back to article Unloved Microsoft Edge is much improved – but will anyone use it?

Microsoft held its Edge Web Summit on 13 September, announcing that the web browser now has “330 million active devices”, just over two years since its launch with Windows 10 in July 2015. The stat was explained as devices where someone actively uses Edge during the course of a month. Edge Web Summit: Microsoft Edge Web …

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The interface is terrible

There is something just terrible about the interface, it's difficult to pinpoint but it just feels uncomfortable...

It's almost as if it is too bare, or void of something... Personally, I prefer IE11/Chrome even though I know that Edge is more secure ( or at least that's what we're told)...

Flat is boring and it feels like it is being shoved down our throats....

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Re: The interface is terrible

Each to their own. I like the fact that there's so little "interface" around the content I'm trying to read. I actually wasn't aware of the F11/Full-screen trick, but I'll be using it more.

As for Chrome, I've pretty much resolved to never install it again now. It's habit of grabbing all my CPU cycles was bad enough, but a couple of days ago, I logged in to the gMail website on a new (Windows) system, and of course I got the standard "we've seen a new sign-in, was it you?" mail afterwards from Google, but now they've added a bit at the top saying "you were using Edge; why not use Chrome instead? Get Chrome here." No thanks; I don't react well to coercion.

Google has become the Old Microsoft: whatever you like or don't like about Edge, it is a standards-compliant browser, as is Safari, as is Firefox.. so why do so many Google services (Meet was this week's example...) tell me that I need to install Google Chrome to use them?

Isn't that behaviour exactly why Microsoft was sued by the U.S. Government ... and lost?

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Holmes

Re: The interface is terrible

@kristian - "As for Chrome, I've pretty much resolved to never install it again now. It's habit of grabbing all my CPU cycles was bad enough"

Opera has somehow managed to use the chromium engine and make it into much less of a resource hog. These days if I have to use a chrome-based browser, I use Opera. Otherwise, Firefox beta or nightly seems to be the clear winner right now on both Windows and Linux in terms of speed/resources.

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Re: The interface is terrible

I'll second Andy Prough's comments. Opera first, and Firefox as well.

Because I operate both at full "shields up" paranoia settings and assorted paranoic add ons, I also have Chrome installed running at default. If something doesn't work due to my settings on the first two, Chrome almost always does a good job. The reason its not my default is simply because it'll be bleeding everything I do back to Google.

The sad thing for Microsoft is that I don't use any of their browsers. I'm sure that in my W10 system there's at least one if not two installed, but after everything Redmond have f***ed up with browsers for decades, it simply isn't going to happen that I willingly use a Microsoft browser. And no matter how good they make Edge, that still applies.

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Re: The interface is terrible

@Kristian Walsh I actually wasn't aware of the F11/Full-screen trick, but I'll be using it more.

I'm not sure why the article calls this out as a new and exciting feature - the F11 so-called "Kiosk mode" has been in IE and Firefox since as long as I can remember, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's in Chrome/Opera/Vivaldi as well. Can be useful when you want to maximize browsing acreage, or remove unnecessary window decorations (hence the name).

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Re: The interface is terrible

"There is something just terrible about the interface, it's difficult to pinpoint but it just feels uncomfortable..."

Short learning curve to understand what the (not very intuitive) icons actually mean, but once you know that I find it preferable to Chrome or IE.

"even though I know that Edge is more secure ( or at least that's what we're told)..."

In terms of vulnerability counts it consistently beats Chrome. And it's faster.

"Flat is boring"

They can make the interface look like whatever the fashion of the day is. However I guess it was originally called Spartan for a reason....

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Re: The interface is terrible

I remember "kiosk mode" in Mosaic. Mosaic was released in 1992.

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Re: The interface is terrible

The biggest irritant with Edge is that if you use a Microsoft account, it's next to impossible to get it to not sign you in by default. You have to switch to private browsing mode after starting to avoid sharing everything you do with your browser with Microsoft. Contrast with Firefox where it's perfectly possible to not sign into Microsoft whilst having a Microsoft account on your computer.

This single fact has prevented Edge from being my default browser for some time.

I do like the developer tools built into it. If you've not used, you'd be surprised how good they are once familiar with them.

