Haven’t activated Windows 10 or 11 yet? Your Microsoft Edge settings may soon be blocked off entirely

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Users with an unactivated version of Windows 11 (or Windows 10) may need to start considering activating their operating system – as it looks like Microsoft could start cracking down again, starting with the Edge web browser.

According to Windows Report, the change is currently contained to Edge Canary, a build of Edge that Windows Insiders have access to to try out and test potential upcoming changes, and it seems Insiders have spotted a lockdown on Microsoft Edge settings.

The browser is still likely to work on unactivated Windows, and normally you can use Windows 10 and 11 without having to activate your license key – but with limitations. People using unactivated Windows are likely to have a prompt to activate pop up often in their settings and have limitations with their personalization options.

While this is inconvenient, it does at least allow people to use their machines without activating Windows 10 or 11 – a far cry from previous Windows releases which would not let you install the operating system without a valid product key. However, if this change to how Edge runs does make it past the Insiders stage of development you may find all your settings regarding Microsoft Edge locked entirely, presumably until you activate your version of Windows.

Cruel but fair?

Why would Microsoft want to take such a harsh approach to getting people to activate their operating system? Without activation, you are very likely to miss out on security updates, protect yourself from viruses and cyber threats, and be bothered consistently by pop-ups. Activation also proves that you paid for that version of Windows and that it is legitimate.

With all the new AI advancements stuffed into Microsoft Edge, there are probably a lot more people using Edge now than before, and this could just be a good opportunity to force as many people as possible to activate their Windows by threatening to tamper with their newly boosted, feature-filled web browser.

I can appreciate why the tech giant would want to prompt people to make their devices more secure by activating them, while also making sure people aren’t using pirated or ‘cracked’ versions of its software.

Hopefully, if we do see this development make it out to a public release Microsoft will give users time to activate their operating systems, rather than just taking everything away first and expecting users to figure it out later.

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