Living on the (New) Edge: Getting Started

As I’m sure you know, Microsoft is transitioning away from the version of Microsoft Edge it first introduced with Windows 10 four years ago. In its place will be a brand-new web browser, also called Microsoft Edge, that is based on Google’s Chromium, the foundation for Chrome and several third-party web browsers, including Brave and Opera.

We’ve debated the relative merits of this change elsewhere—short version: We’re all for it—but here, in this new series of articles, I will focus instead on the “how” of using the new Edge. Starting, quite naturally, with the best way for you to get started.

And this is interesting timing: While we don’t know exactly when the new Microsoft Edge will be released publicly, it is available now on Windows 10 in pre-release form and can be installed side-by-side alongside classic Edge, as I’ll now call the in-box web browser in Windows 10 (64-bit only, at the moment), or whatever other browser(s) you may be using.

Eventually, there will be three pre-release “versions”—called “channels” in Chromium parlance—for testing the new Edge. These are Canary, Dev, and Beta. (And yes you can install different channels side-by-side on the same PC if you’d like, too.) Canary builds are released every night, while new Dev builds are released once every week, and both are now available if you’re interested. Beta builds will be released every six weeks, as will, I believe, the release version of the new Edge once that appears. But there are no Beta builds available yet. (Nor are there versions for Windows 7, 8.1, or Mac; those will come later, Microsoft says.)

As the release timeframe indicate, the different channels will offer differing levels of stability and reliability. Canary builds, by definition, could be the most unreliable, but they will also offer a quicker look at new features, which is particularly interesting in the ramp up to the public, shipping version of the first new Chrome release. Dev channel builds will be more stable, since most of the changes have been tested over the preceding week. And Beta builds, once they do appear, should be stable enough even for casual users.

I’ve chosen to use the Edge Canary for my day-to-day work, in part because I need to in order to stay up-to-date, and in part because I’m truly interested to see how this product evolves over time. Which channel you choose is, of course, a personal preference. But I’ll be basis the articles in this series on the Canary channel, so it’s possible that some of the features and changes I discuss will not (yet) be available in the version you’re using.

(I’m also using the new Edge across both Windows 10 version 1809, the current version of Windows, and Windows 10 1903, the “next” version. This shouldn’t matter as the new Edge is a standalone browser, and I don’t expect there to be differences based on which version of Windows 10 you’re using. I guess we’ll see if that holds up.)

To download and install the new Edge in Insider Preview form, open your current web browser and navigate to the Microsoft Edge Insider website. Here, you can choose between the available channels, which, again, are Dev and Canary today.

Note: You must be running a 64-bit version of Windows 10 to do this.

Click the appropriate Download button and download and install the Edge application stub. This will then launch an installer that downloads the actual browser and installs it on your PC.

When the new Edge launches, those who sign-in to Windows 10 with their Microsoft account will be automatically signed-in to the new browser as well. (Those who do not can sign-in to the new Edge directly, which isn’t possible with classic Edge.) After a quick welcome display, you’re prompted to sync your data across devices (“Start with your data”) or “Start from scratch.”

You are then prompted to choose a new tab display. The choices—Inspirational, Informational, and Focused—together represent much better choices than what Microsoft offered in classic Edge. Pick the one you prefer.

Now it’s time to make some customizations. Here are a few obvious starting points.

Sign-in. If you didn’t automatically sign-in to your Microsoft account, you can do so now by selecting the user account icon in the toolbar. Doing so lets you sync Favorites (bookmarks), extensions, browser history, settings, open tabs, personal information for forms (addresses, phone numbers, and so on), and passwords between the different PCs on which you will use the new Edge.

Favorites bar. By default, the new Edge displays the Favorites bar. If you don’t like that—I don’t—just right-click the Favorites bar and choose Show favorites bar > Never.

Import browser data. If you are coming from Google Chrome or another non-classic Edge web browser, you will almost certainly want to import your bookmarks, saved passwords, autofill data, and/or browsing history from that browser. To do so, navigate to Settings and more > Settings > Profiles > Import browser data. Note that this is a one-time sync.

Configure basic browser features. Be sure to visit each area in Settings (again, Settings and more > Settings) and configure appearance and other basic browser features to your liking. I will cover some of the more esoteric or hidden configuration options below.

Configure what the browser does on startup. Whereas Google Chrome displays all of your previous tabs when you start the browser up for the first time, the new Edge does not. To change that, navigate to On startup in Settings and chance On startup to “Continue where you left off.” (Or, you can choose “Open the New Tab page” or “Open a specific page or pages.”)

