Microsoft Edge: New Browser on the Block

Category: Browsers , Windows-10

The new browser that will replace Internet Explorer in Windows 10 has been called “Project Spartan” during its earliest development phase. But now it has an official name – “Edge.” At Microsoft’s Build 2015 developer conference, held during the first week of May, the company unveiled Edge completely. Here's what you can expect in the newest web browser...

What is Microsoft Edge?

“Out with the old, in with the new” describes the evolution of Edge pretty well. Internet Explorer has accumulated a lot of baggage during its two decades. IE contains a lot of code that only a few specialized legacy applications need. All of that is being left out of Edge, saving more than 220,000 lines of code so far.

Edge will not support Microsoft's ActiveX, Browser Helper Objects (BHOS), VBScript and third-party toolbars built for Internet Explorer. All of these things degraded performance and posed security risks. Edge will support PDF and Adobe Flash, as other browsers do.

Edge will be much more standards-compliant than IE ever was. That should result in faster and more innovative Web designs because developers won’t have to write code for multiple browsers.
Microsoft Edge Browser

While Edge will be the default browser in Windows 10, Internet Explorer will still be included for those who need it. Microsoft will provide security updates for IE but no new features or improvements. (And of course, users will be able to install alternative web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera.)

Ditching the legacy code of IE freed Microsoft developers to create a faster, richer browser. In benchmark tests using Google’s Canary tool, the current build of Edge ran twice as fast as IE 11, and even beat the latest 64-bit versions of Firefox and Chrome. Over 4,200 interoperability improvements have been made to Edge so far, making the rendering of pages across different devices more uniform.

Extensions will be supported in Edge, finally. This will allow third-party developers to customize and improve the Edge experience on specific sites, and add functions that users want.

Anticipating Your Next Move

In my testing of Windows 10, I am very much encouraged that Microsoft has tried hard to fix what people didn't like in Windows 8. Although Windows 10 is slated for release this summer, you can still join the Windows Insider program and test drive the Windows 10 Technical Preview. Even better news is that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for users of Windows 7 and 8.

Edge tries hard to be helpful, too. It is tightly integrated with Bing (although another default search engine can be specified) and with Cortana, Microsoft’s artificially intelligent “personal digital assistant.” If you visit a restaurant’s Web page, Edge will compile information such as driving directions, hours of operation, reservation phone number, etc., and display it at the click of a button. You can also highlight content on a Web page, right-click, and “ask Cortana” for more information about the highlighted stuff. The more you work with Cortana, the more accurate it becomes in anticipating your information needs.

Edge users can also annotate Web pages, adding typed notes or pointer-drawn figures to pages they’re viewing. These annotations are saved locally and reloaded when the page is visited again. Annotated pages can be shared with other Edge users.

We now have a more complete vision of Microsoft’s next-generation browser, and it looks pretty exciting. Edge requires Windows 10, which won’t be released until sometime this summer. Not all of the features described above will be in the first release of Edge, but Microsoft promises that Edge will be complete by year’s end.

Most of the features that will ship later in the year are primarlily of interest to web and app developers. Among them are support for Edge extensions, Object RTC (the ability to easily integrate voice and video chat into almost any application), Pointer Lock (a programming interface that allows the use of the mouse to perform complex operations) and "many new app and platform features."

I've tried Edge in pre-release versions of Windows 10. It has a nice clean look, seems to load pages fast, and renders them as expected. It's the first new browser written from scratch in quite a while, and it will pose a threat to competing browsers. Will Windows 10 users be content with Edge, or will they use it only to download Firefox or Google Chrome? That remains to be seen...

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Microsoft Edge: New Browser on the Block"

(See all 21 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

11 May 2015

If I decide to install/free upgrade to Win10; will I lose my existing data on my system; My Documents, My Pictures, etc. thanks

Posted by:

Howard Bretman
11 May 2015

I use the lifetime paid for version of Roboforms 6 which works well with IE11. Will it work with Edge?

Posted by:

11 May 2015

WOW ... Finally, something really encouraging, from a Microsoft's browser!!!

Edge sounds very interesting. I left IE, a long time ago and at one time, I would never use anything, but, IE! I do wish that Microsoft eliminated Bing ... I just do NOT like Bing, at all. Never have, either. I personally, like the interface of Google or Duck Duck Go. I just guess, that I have gotten so use, to both of those, that anything else, seems "foreign", to me.

I read, in one of your earlier articles Bob ... That Windows 10 would be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 ... I am still leery of that free upgrade. I am so afraid, that the free upgrade, is a precursor, to yearly subscriptions. Subscriptions seems to be the "way to go", these days. Look MS Office can now, be done with an annual subscription. I personally, like having my own CD or DVD in my drawers, for when there is trouble. Yet, it might be simpler, to have things on a "cloud", where problems may be solve quicker and easier.

