that grouped apps and websites under a tabbed interface, just like your web browser. Clicking on the new tab button would take you to the Edge start page, which would then let you launch other apps or websites.

Because of this, the Sets feature itself was heavily dependant on the UWP version of Edge, but now Edge is moving to Chromium meaning all the work Microsoft had put into Sets so far is no longer compatible. Microsoft plans to outright remove the old Edge from Windows 10 once the Chromium version of Edge is ready, which raises questions as to what is going to happen to Sets.

Microsoft could have decided to restart work on Sets under the Chromium browser, but according to Mary-Jo Foley, Microsoft has decided against this. I was initially told that Sets were a present feature on Windows Lite. However, it's likely that's no longer the case as well. Microsoft could find another way of implementing tabs, but it appears the entire idea has been shelved for now.

When the move to Chromium for Edge was first announced, we asked Microsoft what the plan was for Sets. Microsoft told us at the time that Sets was still something they were working on, but that they were evaluating how best to implement it. Perhaps Microsoft is going to rebuild Sets without tieing it to the browser?

We've asked Microsoft for comment and will update when they respond. In the meantime, were you looking forward to Sets? Let us know in the comments.

Updated April 22nd at 18:03: A Microsoft spokesperson has provided us with an official comment:

We've taken Sets offline from WIP to continue to evaluate long term while also needing to prioritize other work tied to Microsoft Edge.

So Microsoft continues to say that Sets is something Microsoft is working on, but that work regarding Edge is being prioritized at the moment.

Updated article with clarification tweet regarding Sets.

