For years, Microsoft made the browsers that the selected web users liked to hate. First came Internet Explorer, with an endless supply of security and compatibility issues. Then there was the original version of Microsoft Edge, which was delivered with an early release of Windows 10. It was much better than Internet Explorer (given, that’s a pretty low bar), but there were just enough problems to make it unacceptable for -daily use. That’s why Google’s Google browser is the most popular software on the web.
But all that has changed with the release of the new Microsoft Edge (same name, new logo), which is now widely available on every desktop and mobile platform. Because it’s built on the same code as the open source Chromium Project code that Google uses for Chrome, it’s almost a perfect clone of Chrome for things that matter, like rendering web pages and working with ̵6;third party code.
It’s … really good.
In fact, you may find the new Edge superior to Chrome in some respects. Google’s business model is based on knowing everything you do on the web, while Microsoft’s business model is based on paid services such as Office 365. As a result, the Edge the new one is considerably more focused on privacy than Chrome. And it has at least one killer feature that anyone who uses the internet for research will appreciate.
If you’re interested in switching, your first step is to install the new Edge from its official download site. Then follow these 10 steps to stop things from starting.
1. Select an Edge release channel
If you install the latest version of Microsoft Edge, you get the public release version, which is updated (and installed automatically) every six weeks or so. But if you prefer to get a preview of new features, consider installing one of the three Insider channels as well. The Beta channel jumps ahead of one version, which the Dev and Canary channels give you new changes every week or every day, respectively.
You can install any of these channels side by side with other builds and switch between them at any time. If you logged in with the same account and were able to sync, your saved history and settings will be the same in each instance.
2. Set up profiles
The new End allows you to set up different profiles, typically for Personal and Business browsing. The advantage, of course, is that you don’t accidentally confuse your work and personal browsing history, email and services. If you try to access the work-related site from your personal profile, Edge will offer to switch automatically. (You can disable this feature if you want.)
You can also do what you did here and set up an anonymous profile that doesn’t sign up for any online account. Go to the end: // settings / clearBrowsingDataOnClose and set this profile to automatically delete your browsing history, cookies, and other details every time you close that window. Each profile opens in a separate window, and you can see from the avatar profile in the top right corner which profile you are currently using.
3. Stop synchronization
If you signed up with a Microsoft account or an Azure AD work account, Edge is able to sync your settings to any device where you signed up using that account. That includes not only Windows PCs but also Macs, iPhones and iPads, and Android devices.
Go to the end: // settings / profiles / sync to turn the sync on or off and adjust what happens to sync. Because I use a third-party password manager, I always turn off Passwords and Addresses switches And More here.
4. Turn on Tracking Prevention
For most everyday browsing tasks, Chrome and the New Edge are pretty similar. This should come as no surprise, as they share the basis of the Chromium code. But the Tracking Prevention page (shown here) is something you absolutely can’t find in Chrome. (For an explanation of why Google doesn’t have a similar feature, see “Edge vs. Chrome: Microsoft Tracking Prevention hits Google the hardest.”).
This feature is turned on automatically and set to Balanced level. With that setting, you still see a fair number of ads, but most third-party tracking is blocked. Turning the Strict setting into an effective ad-blocking tool can break some web functionality and subject you to many “please disable your ad blocker” messages. You can see which trackers have been blocked and turn this feature on or off for an individual website by clicking the padlock button and using the controls at the bottom of the info panel for that page.
5. Add extensions
If you’ve been using Chrome for any length of time, you’ll probably have a collection of browser extensions that you can’t live without. The most popular ones (especially for things like password managers and adblockers) are available from the Microsoft Add-ons page. But if you can’t find one of the must-have extensions there, just install it from the Chrome Web Store.
You need to flip a switch on the bottom of the end: // extensions page to allow extensions from other stores. And you don’t need Google for the Chrome Web Store, either. There is a link at the bottom of the page, just to the right of that switch.
6. Get your passwords under control
I said it before but repeat: You need a password manager. It is the only way to keep the credentials unique and hard to think of for every secure website and online service you use.
The password fill / sync feature built into the new Edge is good enough not to be deleted, but I recommend using a third-party password manager instead. (For a discussion of the reasons, see “Password Managers: Is it OK to use your browser’s built-in password management tools?”) And if you need a recommendation, see our guide to the best password managers for business.)
No matter which option you choose, you need to stop here, at the end: // settings / passwords. If you have installed a third-party tool, turn off the settings there so as not to accidentally keep passwords in the wrong place.
7. Customize the New Tab page
When setting up a new profile for the first time, you are prompted to select a new tab style. If you’re logged in with a Microsoft account or a local account, you have options that include a Bing search box, Microsoft news, and a daily background image.
If you’re using an Azure AD profile associated with a Microsoft 365 / Office 365 business subscription, you have a few additional options that include links to apps and online documents I’ve worked with recently. In any case, you can change the layout at any time by opening a new tab and clicking the gear icon in the top right corner.
For those who find none of these options attractive, you need a browser extension that can take over the New Tab page.
8. Pin your favorite sites as apps
When is a website more than a website? When it’s also a Progressive Web App, it uses a web technology called Workforce Service to allow resource caching (for offline use) and push notifications. Sites that are built to be PWAs can be installed as apps. Just visit the page you want to install and then click Settings menu> Applications> Install this Site as an App.
It works well for Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, as well as for many news sites and financial institutions. Each app runs its own window, with its title bar and taskbar button (or Dock icon, if you’re using Edge on a Mac), and behaves as if it were a separate app instead of being lost in your browser tabs.
9. Adjust your privacy settings
You’ve already taken care of third parties trying to stalk you on the web when you’ve adjusted the Prevention Tracking settings before. Now it’s time to decide how much information you want Microsoft to use. You will find these options under the edge: // settings / privacy.
The first two options control how much diagnostic data you leave to Microsoft about your browser usage. (On PCs running Windows 10, these settings are controlled by Windows. Use the link to the Windows Settings page to change those switches. Then decide how you want to set the Customize Web Experience option. Turn it off to tell Microsoft not to use your story to personalize ads, search, and news.
10. Organize your research into Collections
Collections may be the most understated feature in the first Edge. A collection is superficially similar to a whole folder of favorites / bookmarks, but does a few tricks that go far beyond basic hyperlinks, as this example shows.
Click the Collections button on the Edge toolbar, create your first collection, and then name it. You can add your notes to the collection and then save the pages in the collection using the link at the top of the pane. You can also drag a block of text, or a product listing, or an image into a pane and rearrange their order by dragging and dropping. And when you’re ready to gather things, use the menu options at the top of the pane to export it to Word, Excel, or OneNote, or copy all the content for use in another app.