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Re: The interface is terrible

"You have to switch to private browsing mode after starting to avoid sharing everything you do with your browser with Microsoft."

Agreed - which is relatively easy to do if you care about such things. It would be nice if there was a single "I'm paranoid don't send anything to anyone" button option. It is possible to disable it altogether for normal browsing (although a bit of a PITA) - If you want to do that here you go:

* To stop Microsoft Edge general data forwarding, under Microsoft Edge Options, Select View advanced settings and Turn any of these off:

Use page prediction to speed up browsing, improve reading, and make my overall experience better

Show search and site suggestions as I type

Help protect me from malicious sites and downloads with Windows Defender SmartScreen

* To stop Microsoft Edge from collecting your browsing history:

Go to Start , then select Settings > Privacy > Feedback & diagnostics.

Under Diagnostic and usage data, select Basic.

*To stop Microsoft Edge from collecting your browsing history for Cortana personalization:

On your PC, select the search box on the taskbar to open Cortana home. On your mobile device, select the Search  button.

Select Cortana’s menu  > Notebook > Permissions.

Find Browsing history, and turn the switch to Off.

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Re: The interface is terrible

"The biggest irritant with Edge is that if you use a Microsoft account, it's next to impossible to get it to not sign you in by default. "

In Edge goto the Options menu (the 3 dots), then Settings, View Advanced Settings, Manage Passwords - and you can right click on and delete anything you don't want remembered. (At some point you must have clicked the please remember me on this PC option if it's doing it automatically). Then it will always prompt you.

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JC_
Windows

Re: The interface is terrible

The biggest irritant with Edge is that if you use a Microsoft account, it's next to impossible to get it to not sign you in by default. You have to switch to private browsing mode after starting

Set the opening (launch) page to "about:inprivate" and there's no need to switch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The interface is terrible

"Opera has somehow managed to use the chromium engine and make it into much less of a resource hog"

Maybe it has less of a spyware loadout?

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And its only Windows 10?

Maybe if they had dropped the stupid built-in nature so you could get it for other Windows versions, and ideally along with other OS (Mac & Linux) they would have had a project many would be interested in trying.

Its a shame really, as Chrome's growing share and Google's dominance are not much better than MS abuse in the early years.

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Thumb Up

Re: And its only Windows 10?

Yep, lots of companies are still on Windows 7 and have switched to Firefox ESR for "normal" browsing. If they ever do get round to migrating to Windows 10, and they've got another couple of years to think about it, moving to Edge would just provide disruption. Edge should either have been backported or at least IE should have got the improved support. As things stand I've just discovered IE 11 no longer works at all on my Windows 7 VM. No idea why as the install is kept vanilla for testing purposes.

And where's the mobile integration? Firefox, Chrome and Safari all offer sync services.

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

"Edge should either have been backported or at least IE should have got the improved support."

No, Edge should've been left in it's box 'til it was ready. Shipping it incomplete in Windows 10 gave everyone a chance to use it, find it was inferior to whatever they'd been using before, and promptly ignore it forever after. Which is a shame in some ways, since it's certainly leaps and bounds ahead of the decaying corpse of Internet Explorer; but really, if you're already on Chrome/Firefox/Opera/whatever, they're all so alike in functionality now that you only consider swapping if one of them introduces a particularly shit version (like Firefox were tending to do last year).

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

Toss in Vivaldi and Brave and you have 5 very browsers to chose from.

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Devil

Re: And its only Windows 10?

"Shipping it incomplete in Windows 10 gave everyone a chance to use it, find it was inferior to whatever they'd been using before"

I thought that was MS's modus operandi.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And its only Windows 10?

Toss in Vivaldi and Brave and you have 5 very browsers to chose from.

There's only one real choice ... Lynx

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Happy

Re: And its only Windows 10?

There's only one real choice ... Lynx

Oh la-de-da, look at Mr. Hoity-toity, "I need a UI" over here.

Real men use wget.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And its only Windows 10?

"Yep, lots of companies are still on Windows 7 and have switched to Firefox ESR for "normal" browsing. "

For tiny values of "lots". The very few corporates that don't use solely IE / Edge tend to use Chrome.

