Question: I have a new laptop that runs Windows 10. But I’m frustrated that every time I turn on the PC, it automatically opens the Microsoft Edge browser.

That’s not what I want the laptop to do, and I prefer to use other browsers anyway. I’ve tried uninstalling Edge and turning it off in the start menu, but nothing works. What can I do? — L.Z., Elk Grove, Calif.

Answer: Edge can’t be uninstalled easily because it’s part of Windows 10. While there are ways to disable or remove Edge (see tinyurl.com/y4fvoy86), they might damage the operating system. A better solution is to make Edge less intrusive.

First, make sure the browser you want to use is set as the “default browser.” Go to the settings app, click “apps” and on the left click “default apps.” On the right, click on whatever browser is listed, and from the resulting list pick the browser you want.

Then change the “welcome screen” setting. Edge is by default set to show you feature highlights whenever your PC is upgraded to a newer version of Windows 10. Open the settings app, click on “system,” then click on “notifications and actions.” At the right side of the screen, uncheck the box beside “Show me the Windows welcome experience after updates and occasionally when I sign in to highlight what’s new and suggested.”

You should turn off another default feature that allows Edge to run in the background of your PC, constantly using up some of your PC’s computer chip memory. Open the settings app and click on “privacy.” In the column on the left, click “background apps.” On the right, find Edge in the list of apps that run in the background. Turn the switch beside it to “off.”

Question: I bought a new Windows 10 PC two years ago and paid $70 for an annual subscription to use Microsoft Word. Now I’m giving away the PC, and want to cancel the subscription. How can I do that? — N.C., Tucson, Ariz.

Answer: It appears that you bought a $70-per-year subscription to Office 365, the online version of Microsoft Office that includes Word and other programs. Here’s how you can unsubscribe:

  • Turn off recurring billing by going to Microsoft’s “services and subscriptions” website (see tinyurl.com/y53la7qt). If asked, sign in with the Microsoft account email and password you used when signing up for Office 365. On the resulting Webpage, click on the listing for your Office 365 subscription. Then click either “turn off recurring billing” or “cancel.” Follow any instructions.

If you don’t see “turn off recurring billing” or “cancel,” and instead see “paid with” and “none,” you don’t have to do anything. Your account will not automatically renew. In addition, if you see “turn on recurring billing,” you don’t have to do anything; recurring billing is already turned off.

  • If you aren’t able to unsubscribe that way, contact Microsoft online (see tinyurl.com/y3l92hyg). Briefly describe your problem in the message box, click the “get help” button and wait for a response.
  • If you can’t stop Office 365 from renewing, wait for your credit card bill to arrive. Before paying the bill, tell the card company you want to dispute the Microsoft subscription charge.

Alexander covers technology for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Readers can write to him at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55488-0002; email: steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Include a full name, city and phone number.

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