Windows 10 Tip: Make Microsoft Edge Better with Extensions

Posted on April 17, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 18 Comments

Windows 10 Tip: Make Microsoft Edge Better with Extensions

Like other modern web browsers, Microsoft Edge supports extensions that can be used to add functionality beyond that provided by its maker. Extensions are available via the Windows Store and they are managed directly in Edge.

Note: This tip is derived from the Windows 10 Field Guide, which is now being updated for the Windows 10 Creators Update.

Some popular extensions include:

AdBlock. This highly recommended extension blocks all annoying ads, malware, and tracking mechanisms from appearing while you’re browsing the web.

LastPass. This award-winning password manager saves your passwords securely in the cloud and creates complex passwords. It works across platforms, including on popular mobile devices, giving you secure access to your passwords from anywhere.

Microsoft Translator. This useful extension will translate foreign language pages for over 50 languages. When you encounter a page in a different language, the Microsoft Translator icon will appear in the address bar; just click it to instantly translate the page to your currently configured language.

Find Edge extensions

To browse available extensions, open Edge and select Settings and More (“…”) > Extensions. Then, in the Extensions pane that opens, select “Get extensions from the Store.” The Windows Store app will launch and navigate to the part of the store dedicated to Edge extensions.

Extensions work just like apps and other items in Windows Store. Each extension gets its own page, complete with screenshots, a description, ratings and reviews, and other information.

To install an extension, click the Install button. After the download and install is complete, the Install button changes to a Launch button. If you click that button or switch to Edge, you’ll see a new “You have a new extension” pop-up appear in the browser.

Click “Turn it on” to enable the extension.

Note: Some extensions will open a browser tab so you can sign-in to a service or configure features immediately.

By default, most extensions you install will be represented by an icon at the top of the Settings and More (“…”) menu. (You may wish to change this behavior; this is explained in the next section.)

Manage Edge extensions

Microsoft Edge offers two primary ways to manage extensions. You can open the Settings and More (“…”) menu and then right-click individual extension icons at the top of this menu to access a variety of options (which vary by extension). Or you can do so via a dedicated Extensions interface.

Since some extensions do not place icons in the top of the Settings and More icon, we’ll look at the latter option.

To manage your installed extensions, open Edge and navigate to Settings and More (“…”) > Extensions. The Extensions pane opens, displaying a complete list of the installed extensions.

From here, you can right-click any extension and choose between the following options:

Turn off/Turn on. This toggle is used to determine whether the extension is enabled. Turning off an extension disables it, but does not remove it from Edge.

Show button next to the address bar. Many (but not all) extensions provide a toolbar button. This button will appear as an icon at the top of the Settings and More (“…”) menu by default. But you can make it visible as a button to the right of the Edge address bar. For example, here you can see the AdBlock button after it’s been moved to the toolbar.

Uninstall. Choose this option to permanently remove the extension from Edge on this PC.

You can also access these same choices, and for some extensions, additional options, by selecting the extension in the Extensions pane. When you do, the pane expands to display information and options for that extension. If there’s an Options button, you can access a web page that provides more customization.

Interact with an extension

Many extensions provide interactive capabilities as needed, as you browse around the web. And you can often interact with an extension by clicking on the extension button in the Edge toolbar, or by selecting it from the Settings and More menu.

For example, AdBlock and other ad-blocking extensions display information about the ads they find on a given web page and provide options for disabling ad-blocking on individual pages and sites.

And the Save to Pocket extension provides a quick pop-up window indicating that the article was saved, and providing an opportunity for you to tag the article if needed.

Tip: Remember that extensions provide right-click options too.


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Comments (18)

18 responses to “Windows 10 Tip: Make Microsoft Edge Better with Extensions”

  1. Bats

    People know this already. Quite frankly, it's not worth changing one's personal and professional workflow over a minor difference. Bookmarks are already set and synced to their Android phones. But just that, but so are usernames and passwords.

