A Microsoft Edge browser window on a light Windows 10 desktop.

Are you using Windows 10? If so, Microsoft is installing a new browser on your PC via Windows Update. The new browser is still called Microsoft Edge, but it’s based on the same code as Google Chrome.

What Is the New Edge Browser?

The new Microsoft Edge is based on the Chromium open-source project. Chromium forms the basis of Google Chrome, so the new Edge feels very similar to Google Chrome. It includes features found in Chrome, supports Chrome browser extensions, and has the same rendering engine as Google Chrome.

If a website was designed for Google Chrome and didn’t work properly in the old Edge, it’ll now work properly in the new Edge.

Like Google Chrome, the new version of Microsoft Edge will be updated every six weeks. You won’t have to wait for major versions of Windows 10 released every six months just for browser updates, as you did with the Legacy Edge browser.

When Will You Get the New Edge?

Opening the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge from the Start menu.

Microsoft released the stable version of its new Edge browser on Jan. 15, 2020. On June 3, 2020, Microsoft began rolling it out to all Windows 10 users via Windows Update.

You can still download the new Edge from Microsoft’s website if you don’t want to wait for Windows Update to install it. After installation, it will replace the old Edge browser with the new version. The original version of Edge is now officially called the “Legacy” version of Edge.

Technically, the old Edge will remain installed for compatibility reasons, but Windows will hide it. You can tell you’re using the new Edge because it has a new logo. It’s a blue-and-green swirl rather than simply a blue “e”, as the old Edge was.

The new Edge browser will be automatically installed on your PC if you’re using Windows 10’s May 2020 Update, November 2019 Update, or May 2019 Update.

Can You Stop Microsoft From Installing It?

You can stop Windows Update from installing the new Edge if you like, but we don’t recommend it. Windows Update will just replace the old Edge browser on your Windows 10 PC with a new, more modern one that works better. If you ignored the old Edge, you’re free to ignore the new Edge.

However, Microsoft understands that some businesses will want to block their PCs from installing the new Edge. Microsoft offers a Chromium Edge update blocker toolkit that will set a “DoNotUpdateToEdgeWithChromium” registry value, ensuring PCs don’t automatically download and install the new Edge.

Why Did Microsoft Ditch EdgeHTML for Chromium?

Chromium Edge's about page.

Microsoft announced it would replace Edge’s EdgeHTML rendering engine with the Chromium rendering engine in December 2018. That announcement was shocking at the time. After all, Microsoft had always gone its own way with web browsers. Even EdgeHTML was originally based on the Microsoft Trident rendering engine used by Internet Explorer.

Joe Belfiore, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Windows at the time, explained this decision was made “to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.”

Even if you use Google Chrome, Microsoft’s work on the Edge browser will improve Chromium. Microsoft’s effort will make Chrome a better browser, too.

RELATED: How Microsoft Is About to Make Google Chrome Even Better

New Edge vs. Chrome: What’s the Difference?

Tracking prevention settings in the new Microsoft Edge

While Edge and Chrome are now pretty similar under the hood, they’re still different. Edge strips out Google’s services and, in many cases, replaces them with Microsoft ones. For example, Edge syncs your browser data with your Microsoft account rather than a Google one.

The new Edge offers some features Chrome doesn’t. For example, Edge has a built-in tracking prevention feature and a potentially unwanted program (PUP) blocker. In keeping with the old Edge’s interface, there’s a favorites button to the right of the address bar on Edge’s browser toolbar. Microsoft is also porting other features from the old Edge over, including “collections” for capturing snippets of web pages and storing them in the same place.

You might prefer the new Edge if you trust Microsoft more than Google—or if you just want a browser with built-in tracking protection features and Chrome’s rendering engine.

Either way, Windows 10 users who stick with the included browser will now have a more modern, capable browser with an open-source rendering engine that’s updated more frequently and better supported by websites. That’s a win for everyone.

RELATED: How to Enable Microsoft Edge's New Crapware Blocker

Does Edge Support Other Operating Systems?

Microsoft’s new Chromium-based Edge browser is available for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, macOS, iPhone, iPad, and Android. Microsoft will even release a version of it for Linux in the future. Chrome already supports all these platforms, so that makes porting the new Edge much simpler for Microsoft.

The Browser Wars Haven’t Stopped

Windows 10's Settings app recommending the new Microsoft Edge over Firefox and Google Chrome

While Microsoft and Google engineers are clearly cooperating, there’s no truce in the browser wars. However similar their browsers now are, Google still wants you to use Chrome and Microsoft wants you to use Edge.

For example, you can install extensions from the Chrome Web Store in the new Edge. But, when you do so, Microsoft will warn you that extensions from the Chrome Web Store “are unverified and may affect browser performance.” After you agree to that, Google will warn you that it “recommends switching to Chrome to use extensions securely.”

Even though Edge is based on the same underlying code as Google Chrome, many Google websites will still show popups recommending you switch to Chrome. For example, when you visit Google News in Microsoft Edge, you’ll see a message saying Google recommends Chrome, encouraging you to “try a fast, secure browser with updates built in.”

Microsoft is recommending Chrome users switch to Edge, too. For example, Bing encourages Chrome users to download Edge. Windows 10’s Settings app says the new Edge is “recommended for Windows 10” when you’re choosing your default web browser, too.

Mozilla is in the line of fire, too. Microsoft is already showing “suggestion” ads in Windows 10’s Start menu recommending Edge over Firefox. “Still using Firefox? Microsoft Edge is here,” reads the ad.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

RELATED: How to Install Google Chrome Extensions in Microsoft Edge

Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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