Configure Google Search. The new Edge currently only offers Bing as a search engine and it hides and obfuscates the interface for configuring another search engine. To change this to Google Search, navigate to Google Search. Then, open Settings and navigate to Privacy and services > Address bar > Manage search engines > Add. In the Edit search engine dialog that appears, enter the following:

Search engine: Google


URL with %s in place of the query:

Now, when you navigate back to the Privacy and services/Address bar screen, you can choose “Google” for the “Search engine used in the address bar” option.

UPDATE: Since I first wrote this, Microsoft updated the search engine choices to include Bing, DuckDuckGo, Google, and Yahoo!, so there’s no need for this workaround anymore. —Paul

Manage extensions. Microsoft has its own Extensions interface (Settings and more > Extensions) and you can access the Microsoft Store-based extensions from there easily enough. But I recommend enabling the option “Allow extensions from other stores” too. That way, you can install any extension that was designed for Chrome from the Chrome Web Store. I use Microsoft’s extension store when possible, but I use the Chrome Web Store for Momentum and Google Translate, and other extensions Microsoft doesn’t (yet?) offer.

Find hidden features. Like Chrome, the new Edge provides a Flags interface—this time at edge://flags that lets you experiment with features that aren’t quite ready for mainstream users. You can scroll through the long list of features, of course. But those who like Windows 10’s Dark mode will want to enable it in the new Edge too. Search for “dark” and then change “Microsoft Edge theme” to “Enabled” and restart the browser. Voila.

Pin it and/or change your default browser. If you feel like Edge Canary or Dev is worth using, be sure to pin it to your taskbar and, if you’re truly brave, configure it as your default web browser (in Windows 10 Settings > Apps > Default apps).

There’s a lot more to do here, but we’re just getting started. I’ll be looking at other new Edge features, especially its web apps functionality, in future articles. But if you have any tips of your own and topics of interest, please let me know.


Tagged with

Share post

Conversation 45 comments

  • Yaggs

    08 April, 2019 - 2:34 pm

    <p>I only had one test… open Youtube and play a video… worked fine… unpinned Chrome and Edge… pinned Edgeium/Credge… Looks good sooo far… 🙂 </p>

  • ctonylee

    08 April, 2019 - 2:51 pm

    <p>It's FAST.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      08 April, 2019 - 7:46 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#419153">In reply to ctonylee:</a></em></blockquote><p>It's new and unencumbered by classic Edge features and extensions :)</p>

  • Lordbaal

    08 April, 2019 - 3:02 pm

    <p>So far I like it. I didn't have to import anything, it automatically did it when I started it.</p><p>1 thing I do miss for the other Edge, I can't turn off auto play. Even with changing the flages, it still autoplays.</p><p>It is faster then other Edge. It also seems just a littte faster then Chrome.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      08 April, 2019 - 7:43 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#419158">In reply to Lordbaal:</a></em></blockquote><p>You can auto-mute video, but not stop the video from playing. Will write that up.</p>

      • Lordbaal

        09 April, 2019 - 2:29 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#419243">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>If it is like Chrome, it is not the same thing. I do not want to mute it, cause then when I do want to watch that video, I would have to go in the settings and unmute that site.</p><p>Cnet and Yahoo are annoying as hell with that.</p>

    • mike2k

      09 April, 2019 - 1:30 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#419158">In reply to Lordbaal:</a></em></blockquote><p>Agree. Auto play is one of the most annoying features. Not just edge but any app. Not giving an option to turn it off is irresponsible. </p>

  • JCerna

    Premium Member
    08 April, 2019 - 3:24 pm

    <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">OMG printing is amazing on the new Edge much, much faster on network printers.</span></p>

  • madthinus

    Premium Member
    08 April, 2019 - 3:36 pm

    <p>Warning, it is rough early build of the product. </p>

    • jmeiii75

      Premium Member
      08 April, 2019 - 3:59 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#419184">In reply to madthinus:</a></em></blockquote><p>Been very smooth for me. Are you having issues with some functionality? Is so, what? Just curious.</p>

  • Stooks

    08 April, 2019 - 3:37 pm

    <p>"Configure Google Search"</p><p><br></p><p>Why? </p><p><br></p><p>The whole purpose of this version of Edge is to have a browser with a supported engine with all of the Google stuff ripped out and replaced with Microsoft stuff. So Microsoft account support with all that brings + a great set of GPO's (Google Chrome GPO's are a joke). Hopefully this means all of the Google tracking is GONE. Using Google search would bring some of that back.</p><p><br></p><p>I used Google search for years and would try Bing from time to time, never really giving it a chance. 6 months ago I forced my self to use Bing and after two weeks I have never gone back.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      08 April, 2019 - 7:43 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#419185">In reply to Stooks:</a></em></blockquote><p>Why? Because it's better. <span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">But if you don't want Google Search, feel free to skip this bit. To each his own.</span></p>

