Microsoft has moved with uncharacteristic speed since it announced the end of its fully custom Edge browser. The company said in late 2018 that it would move to a Chromium-based browser, designed to integrate Microsoft services instead of Google’s. After months of toil, you can try Chromium Edge right now. Microsoft says the stable version of its new browser will come as part of a Windows 10 update in January.
Microsoft tried for years to pull people away from Chrome, which dominates the browser market. Microsoft even resorted to nagging Windows users with questionable warnings about Chrome that touted Edge’s battery efficiency. Still, Chrome was faster and had generally better support across the web. Edge and its custom EdgeHTML engine simply couldn’t keep up.
The new Edge has the same Chromium base as Chrome, Opera, and numerous other browsers. However, it has Microsoft account access and features like Bing, a dark theme, and tracker blocking. Microsoft will also support extensions, which developers can submit to the Edge repository right now.
We already knew that Microsoft hoped to release the browser in January, but some users might not be overjoyed it will arrive as part of a Windows update. Unless you are in a managed enterprise network, Windows 10 updates are functionally mandatory. Your PC will eventually download the update and start pestering you to restart to complete installation. Next month, that process will deliver the new Chromium version.
For most people, the change won’t be a problem. You didn’t use the old Edge, and you probably won’t use the new one. However, Microsoft is still cramming yet another program on your computer. Luckily, Microsoft does have a tool to prevent Edge from installing on your computer in the next update. It takes a bit of leg work, but the process is pretty straightforward. You can then choose when (or if) to install the new Edge browser.
After the initial release, Edge updates won’t be tied to Windows updates. You should get new stable builds of Edge several times per year. If you’re curious about what the new browser has in store, you can download the beta, dev, or canary builds of Edge right now — those get updates much faster. The new Edge runs on all versions of Windows from 7 onward, as well as macOS.
- Microsoft Rolls Out First Versions of Chromium Edge
- Microsoft Releases First Chromium Edge Browser Beta
- Confirmed: Microsoft Will Move to Chromium-Based Edge Browser