Zac Bowden
Zac Bowden

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

59 Comments
  • When Sets was available in the Insider builds, I did give it a try. But I never saw the benefit of it. Whether clicking a tab in window, or doing the same on your task bar. Maybe I used it wrong?
  • Same. I never really got the point. The only thing I used it for was Explorer, but Clover does the same thing there, only better.
  • I thought Sets could be useful in future as some master window where you can place inside and organize your app windows for some pipline and switch to custom Set by alt+tab. But yeah, I tested it in one of insider build and this feature was in pretty useless state.
  • And it won't work well with Alt-Tab (guess you have to use Ctrl-Tab).
  • Mmmmm imagine that...another project/feature cancelled by Microsoft...so unusual :)
  • I just feel bad for bleached. Imagine, he has to get out of bed before noon to troll the comments section about this.
  • I just wants sets in explorer. I think there are third party solutions though.
  • Dude, where have you been?
  • Microsoft doesn't have much going on right now and this site is annoying with all the "adicles". I was looking forward to sets though. I think it makes sense in Explorer to help organize folders, especially on small screens.
  • I can see that, but the alt+tab function is good for going back and forth for folders.
  • I normally have 4 or more folders and several Windows open at once. Alt-tab through it all is a pain. With two big monitors, it isn't a big deal to have it all on screen, but ok the go with my Surface it is hard to even get two folders on the little screen. Having tabs and being able to drag stuff around would be great.
  • How would tabs be different to another window? You can also drag a file onto the other Taskbar-Element and it will come to front.
  • Yeah, with more than two windows it loses its appeal, though it's still usable. The more you add the more of a pain it is. I use this function so much that I actually found tabs in a browser annoying.
  • And just like that, another great feature gone... This is becoming a common trend with MS. I wonder if this will speed up WCOS developement, which has been said to be ongoing for years now, but still not available to devices that will depend on it. Maybe they can pull in the W10M develpers. I'm sure their workload is kinda "lite" ATM.
  • That was hardly a great feature
  • It was for me. But I guess it would depend on the individuals workflow.
  • I think it would've been a nice alternative way of working. I wasn't going to make a judgment about it till I tried it, but on paper it seemed promising
  • I wonder whether Set Aside Tabs is also going away or is that a separate feature?
  • If you mean the Edge feature, that has nothing to do with Sets.
  • I think there have been remnants of Sets even in production builds since 1803 - sometimes you'd start a UWP app and the title bar on the splash screen would be transparent except for the window control buttons. While I can't prove it, I suspect it has to do with the work they did for Sets. And I suspect the window previews when hovering over taskbar thumbnails may have been broken since 1803 as a result of work on Sets as well. Hoping they'll fix that someday.
  • I.... completely forgot about Sets. I used a trial version of Groupy and, personally, found the feature to be more time consuming than what it's worth. Granted, it was just the trial version so perhaps I didn't give myself enough time to fully incorporate Groupy into my workflow. But usually I have everything I need pinned to Quick Access. And if I need another folder then I right click and choose Open In New Window. In fact, I find having the programs/folders open side-by-side to be more productive since all the information I need is immediately visible. But that's just me.
  • Keep doing things like these and it sends the message loud and clear : "We're cutting costs". Alright. You'll pay in the future.
  • Or it sends the message we're a business and we'll cut spending on things that very few people want, or on loss making products. Which basically says we plan to be in business in the future so don't want to waste our money in the present.
  • I'm not really surprised, and I never really had an interest in Sets since that's now how I function. I believe multitasking is worse than a lie, so I rarely have more than 2 windows open at any one time.
  • Technically true about multitasking, we are really just rapidly switching our attention among different things. However, having multiple things open doesn't mean you will be multitasking. I keep multiple things open but still work on one thing at a time. Sometimes depending what I work on I have to have multiple windows open just to reference certain things.
  • You can use an iPad for work then :p
    It's exact the kind of workflow Apple is promoting.
  • why would you want to open edge just to open your apps?
    would sets get rid of the task bar? I already see apps pinned there, why would you need tabs inside Edge?
  • It would be in addition to it, not a replacement for task bar. It's just an alternative way of working.
  • Don't care about sets. Likely would never have used it, just like I never use Task View.
  • Zac... I think you reported that "Windows Lite" is no longer the name used by MS to refer to the upcoming OS. You've discussed how that name isn't a good one because it gives users the wrong impression of what it is "A less-than Windows OS". Yet, articles here continue to use the name and keep the misconception going. I forsee all web sites and folks still calling it "Windows Lite" when it's released and people will think it's another Windows RT or Windows Mode S. Please consider no longer using the old "Windows Lite" name and instead use the new one. Thank you for your reporting. Love your articles.
  • The naming is now called "Core OS" but for some reason people are still saying Windows Lite.
  • I am not sure exactly since Microsoft hasn't said, but I think "Windows Lite" is one of the forms CoreOS can take. It is a simpler interface designed to compete with ChromeOS. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.windowscentral.com/windows-core-os%3famp
  • instead of Core OS, should be Door OS. open it up and enter a newer better computing world.
  • Sets was a tactic to force Edge on to people. Glad its not coming back.
  • hmm edge tied the explorer??? that sounds bad. Didnt they try that originally with IE4 didnt it make the os more susceptible to web based virus's and malware?
  • Sets was just another Windows feature that seemed to be taking forever. I know others are complaining about the bugginess of Windows updates. I have been complaining about the lack of new features. They can't even implement what seem to be simple, consistent design changes in a timely manner. I mean, there isn't one killer feature in 20191H Windows 10. Windows Search separated from Cortana? My point exactly! I *love* synche cut and paste history from last year, but even that took way longer than it should have. If MSFT can't put out even small features like this in a timely manner, I don't see how they keep up.
  • Well currently they do so by moving forward slowly while Android started moving backwards again .
  • I hope they at least reconsider tabs for Files Explorer...
  • Search for the Clover extension for File Explorer.
