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Microsoft Edge Features, Advantages and Disadvantages (explained)

Microsoft Edge has some unique features that make it stand out from other browsers, such as Collections, Immersive Reader, Vertical Tabs, Smart Copy, Password Monitor and Privacy Dashboard.

Microsoft Edge is the official web browser from Microsoft that offers a fast, secure and productive browsing experience. It is available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Linux platforms. In this article, we will take a look at the brief history of Microsoft Edge, its advantages, and disadvantages, and whether it’s the right choice for you.

Introduction of Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge was first released in 2015 as part of Windows 10 and Xbox One. It was initially built with Microsoft’s own proprietary browser engine, EdgeHTML, and its Chakra JavaScript engine. It was designed to be a modern, lightweight and standards-compliant browser that could replace the legacy Internet Explorer.

However, despite its innovative features, Edge struggled to gain significant traction among users, primarily due to compatibility issues and a lack of extensions. To address these issues, Microsoft decided to rebuild Microsoft Edge from scratch using the Chromium open source project as the base. Chromium is the same browser engine that powers Google Chrome, Opera, Brave and many other browsers. By switching to Chromium, Microsoft Edge could benefit from the compatibility, performance and innovation of the Chromium community.

Microsoft announced the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge in December 2018 and released the first preview builds in April 2019. The new Microsoft Edge was officially launched in January 2020 and replaced the old Microsoft Edge as the default browser on Windows 10 devices. Since then, Microsoft has been adding new features and improvements to Microsoft Edge every six weeks.

Additionally, Microsoft’s integration of its services, such as Microsoft 365 and Azure Active Directory, remained intact, ensuring a seamless experience for users deeply entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem.

Microsoft Edge features

The latest browser comes with built-in tracking protection, a new Collections feature to collect images and content from the web, and an Internet Explorer mode for businesses. There’s also support for Chrome-based extensions, 4K streaming, Dolby audio, inking in PDF, and privacy tools.

But things like favorites, settings, addresses/contact info, and passwords will all sync. The good thing is the rest of Edge is very similar to Chrome and even includes support for Chrome extensions.

Collections: A tool that lets you organize, save and share web content in a convenient way. You can create collections for different topics, projects or interests, and access them from any device. You can also export your collections to Word or Excel for further editing or analysis.

Immersive Reader: A feature that simplifies web pages and removes distractions, such as ads, images and videos. You can also adjust the text size, font, background color and line spacing to suit your preferences. Immersive Reader also supports text-to-speech and translation for over 60 languages.

Vertical Tabs: A feature that lets you manage your tabs in a vertical layout, instead of the traditional horizontal one. This gives you more space to view web pages and makes it easier to switch between tabs. You can also collapse or expand the vertical tabs panel as you wish.

Smart Copy: A feature that lets you copy and paste web content without losing the formatting, links or images. You can also paste the content into other apps, such as Word or PowerPoint, and keep the original layout.

Password Monitor: A feature that alerts you if your passwords have been compromised in a data breach. You can also use Edge to generate strong and unique passwords for your online accounts.

Privacy Dashboard: A feature that lets you control how Edge handles your personal data, such as cookies, trackers and browsing history. You can choose from three levels of privacy protection: Basic, Balanced or Strict.

Download Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge comes preinstalled with the latest Windows 11 and Windows 10. If you are using macOS or Linux, You can download and install Microsoft Edge for free from the official website: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/edge.

Click the blue Download for Windows 10 button, Also you can click the down arrow button to select the version for Windows 11.

If you’re looking to download the macOS version, click the macOS tab, and then click the Download button.

Download new Microsoft edge

  • Open the location where MicrosoftEdgeSetup.exe downloaded on your device.
  • Right-click on MicrosoftEdgeSetup.exe and select run as administrator,
  • Click accept and download to begin the process.

Download Chromium edge

  • Continue with the on-screen directions to complete the setup.
  • Once you complete the steps, Microsoft Edge will install on Windows 10, and it’ll replace the legacy version of the browser.

getting new Microsoft edge

During the installation, your Edge settings, passwords, favorites, and other data will carry over to the new Edge. If you use Google Chrome, Edge will ask you to migrate favorites, form-fill information, and basic settings.

Now click Get Started, then select the new tab experience:

  • Inspirational: Sets background image on a page that includes a search box and quick access to your most frequent websites.
  • Informational: Sets a background image on the page with a search box, and you get access to the latest news headlines curated by Microsoft News.
  • Focused: This option is similar to the “Inspirational” but without the background image.

Next, you need to Customize the sync settings option and select the items you wish to sync finally, you will get the new Microsoft edge.

New Microsoft edge welcome

Install Chrome extensions on a new edge

The new Microsoft Edge is based on Chromium and uses the same core that Google Chrome is based on. And that makes it possible to install Chrome extensions in Microsoft’s new web browser. But before this, you need to enable the option to install extensions from other stores from the “Extensions” settings.

Allow extensions from other stores

Now visit the Chrome Web Store and install any extensions you want.

Configure Tracking Prevention on a new edge

Microsoft’s new Edge browser comes with a tracking prevention feature that works similarly to Mozilla Firefox’s Tracking Protection feature. This feature is enabled by default to limit tracking through ads and cookies But You can manage this setting from the Edge -> settings -> privacy and services section.

  • Open the new Edge browser,
  • on the address bar, type edge://settings/privacy, and hit the enter key.
  • Here you will get the option to switch to Basic or Strict levels;

New edge tracking prevention

Costume page layout

Now you can customize the New Tab Page of the Edge browser. Just open the page and activate the settings icon to get started. Now select focused, inspirational, informational, or customize your setting. Here also you can adjust the content language as well.

Costume page layout

Similar to the legacy version of the Edge browser, the new version includes a dark theme option. And you can adjust the same from edge://settings/appearance.

New edge dark theme

Just like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge also comes with a Task Manager that you may run at any time in the browser to display memory, CPU, and network use of processes.

new edge taskmanager

Advantages of Using Microsoft Edge

  1. Performance: Edge’s transition to Chromium has resulted in significant performance improvements, with faster page load times and smoother overall browsing experience.
  2. Security: Edge boasts robust security features, including Microsoft Defender SmartScreen for phishing and malware protection, sandboxing for added security, and enhanced tracking prevention to safeguard user privacy.
  3. Integration with Windows: Edge is tightly integrated with Windows, offering features like Cortana integration, Windows Hello for website authentication, and support for touch and pen input.
  4. Cross-device Syncing: With a Microsoft account, users can seamlessly sync their browsing data across multiple devices, including Windows PCs, Macs, iOS devices, and Android devices.

Disadvantages of Using Microsoft Edge

  1. Extension Ecosystem: While Edge now supports Chrome extensions, the selection may still lag behind Google Chrome’s vast ecosystem. However, this gap is narrowing over time as more developers port their extensions to Edge.
  2. Perception: Despite its improvements, Edge still carries the stigma of its predecessor, Internet Explorer. Some users may be hesitant to switch due to past experiences or preconceived notions about Microsoft browsers.

Should You Switch to Microsoft Edge?

Ultimately, the decision to switch to Microsoft Edge depends on individual preferences and needs. If you value performance, security, and integration with the Microsoft ecosystem, Edge presents a compelling option. Its transition to Chromium has addressed many of the shortcomings of the original EdgeHTML engine, making it a competitive choice among web browsers.

However, if you’re deeply entrenched in another ecosystem or rely heavily on specific features unique to other browsers, such as Firefox’s emphasis on privacy or Chrome’s extensive extension library, sticking with your current browser may be the more pragmatic choice.

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