Microsoft makes it difficult to enable or disable the sidebar in Edge in favor of Copilot

Copilot with Windows Central
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft recently shipped Edge 118 to the Stable Channel.
  • The update featured a host of improvements and fixes, but it also shipped with a subtle change to the location of the toggle for turning the sidebar on or off.
  • The toggle is now located under the Copilot settings.
  • To enable or disable the Edge sidebar, users must toggle the Show Copilot option.
  • While it's possible to remove the Copilot icon from the sidebar by toggling the Show Copilot option off, this will also remove the Auto-hide sidebar option.

Microsoft recently shipped version 119 of its Edge browser to the Stable Channel, featuring a host of improvements and fixes, including the capability to restore split tabs when restarting the browser. 

According to a spot by the folks over at Neowin, the update also ships with a subtle change that most people might have missed. The location of the toggle for turning the sidebar on or off has changed. Previous versions of the browser allowed users to enable or disable the Edge sidebar via the Always Show Sidebar option on the edge://settings/sidebar page. However, the option has since been relocated to the Copilot settings section.

A screenshot showcasing the change in location for the Always show sidebar option in Microsoft Edge settings.  (Image credit: Kevin Okemwa)

Per the description under the option, Edge users will need to have enabled the Show Copilot option to turn the sidebar on or off. Toggling off the Show Copilot option removes the Copilot icon from your sidebar. While this might be handy for users who don't leverage Copilot capabilities, it removes the Auto-hide Sidebar option, thus making it difficult for Edge users to turn off the sidebar from the settings.

Is this Microsoft's bid to get more people to use Copilot?

While Microsoft's decision to make this confusing change to Microsoft Edge remains a mystery, it's rather convenient. The Edge sidebar is a great productivity tool loved by many and is gaining quite a bit of traction. 

In August, we learned that Bing's market share has remained stagnant despite Microsoft's multi-billion dollar investment mainly centered on AI. Copilot is a by-product of this hefty investment, so it could be possible that Microsoft is making this change to get more users to leverage its capabilities. 

Admittedly, there's a bit of concern brewing among users pertaining to the technology's safety and privacy. In fact, a recent report suggested that Microsoft Edge may use browsing data to personalize Bing Chat AI.

Do you think this change will help boost the number of Copilot users? Share your thoughts with us in the comments. 

Microsoft Edge | Free

Microsoft Edge | Free

Microsoft Edge is the default browser on Windows. It's based on Chromium, so it's compatible with the vast majority of the web. There are several Insider versions of the browser, allowing you to test new features and provide feedback to Microsoft.

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry at Windows Central. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. You'll also catch him occasionally contributing at iMore about Apple and AI. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.

  • naddy69
    As long as it's still possible to turn all of that crap off. The sidebar is just annoying.

    And what is with the "We'll automatically open Copilot..."? Am I the only person who finds all of this "We'll do this and we'll do that" creepy? It sounds like people are watching everything I do. Big Brother indeed.

    Why not just say "Automatically open Copilot"?
  • Wakeup56
    I've hated Microsoft Edge from it's inception because it's very invasive, intrusive and bothersome with all the interuptions and offers of other services. I prefer Google Chrome over Edge anyday. Please provide a means to disable Microsoft Edge asap, it's garbage!!!
  • nop
    luv Edge myself but auto open can be annoying