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

"No, Edge should've been left in it's box 'til it was ready. Shipping it incomplete in Windows 10 gave everyone a chance to use it, find it was inferior to whatever they'd been using before, and promptly ignore it forever after."

Agreed, but you could to a degree say that about Windows 10 in general. The RTM version was awful - they wanted to get it out the door before it was really ready. If you install a current version it's a lot more bearable.

Ditto Edge. Now that it has a selection of add-ons including Ublock Origin etc and because it's very fast it's the preferred option for me.

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Trollface

Re: And its only Windows 10?

Real men telnet to port 80.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: And its only Windows 10?

> "Real men use wget."

Look at you with your dandy tool. Engineers browse with curl.

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

Good lord. Wget. Haven't thought about that ages.

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

Curl. Holy moly that brings back memories.

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Happy

Re: And its only Windows 10?

Look at you with your dandy tool. Engineers browse with curl.

Actually, I only suggested wget for comedic effect. In reality, I can simply look at a URL and my brain renders it pixel-perfect in my imagination.

Unfortunately, the URL in question is about:blank.

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

Even more real men just look at the headers .. curl

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

Our IDS blocks wget as a potential site-scraper hack...

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

As has been said they shit the bed early on with it.

Like many we had to roll out windows ten in a corporate environment fairly rap[idly. Edge was horrific. It crashed when asked to do anything like open PDFs (which it was set as the default viewer for). Even fairly basic websites often didn't display correctly, and with anything more complex, forget about it.

I'm sure they've fixed it. Brilliant. Not much use now though to those of us who have either been running a mixed win 7/8.1/10 or even completely win10 enterprise environments for a year or so or even longer.

Had it been fit for purpose on release, we wouldn't have had to send all machines out with chrome set as default for web and an alternative set as default for PDF etc. Are we going to go to the effort of undoing all that? changing GPOs re-testing stuff in edge that previously failed etc etc.

Nope. Too late, when you discover the bed has shit in it, you clean it up and move on, you don't leave it in case it's suddenly not shit 12 months later when you climb back in.

Browser security wasn't much of a concern, we don't allow the users to do enough damage, security is dealt with way before the browser. What was a concern was the browser actually functioning as a browser when asked to.

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

Not to mention Edge's God-awful habit of stealing program defaults whenever it has the chance... which means everyone and their dog has already built-in a reg hack or login script that automatically re-maps all those defaults back to their preferred option. My network is actually a far more hostile environment to Edge than to any other browser now, simply because it was so invasive.

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Re: Maybe its the air in Redmond

when you discover the bed has shit in it, you clean it up and move on, you don't leave it in case it's suddenly not shit 12 months later when you climb back in

Well, Microsoft do, and have done for years (and not just browsers, look at Silverlight, or .NET, or the still unresolved UI challenges).

Which makes me ask: Has anybody dated a girl (or boy) from Redmond? It might be some quaint local custom, or a way of showing affection?

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

No, real men use netcat and input each header manually!

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

Hmmf, wget is for newbs. Real men use netcat for everything.

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

Headers? Real men pipe netcat through sed to strip the headers.

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

>>Actually, I only suggested wget for comedic effect. In reality, I can simply look at a URL and my brain renders it pixel-perfect in my imagination.

You are Richard Stallman, and I claim my complimentary Slackware ISO.

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

And they made it the default reader for some files, including pdfs, which it still handles badly and fails to print, for example.

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

Maybe if they had dropped the stupid built-in nature so you could get it for other Windows versions, and ideally along with other OS (Mac & Linux) they would have had a project many would be interested in trying.

Well, considering that UWP (which runs things like Edge and the rest of the TIFKAM apps) is little more than a runtime, I've thought it should be possible to make a runtime for Linux and Mac as well. Would probably be way simpler to do than Wine. It's just that no one wants to bother. Would be a way to sneak in support for sites/providers/services that can't be arsed to support Linux properly or at all.

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Re: And its only Windows 10?

"And they made it the default reader for some files, including pdfs, which it still handles badly and fails to print, for example."

I find Edge more reliable for printing PDFs than anything else bar Adobe Craprobat Reader. It seems to handle complex / foreign files without issue that trip up other third party options.

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The current version of Edge on Windows 10 Mobile works very well, that's sure. It's a pity MS stopped making new models of WP handsets. Their loss.