      • Stooks

        08 April, 2019 - 8:01 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#419242">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>I suspect with all the “Google” in your life your default browser will remain Chrome, unless Microsoft allows you too login to Google with this version of edge. </p><p><br></p><p>I don't have that issue. </p>

      • remc86007

        08 April, 2019 - 9:41 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#419242">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>That's an objective statement about a matter of opinon.</p><p><br></p><p>That’s just, like, your opinion, man.</p>

    • Tsang Man Fai

      08 April, 2019 - 9:53 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#419185">In reply to Stooks:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I use Bing everyday. In case Bing doesn't generate sensible results, I would Google – but in most cases Google doesn't help much. Period.</p>

      • dab2kab

        08 April, 2019 - 10:44 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#419272">In reply to tsangmanfai:</a></em></blockquote><p>I also use bing everyday, and it works just fine. But there have been times when i cant find something obscure, like an academic article or website, where google comes up with results bing just totally misses. In terms of ability to generate the best results every time, in my experience google is superior. </p>

        • red.radar

          Premium Member
          08 April, 2019 - 11:10 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#419280">In reply to dab2kab:</a></em></blockquote><p>poo Shaw …. DuckDuckGo rules them all. No tracking and if you feel like you really have to use Another engine just use the bang operator. !g &lt;search terms &gt;redirects you to google and you never leave the search bar and it sort of anonymizes your search as it bounces it through a DDGo proxy. </p><p><br></p><p>Oh and !b &lt;search terms&gt; works if you want to redirect through bing. </p>

          • Stooks

            09 April, 2019 - 12:14 pm

            <blockquote><em><a href="#419284">In reply to red.radar:</a></em></blockquote><p>I don't like that Duck does not give you dates on the search returns. I do not want to open a result from 2011 when I am looking for the latest information.</p>

            • red.radar

              Premium Member
              09 April, 2019 - 1:24 pm

              <blockquote><em><a href="#419413">In reply to Stooks:</a></em></blockquote><p>I don't like how Google is a poor steward of privacy. Sure they put of this really formidble looking front door. However if your a business the back door is open. My personal reasons are better than your personal reasons. …. shall we call this a draw? :)</p><p><br></p>

              • Stooks

                09 April, 2019 - 1:26 pm

                <blockquote><em><a href="#419446">In reply to red.radar:</a></em></blockquote><p>?</p><p>I don't like Google either.</p>

                • red.radar

                  Premium Member
                  09 April, 2019 - 1:47 pm

                  <blockquote><em><a href="#419447">In reply to Stooks:</a></em></blockquote><p> sorry I was feeling silly. . . .It just came out awkward. </p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

  • Atoqir

    08 April, 2019 - 3:58 pm

    <p>My customized chrome theme works too on the titlebar and bookmark bar. Very neat</p>

  • AnOldAmigaUser

    Premium Member
    08 April, 2019 - 4:03 pm

    <p>Commenting from Edgium. Configured with uBlock Origin, and the OneNote web clipper, between this, Firefox, and classic Edge, I should be set to view any webpage. If they can get the ability to markup PDFs into this, I could uninstall Edge… if, of course, one could actually uninstall Edge.</p><p><br></p><p>FWIW, classic Edge has offered the ability to start where you left off ("Previous Pages), use the "New tab page", or "A specific page or pages" on startup for a while now. </p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      08 April, 2019 - 7:46 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#419190">In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:</a></em></blockquote><p>Thanks, will fix that.</p>

  • gregorylbrannon

    Premium Member
    08 April, 2019 - 4:05 pm

    <p>Scrolling feels a little janky to me. I've been doing a side by side comparison of home page with msn news stories and the scrolling on the old Edge seems smoother than the new Chromium version. I'm using the Dev channel of Chromium Edge</p>

    • jmeiii75

      Premium Member
      08 April, 2019 - 4:12 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#419192">In reply to gregorylbrannon:</a></em></blockquote><p>"Smooth scrolling" is one of the legacy Edge features that Microsoft said is coming.</p>

      • Paul Thurrott

        Premium Member
        08 April, 2019 - 7:44 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#419196">In reply to jmeiii75:</a></em></blockquote><p>There is a smooth scroll option in Edge Flags that may/may not work now.</p>

  • prjman

    08 April, 2019 - 4:07 pm

    <p>Curious when Windows 10 functionality, like 'Pin to Start' for web pages, will be enabled.</p><p><br></p>

  • Daekar

    08 April, 2019 - 4:30 pm

    <p>Installed the Dev version, very impressed. I will consider switching from Firefox depending on how the final version comes out. </p>