  • I was looking foward to using sets to finally be able to at least simulate Windows Live Mail and or Outlook desktop interfaces; finally putting Calendar, People, and Mail back into one interface. God I wish they would do that with the free apps.
  • Use Outlook.
    More functions and crashes way less too. And no HUGE FONTS everywhere.
  • When they kind of forced it on the insider builds, I just blacklisted every program I use except Explorer. I'd be interested in having that concept on a phone (instead of a start menu), but not on my desktops or laptops
  • So, a tiny company like Stardock can manage it (and others) but somehow a giant coporation with thousands of supposedly skilled coders has tried it once, and then thrown it in the 'too hard' basket. What a joke.
  • Or maybe because Stardock is already filling the niche, MS decided they don't need to?
  • They never said it was too hard, in fact we don't know the real reason why they stopped.
  • I used the Stardock-Function for a while, since then i'm not a friend of tabs).
  • Judging by the comments here, I would say MS made the correct decision.
  • The benefit of Sets was to have "Sets" of programs or multiple instances using the same window. It's more efficient than and faster than clicking the same programs from task bar or menus, etc. One window, multiple programs.
  • This article is incredibly confusing and seemingly baseless going from the evidence presented.
    Title: "Microsoft reportedly shelves Windows 10 'Sets' feature as Edge moves to Chromium"
    Article: "The tweet has since been clarified as being unrelated to Sets,..."
    "We've taken Sets offline from WIP to continue to evaluate long term while also needing to prioritize other work tied to Microsoft Edge." I guess we can argue about what "shelved" means, but there doesn't seem to be enough proof here to suggest that Sets is going away.
  • I found that confusing too. I think it's because it's been updated since the article was first released, but without changing the title or rest of the article.
  • I am sorry if I come off as rude...
    I hate to be the guy to speak rationale, growing up with lovely Microsoft Windows,
    but the abolishment of the original Microsoft Edge is a terrible business malpractice which
    leads down a road of bad decisions under the lead of Satya Nadella. I would like to remind
    you of Windows Mobile, well-cared child project that was ultimatively started by Bill Gates,
    destroyed by a tweet of Satya Nadella just because he was impatient that it did not provide
    good "sales numbers". What a ******* moron. Doesn't he understand that good development
    takes good time, even if it means to employ young talent to persevere through harsh
    market reality? Please do NOT replace the original Edge with the "new" Edgium. Do not
    be a ******* Google sellout. I could go on. So how about you place the Edgium as optional
    browser and develop both? That is a way to save your reputation, Satya.
  • @The_GTA, I'm fairly ambivalent on the change. I certainly agree with you about Windows Phone, but the move to a Chromium base for Edge is not necessarily bad. Unlike abandoning Windows Phone, there's no real down side to any users in changing to a better supported rendering engine for Edge. It just means we'll have access to more extensions and have fewer compatibility issues with web sites (worst offender: the internal router management site for the router from my ISP is incompatible with Edge, to the point that you can't even open it!!!). So, while I'm saddened that Google effectively "won" that and will now get the benefit of MS' open source contributions to the Chromium base, that's not really relevant to us as users.
  • I'm glad they got rid of it. It was pointless. We wanted just tabs on explorer. Not a tab with explorer and edge and ms word and basically a whole entire desktop on one tab. It didn't make sense.
  • Typical, another great feature thrown back into the abyss by Microsoft's chase to the bottom to grunge up as much profits as possible. Those of you have never had more than 5 documents open at the same time weren't the intended audience for this feature. It was for us who have multiple documents at the same time, for me at one point reached 20 documents prior to the 2012 london Olympics and again during a CRM migration - where I had to manually enter details over several hundred properties manually to ensure posterity, data integrity and accuracy. This feature would have saved me a heck loud of time but Windows 10 was not even launched then. Those of us who actually have to multitask can see the value of this feature whereas most people won't. Virtual desktops + Sets + Snapped Windows would have been awesome for my work flow and I know I'm not the only one. Not to mention, you can use an file explorer window as web browser so when you throw that capability into the mix the more avenues of efficiency open up. I imagine the reason why they aren't bringing this to chromium because it means embedding chromium into the o/s and that is a something massive November Golf. As it opens up another vector for attacks, security vulnerabilities and zero day exploits. I sure as heck wouldn't want Chromium anywhere near core o/s files, anyway I will be disabling Edge shortly as it's completely useless for me now as it can no longer navigate to Router static IP addresses at all - no thanks to an KB Update - I have no idea which one caused it as I stopped using Edge as my daily browser ages ago due to rendering issues. Which is a disgrace KB updates causing issues after issues. I highly Microsoft will stop this race to the bottom of the barrell to scoop up as many pennies as possible. As long as they continue with this moronic fiscal policy expect more issues to arise in the future as after all they have no dedicated QA team and shown they are unwilling to spend more for additional resources.
  • It sounds completely insane that Sets - an OS feature - was actually part of Edge.
    It should have been part of the DWM right from the beginning.
  • I like the idea of being able to quickly open many documents related to a project and keeping them categorized together in some way, beyond storing them in the same folder (often that's not an option, if some are from shared OneDrive or SharePoint locations and some are local to my computer). To that extent, I loved the concept of Sets. That said, I don't particularly need them to be tabbed. For me, the main benefit of tabs would be to consolidate them down to a single item on my Taskbar so I can shift to another project without closing or losing my place in the first project. When I'm working in one, I'd like the tabs to blow back out to separate windows, with a right-click option on the Taskbar icon to consolidate back into a single tabbed window. That would be a huge productivity booster to me.
  • I wonder if the journalists who contribute to this site ever have days when they think "damn, covering Microsoft's never ending litany of product failures and aborted projects is more depressing than writing suicidal poetry for emu's"
  • The thing is MS patents more things every year than they cancel... In the tech world MS is a patent behemoth and they pump out tons of it every year... It's just that most of them are not necessarily end users software or tech patent they are use by other companies to make their own products... MS is a exciting company when you look behind the mass market
  • Browser for web surfing, file explorer for local folders and files, sets for microsoft apps. I guess it isn't that simple.