The latest Microsoft Edge update cuts one of its best tools in an attempt to reduce bloat

Microsoft Edge Sidebar on Windows 11 desktop
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft Edge version 117.0.2045.31 recently shipped to the Stable Channel for everyone to download.
  • The update ships with a ton of new features and fixes.
  • Unlike past releases, Microsoft will deprecate several features, including Web Select. A move that has raised concern among users.
  • The company indicated that the change is designed to improve the browser's overall experience. 

Microsoft recently shipped Edge 117 to the Stable Channel for everyone to download. The update stands out from previous ones because aside from adding new features, fixes, and improvements, it also removes several. Previously, users have complained about Edge's 'bloat' and how Microsoft keeps adding new features to the Chromium-based browsers that one might not necessarily find helpful.

In the release notes (Edge, version 117.0.2045.31), Microsoft indicated that it would be decrepitating several features, including Web Select, a neat feature designed to help users capture and copy web content. But unlike other screenshot tools, the feature is much more sophisticated as it preserves the captured content's original format and functionality. 

While Microsoft has indicated that this move will improve the browser's overall user experience, it hasn't been received with dismay. Users have been vocal about the change across multiple social media platforms, especially Reddit, citing the feature's importance.

Deprecated Edge features

A screenshot of Microsoft Edge's Web Select in action. (Image credit: Kevin Okemwa)

Microsoft Edge will also lose features like Math Solver, Picture Dictionary, Citations, Grammar Tools, and Kids Mode. The company indicated this move would help " improve end user experience and simplify the More tools menu."

I use it ALL the time for note-taking and text selection where regular text selection (into a clipboard), the “Share” or “Print to OneNote” features do not function as expected on numerous webpages .. I don’t even completely know how to describe the functionality vs similar tool sets… 🤔

UnnbrokenFix, Reddit

Web Select can still be enabled 

At the beginning of this month, a user on X reached out to Leo Varela, a credible source when to Microsoft Edge news, regarding the removal of the Web Select feature. Leo Varela responded and predicted that the feature might be deprecated, which has now come to pass.

And while the change has been received with a lot blow back from users, Leo Varela indicated that users can enable the feature via a command line flag: --enable-features=msEdgeAreaSelect

Thanks Leopeva64 on x (formerly Twitter) for the tip!

As part of the release, the company also announced that Microsoft Edge for Business is available for unmanaged Windows (BYOPC) using Microsoft Intune Mobile Application Management (MAM). It also highlighted the following supporting changes for Microsoft Edge:

  • Support is available for Windows 11, build 10.0.22621 (22H2) or later.
  • Requires Microsoft Intune 2309 or higher
  • App Protection Conditional Access is in Public Preview.
  • If you have a Conditional Access (CA) policy on your tenant that targets "All cloud apps" that covers "Mobile apps and desktop clients" and requires a compliant device, app protection policies or has a "Block" grant control, your end users will not be able to MAM enroll. A change to support this is targeted for Microsoft Edge v118.
  • If you want to continue testing/evaluating APP CA, you can choose to exclude the "Edge Auth" application from your cloud app targeting. Some Microsoft Edge features might not function properly until CA is satisfied, but MAM enrollment will be able to complete.

Edge version 117.0.2045.31: Feature updates

  • Microsoft Edge for Business Banner. Administrators can control the availability of the in-product Microsoft Edge for Business banner using the PromotionalTabsEnabled policy.
  • Microsoft Edge Sync Favorites Recovery. The Microsoft Edge Sync Favorites Recovery feature lets sync users restore any favorites that they lost or deleted within the last 14 days. Users can access this feature from either the Microsoft Edge favorites hub or the edge://favorites page. For more information, see Recover lost or deleted favorites in Microsoft Edge - Microsoft Support
  • Autofill Autocomplete. This feature helps you fill form fields faster on the web. When you start typing in a form field, Microsoft Edge suggests possible in-line completions when there's an exact match with your saved data in the browser. For example, if you type the first few characters of your address, autocomplete will suggest the rest of address - you can choose the autocomplete suggestion or continue typing as usual. Autofill options can be found in Settings (edge://settings/personalinfo).
  • Deprecation of Web Select. To improve end user experience, this feature is being deprecated and will no longer be an option under Web Capture or via keyboard shortcut.
  • Deprecation of features. To improve end user experience and simplify the More tools menu, the following features are being deprecated: Math Solver, Picture Dictionary, Citations, Grammar Tools, and Kids Mode.

Edge version 117.0.2045.31: Policy updates

New policies

Deprecated policies

Obsoleted policy

Microsoft Edge | Free

Microsoft Edge | Free

Microsoft Edge is the default browser on Windows. It's based on Chromium, so it's compatible with most of the web. Several Insider versions of the browser allow 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.