  • BeckoningEagle

    Premium Member
    08 April, 2019 - 4:58 pm

    <p>Ok, so here I am trying to configure the search URL and it occurs to me that I always need to be changing the language from Spanish to English (I live in Puerto Rico and Google changes to Spanish automatically unless I log in). I usually just do in the address bar and that forces English. I tried it in the URL for the search engine and it didn't work. I found that I just need to use;q=%s to force English. The only thing that came to mind to test the new URL was "Flat Earth". I think I should call it a day and just go for a walk.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      08 April, 2019 - 7:44 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#419217">In reply to BeckoningEagle:</a></em></blockquote><p>I'm hoping this works better as the product evolves.</p>

  • anthonye1778

    Premium Member
    08 April, 2019 - 5:43 pm

    <p>Can't wait to try it out. Thanks for the info, Paul. I'm hoping that Edgium will fix the problems with current Edge.</p>

  • pschaeflein

    Premium Member
    08 April, 2019 - 8:16 pm

    <p>FYI, the sync that occurs after logging in with MSA includes desktop background. (I rdp'd into a vm, and the vm desktop background changed to that of the host.)</p>

  • dcdevito

    08 April, 2019 - 9:51 pm

    <p>I found the leaked build stable and fast. Can’t wait to try the official one. </p>

  • rmlounsbury

    Premium Member
    08 April, 2019 - 10:05 pm

    <p>For a beta this browser is really well put together and while it is similar to Chrome/Chromium Microsoft has added some nice touches to the look and feel of the browser. I've already set it as my default on my personal devices. </p><p><br></p><p>I assume it won't come until after they launch Credge officially to the public. However, I wonder how long it will be before integrations with Edge Mobile get re-directed (or get the option to be directed to) Credge instead of Edge. In Edge Mobile in Android I want to use the send-to-desktop feature it opens up old Edge to load the page. </p><p><br></p><p>That will be an annoying feature break until they can fix that. </p>

  • dab2kab

    08 April, 2019 - 10:46 pm

    <p>Any chance edge will get chromecast support either native in the browser or via extension? </p>

  • anthonye1778

    Premium Member
    08 April, 2019 - 10:47 pm

    <p>One flag I definitely recommend enabling for most people is 'Force color profile'. I believe Edge utilized sRGB (or the HDR version), which contributed to its outstanding color rendering. Chromium defaults to what it thinks your monitor is set to, which on my Surface Studio 2 is indeed sRGB, but strangely always made the colors a little washed out and also had some truly hideous and astonishing gradient banding, especially on darker themed websites. Forcing the color profile to sRGB fixes the issue.</p><p><br></p><p>I am really liking this new web browser thus far and can't wait to see how MS improves it day by day.</p>

  • eric_rasmussen

    Premium Member
    09 April, 2019 - 3:02 am

    <p>I wonder how long this Edgium thing will last before Microsoft cancels it and directs everyone to just use Chrome instead?</p><p><br></p><p>I'm only being half sarcastic. It feels like every time they have a product that people really start to like, they kill it.</p>

  • Daekar

    09 April, 2019 - 8:10 am

    <p>Been using the dev build with our company's SharePoint deployment and so far so good. Everything works and everything is fast. It's one of the most stable pre-release browsers I've ever used, actually.</p>

  • igor engelen

    09 April, 2019 - 8:58 am

    <p>Are updates coming in via Windows Update or still the Chromium update way? Just thinking about business use.</p>

  • starkover

    Premium Member
    09 April, 2019 - 12:29 pm

    <p>The reading mode works okay through Flags. Some heading errors, but generally very nice.</p>

  • LyonAdmiral1981

    09 April, 2019 - 1:15 pm

    <p>I've been using the Canary channel builds for several days now and I can tell you that I have found the build to be stable enough for production level work. The only thing that I have discovered so far that would be beneficial I think is for Office 365 customers to be able to log in with those ID's versus Microsoft accounts.</p>

  • jules_wombat

    09 April, 2019 - 2:49 pm

    <p>So my Favourites (heirarchy) is now only three menu clicks away – Wow Great progress NOT !</p><p>Any idea on how I get my Favourites button on the main menu ?</p>

  • Kevin Costa

    09 April, 2019 - 4:11 pm

    <p>Good walkthrough Paul. Btw, this version of Edge works on Windows 7 (and possibly on 8.1 too), I've tested briefly.</p>

  • PcGuy8088

    09 April, 2019 - 4:23 pm

    <p>Tried the Dev version and had to enable the option to allow Chrome Store extensions. Installed all my Chrome extensions since it did not import them from my existing Chrome install on Windows10. Only then did I discover that Edge Chromium does not seem to show up in Windows10 1809 Notification Apps list. As well I use Authy plugin in Chrome which requires Authy app installed in Chrome. Alas MS Edge current Dev does not allow installation of Apps. </p>


Stay up to date with the latest tech news from!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Thurrott © 2023 BWW Media Group