I am still on the fence, about the free upgrade to Windows 10. Must admit, Windows 10 does have me excited. I have been reading great reviews, by the geeks, who are previewing Windows 10. There may be a few negatives, but, over all, the reports are very positive to glowing.

Posted by:

11 May 2015

I will try it out only because IE is garbage and maybe Microsoft in the new life made something better

Posted by:

Robert Kemper
11 May 2015

I'm really looking forward to Windows 10 browser
when it becomes available this summer.

Posted by:

11 May 2015

This is the kind of info I like to find. Thanks.

Posted by:

11 May 2015

So long as the charms bars have gone bring it on....

Posted by:

11 May 2015

Just a comment. Sorry it is not available for Windows 7 and Win 8. IE has become a dragon, causing me to switch to firefox or Chrome. Up to last night I use it to download firefox for one of my Win 7 box, and it took about 1/2 hour to actually get up and going. Glad to hear of the left-out-of-legace-crap. It is sleepy slow on my Win 7 32 bit box. Maybe I need more memory but it is an old motherbord. Not much speed on the Win 7 64 bit box. But so-so on the win 8.1 boxes all 64 bits. Looking forward to the new browser but not Win 10 OS. After spending so much to build new boxes to make use of the Win 8 copies I bought thinking they could be used to upgrade my old boxes. Almost end up with 2 unused win 8 OS.

Posted by:

11 May 2015

oh very very encouraging cannot wait?

Posted by:

12 May 2015

Microsoft Edge appears like a luxury car advertisement without any of the luxuries to go with the current shell. It should run MUCH more than "twice as fast as IE 11, and even beat the latest 64-bit versions of Firefox and Chrome." because their is not even a status bar that could be enabled. Sure, maybe in the future, it will allow me to search using google or duckduckgo but at its current release (Win10PreviewV10074) it is not about to replace any browser that have features built-in. Cortana is not even enabled or is doing a grand job of hiding behind the 'edge' of the curtain!

Posted by:

12 May 2015

....and I thot that the Rapture would antecede any useful, likeable product from MS. In a world saturated with not bad, but terrible news, this is truly refreshing. I will have to try it.(Ah--choo. I think I'm catching a code.)

Posted by:

Bob Deloyd
12 May 2015

Microsoft will find a way to bloat it and slow it down I am betting. Or maybe they have learned a thing or two from Vista and Win8......

Posted by:

12 May 2015

Bob, help me understand. I've read your articles for decades, followed your advice often and I'm happy for everyone looking for a new and different browser. But I think I speak for many older computer users when I say that most of us are not looking to be "Edgy".

We're not unhappy with Firefox or Chrome. Yes, I'm sure many of us abandoned IE just like everyone else because Windows XP doesn't support the newer versions. (Yes, many of us still use XP.) Now, our beloved Windows 7 is considered close to being obsolete. Windows 8 just plain sucks. We're not using "abc123" as a password. We use free AVs and our computers rarely get infected or hijacked.

So, with everything working reasonably well, WHY would we want to upgrade to something that supports Edge? Are we facing dangerous levels of risk because we don't?

EDITOR'S NOTE: There's no reason you can't continue using Windows 7 until 2020. But if you can get a free upgrade to Windows 10, with minimal learning curve, I think you'd be silly not to go for it.

Posted by:

19 May 2015

I have been using spartan (edge) for over six weeks along with chrome an IE on the latest win 10 build (currently 10074), my experience is edge is very unreliable and slow. Chrome is the best, although for me IE is very good too.

Posted by:

20 May 2015


Updated to win 10 build 10122 today. Spartan (edge) much improved on my system.

Posted by:

27 May 2015

I like Internet Explorer11 and I'm sure I will love the new Edge browser!! I can't wait to try it once Windows 10 becomes officially available for download..

Posted by:

28 May 2015

2nd update:

Updated to win 10 build 10125. easily the best build, and edge is getting better, but for me chrome still the best and IE very good too.

Posted by:

07 Jun 2015

Now, if they can fix Windows,(i.e. "Windows can't find...", "needs to know what program....", etc.) I might regain faith in PCs.

Posted by:

12 Aug 2015

Where is the "help" or any documentation for edge?
How can I launch a new edge window (or even a tab) from the keyboard (equivalent of Alt+f - n, in IE)?

Posted by:

09 May 2016

I tried win10 on my win 7 laptop but much of the time I could not go on line and when I did, I could not stay on line. Computer told me I was connected but could not go on line. After a couple of hours, I re-installed win 7. Is this fixed? All wi-fi drivers are up to date.
Hopefully it is fixed. If it isn't, I will stay with 7.

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