For many years, Microsoft has made browsers that picky Internet users liked to hate. First up was Internet Explorer with unlimited security and compatibility issues. Then there was the original version of Microsoft Edge, which came with early versions of Windows 10. It was much better than Internet Explorer (granted, it’s a pretty low bar), but there were only so many problems that it would become unacceptable for everyday use. That’s why Google Chrome is the most popular web-based software.
But all that has changed with the release of the new Microsoft Edge (of the same name, the new logo), which is now widely available on all major desktop and mobile platforms. Because it̵7;s built on the same open source Chromium Project code base that Google uses for Chrome, it’s a near-perfect clone of Chrome for important things like rendering webpages and working with third-party code.
That’s really good.
In fact, you may find that the new Edge is superior to Chrome. The Google Business Model is based on knowledge of everything you do on the Web, and the Microsoft Business Model is based on paid services such as Office 365. As a result, the new Edge is much more privacy-focused than Chrome. And it has at least one killer feature that will be appreciated by anyone who uses the web for research.
If you’re interested in switching, you’ll first need to install the new Edge from its official download site. Then follow these 10 steps to create everything from scratch.
1. Select an Edge channel
After you install the latest version of Microsoft Edge, you will receive a public release version that will be updated (and installed automatically) approximately every six weeks. But if you want to look ahead to the new features, consider installing one of the three Insider channels as well. The Beta channel misses one version, which Dev and Canary channels give you new versions every week or every day, respectively.
You can install any of these channels alongside other structures and switch from them at any time. If you’re signed in with the same account and you’ve set up sync, your history and saved settings will be the same in each case.
2. Set up profiles
The new edge allows you to set different profiles, usually for browsing in personal and work cases. The advantage, of course, is that you don’t accidentally mix up your work and personal browsing history with email. Mail and services. If you try to access a work-related site from your personal profile, Edge will prompt you to switch automatically. (You can turn this feature off if you want.)
Here you can also do what I did and set up an anonymous profile that doesn’t sign in to any online account. Go to the edge: // settings / clearBrowsingDataOnClose and set this profile to automatically delete your browsing history, cookies, and other information each time you close a window. Each profile opens in a separate window, and you can see which profile you are using in the profile avatar in the upper right corner.
3. Set up synchronization
If you’re signed in to a Microsoft or Azure AD work account, Edge can sync your settings to each device you’re signed in to with that account. This includes not only Windows PCs, but also Macs, iPhones and iPads, as well as Android devices.
Go to the edge: // settings / profiles / sync to turn sync on or off and adjust what syncs. Because I use a third-party password manager, I always turn off passwords, addresses, and more here.
4. Enable monitoring prevention
In many everyday browsing tasks, Chrome and the new Edge are pretty similar. This should come as no surprise given that they use the Chromium code base. But the Tracking Prevention page (shown here) is something you absolutely won’t find in Chrome. (To explain why Google doesn’t have a similar feature, read the “Edge and Chrome: Google tracking prevention affects Google the most.”)
This feature is turned on by default and is set to a balanced level. If you enable this setting, you’ll still see a significant number of ads, but most third-party tracking features aren’t available. Setting it to ‘Strict’ effectively becomes an ad blocking tool, but it can disrupt certain web features and lead to many ‘please disable ad blocking’ messages. To see which tracking tools have been blocked, you can enable or disable this feature on an individual site by clicking the lock button and using the controls at the bottom of the information area on that page.
5. Add extensions
If you’ve been using Chrome for a long time, you probably have a collection of browser extensions you can’t live without. You can find more popular ones (especially password managers and ad blockers) on the Microsoft Edge Add-ons page. But if you can’t find one of the required extensions there, just install it from the Chrome Web Store.
To allow extensions from other stores, you’ll need to flip the: // extensions switch at the bottom of the edge. Chrome Web Store also doesn’t need Google. There is a link at the bottom of the page, just to the right of that switch.
6. Organize your passwords
I’ve said it before, but it’s repetitive: You need a password driver. This is the only way to maintain unique, hard-to-guess credentials for each secure website and online service you use.
The new Edge’s built-in password fill / sync feature is good enough for species-free ones, but I recommend using a third-party password manager. (To discuss the reasons, see “Password handlers: Is it good to use the browser’s built-in password management tools?”). If you need a recommendation, read our guide to the best business password managers.)
Whichever option you choose, you’ll have to stop here, at the edge: // settings / passwords. If you’ve installed a third-party tool, turn off the settings there to avoid accidentally saving passwords in the wrong place.
7. Customize the new tab page
When you set up a new profile for the first time, you are prompted to select a new tab style. If you’re signed in to a Microsoft or local account, you’ll get options that include a Bing search box, Microsoft news headlines, and a new wallpaper every day.
If you use an Azure AD profile associated with a Microsoft 365 / Office 365 business subscription, you will receive several additional options that include links to online applications and documents you have recently worked with. In either case, you can change the layout at any time by opening a new tab and clicking the gear icon in the upper right corner.
For those who aren’t appealing to any of these options, you’ll need a browser extension that can take over the New Tab page.
8. Pin your favorite sites as apps
When is more than a website? It is also a progressive web application that uses a web technology called service workers to enable resource caching (for offline use) and push messages. Websites that are designed as PWAs can be installed as applications. Just visit the page you want to install, then click Settings> Applications> Install this site as an application.
It’s great for Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, as well as many news sites and financial institutions. Each app runs its own window with its own 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 getting lost in browser tabs.
9. Adjust your privacy settings
You’ve made sure in the past that third parties try to mislead you on the web by adjusting your Monitoring Prevention settings in the past. Now is the time to decide how much information you want Microsoft to use. You can find these options below: // settings / privacy.
The first two options control how much diagnostic data you can let Microsoft know about your use of the browser. (On computers running Windows 10, these settings are controlled by Windows. To change those switches, use the link on the Windows Settings page. Then decide how to set the Customize your Internet experience option. Turn it off so that Microsoft doesn’t say your history to personalize your ads, search, and news headlines.
10. Organize a survey of your collections
Collections may be the only underrated feature of the new Edge. The collection is superficially similar to a folder full of favorites / bookmarks, but it does a few tricks that go beyond the main hyperlinks, as shown in this example.
Click the Collections button on the Edge toolbar, create your first collection, and then give it a name. You can add your own notes to the collection and save pages in the collection using the link at the top of the panel. You can also drag a text block, product list, or picture onto the glass and rearrange their order by dragging. When you’re done collecting material, use the menu options at the top of the panel to export them to Word, Excel, or OneNote, or copy all the content for use in another program.