    I have said this once and I'll say it again. MS Edge had no chance to overtake Chrome, unless they develop an Android browser version. Not a chance. A complete pipedream.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to Bats:

      It would be simple create a mobile version of Edge just by adding syncing capablilites on top of the WebView capabilities that are already built into Android/iOS (just as Chrome and Firefox have done on iOS, and all other browsers do on Android). That Microsoft hasn't already done so is certainly a sign that they're really not taking Edge seriously at all.

      But if they ever do get serious, this is something that they could probably push out in a day or two.

  2. Associat0r

    Don't let people use Adblock, since it's a CPU / battery hog and will slow down Edge.

    Use uBlock Origin or Adguard extension instead.

  3. kjb434

    As a paying reader, I really suggest Ublock Origin for Edge. The windows store link may not be public, but you can get to it from the Github page. Been testing for a while. Adblock and Adblock Plus can't compete with it. It is also open source.

  4. Delmont

    Why Adblock and not Adblock Plus? What's the difference, pros/cons? Thx

  5. Narg

    I still have reservations about recommending LastPass or similar. Putting all your eggs into one easy to steal basket just doesn't sit well with me...

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to Narg:

      An encrypted password vault is essential to modern living. The alternative is an unencrypted spreadsheet, which is a lot riskier than an encrypted vault. I use KeePass and sync my password database to all my devices using OneDrive. I don't mind syncing my encrypted database to the cloud, but I definitely won't ever trust a browser extension like Last Pass not to get hacked or leak information.

    • Mestiphal

      In reply to Narg:

      Right! besides, passwords are a thing of the past, they are not enough, now I actually try to stay away from services that do not support 2 factor authentication. They can easily guess a password, but not so easily a randomly generated code

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to Mestiphal:

        Exactly. The reason Microsoft and other vendors are trying to get everyone to switch over to n-factor and biometrics is that passwords are dead as a secure authentication method.

        With GPU array based cracking devices a serious hacking group (think organized crime or state actors, not a guy in his parents' basement) can take a stolen encrypted password database from a major site and turn it into a plain text username/password list in literally a couple of days.

        Having that password be a random string of characters makes no difference if even one idiot uses a top-10 password that the crackers can use as a decryption test - and there's always a lot of idiots.

        • Polycrastinator

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          If the vault is sufficiently hashed and salted, not so much, presuming you're using a strong password to encrypt. This fear is overblown and, IMO, dangerous. The alternative to a password vault for most users is insecure or reused passwords. Far better to educate users to have a single, complex password for their vault (with 2 factor enabled) with a service that you trust to encrypt the data securely than any of the alternatives.

          If you think that LastPass's database can be easily cracked the truth is that you're just wrong.

          • MikeGalos

            In reply to Polycrastinator:

            Not any more. A static salt is not effective anymore nor is straight hashing.

            Now, at a minimum, the hash needs to be dynamically salted on each session by a local app using an algorithm synced with the server and, since that would have to be true for all copies, a serious hacker could reverse engineer the dynamic salting algorithm from their own copy of the app and make it useless.

            Sorry. Passwords are done.

            • Chris_Kez

              In reply to MikeGalos:

              Come on, passwords will live on for years and years and years. Until the vast majority of services and devices offer secure two factor the average person is better off with LastPass than without it.

              • MikeGalos

                In reply to Chris_Kez:

                Nope. Not really. When a site is attacked the hard to remember generated password is just as vulnerable as the one they remember. No password-only system is secure now. None. And password-only systems will only live on until the first major lawsuit that finds a site liable for having negligent security. And that will nor be long since everybody in the computer security industry knows password-only systems are toast.

  6. Waethorn

    At some point after AU shipped, Microsoft removed the requirement of needing a Microsoft Account to download extensions. I'm glad they did - there was no reason for that, considering other browsers had no such requirement either.

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