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"The current version of Edge on Windows 10 Mobile works very well"

Agreed, but a) there are no add-ons as yet - and add blockers on mobile are really a must these days have with so many websites having popover adverts that obscure the entire screen, and b) to get mobile website to actually show modern content it seemingly pretends to be an Android browser meaning you are forever being offered useless apps from the Google Play Store...

I really liked Windows Mobile, but primarily because of App availability I got myself a Samsung S8+. I could spend a day writing abut how many things suck on Android / Samsung - for instance nearly every app sending lame notifications. Bixby not being able to be uninstalled, and even though I disabled it and denied all rights to every installed Bixby app I still get repeatedly prompted to update it! But if you need a wide selection of current Apps - it's either that or pay the Apple tax....

What doesn't make sense to me is Microsoft releasing zero handsets whilst still updating windows 10 Mobile....They need to release something very good very soon or concede total defeat In mobile.

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@TheVogon As noted in previous topics. I've reluctantly dumped my once loved Winphone for a Plus One 5, because there just wasn't anything to buy.

Also,

" all you need to do is hit F12, click the "Emulation" tab " And how many real users ( i.e. not techies) would even come close to that route.

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I wish they would bring one out for the mac.

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Seen in the wild!

I helped a customer out just yesterday and was flabbergasted that she was running Edge as her browser of choice. I thought better of offering alternatives - not my place to go around confusing people.

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Re: Seen in the wild!

Was it her browser of choice? Or just default?

At least two Windows 10 updates have reset my default browser to Edge - and it's happend on a couple of our other PCs. We've only 5 staff and an IT department of, me, when I'm not doing my actual job. So we use consumer Win 10 as installed on whatever computer we happen to buy.

So like many people who ended up on Chrome (due to their spyware-like download with Flash/PDF trick), did she even pick her browser - or did it pick her?

I've no problem with Edge. However it doesn't have the option to have a menu bar across the top. I can't be arsed to have to click on a button on the right, to bring up a menu, that I then have to read through to find the bit I want, to then sometimes have to navigate my mouse sideways to the final nested menu I was after. I'd rather waste a few pixels at the top, so I can get to my chosen control in one click. IE and Firefox both do that, so I use IE for the one website that prefers it and Firefox for everything else.

I'm sure this is just habit, and I could get used to Chrome or Edge. But I can't be bothered to.

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Re: Seen in the wild!

Edge has been my browser of choice for a while now. Chrome has become too much of a resource hog and Firefox has become flaky. Edge seems to be the most stable and fastest of the 3.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seen in the wild!

I got included in the stats, as the horrendous win10 start menu search that can't find applications you have installed, but will happily prefer to open a random website using edge (my non default web browser ) containing the application name.

Don't think for a moment this wasn't a carefully constructed scam, back when win10 was in development, they engineered a way to trick users into using edge (and bing) to give them bullshite misleading stats like this....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seen in the wild!

Yep, win10 contains lots of nasty tricks, resetting browser default, resetting privacy settings, forcing bing and edge on you from their search app, no idea how they get away with it, EU has gone soft and given them a free pass to pull whatever dirty tricks they want.

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Re: Seen in the wild!

"I helped a customer out just yesterday and was flabbergasted that she was running Edge as her browser of choice."

Well "customer" implies a work environment - and lots of corporate stuff is still IE only - which can be directly launched from Edge.

Or maybe they are performance sensitive? https://microsoftedge.github.io/videotest/2017-04/BenchmarkMethodology.html

Or maybe they care about battery life? https://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-battery-life-test-gives-edge-leg-over-chrome-and-firefox

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Re: Seen in the wild!

I recently switched to Edge as Firefox was spending half its day 'not responding'. Adblock, Ghostery and Lastpass all available. Lack of Xmarks is a shame.

Happy user. Just hoping the favourites really have been fixed in the next update.

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Re: Seen in the wild!

Sadly, when all the moaning about Microsoft is done and dusted, one things stays hanging. Instead of drawing customers in with attractive, easy to use, rewarding, functional, friendly, efficient software they fill their OS with trip wires and pot holes to try and trap the unwary users. It's compulsion and trickery instead of a desirable offer.

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