Microsoft’s new Edge browser comes out of beta next month – here’s what it means for Windows 10 users

Laurent Giret

windows 2019 aug 20

We’re now just a month away from the general availability of the new Microsoft Edge, with the first stable version of the Chromium-based browser to ship on January 15. Microsoft released a release candidate build at its Ignite conference last month, but as of today, installing Microsoft Edge Beta, Dev, or Canary on your Windows 10 PC won’t replace the “old” Edge, not yet.

However, Microsoft does plan to ship its new Edge browser via Windows Update to all users running the Windows 10 April 2018 or newer after January 15. “To help our customers become more secure and up-to-date, Microsoft will distribute Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based) through Automatic Updates for Windows 10 RS4 and newer,” the company explained in a support page shared by a member of the Edge team yesterday.

For enterprise users looking to block the automatic installation of the new Chromium-based Edge after January 5, Microsoft will provide a Blocker Toolkit for PCs in environments where Automatic Updates is enabled. This tool will only work on PCs running the Windows 10 April 2018 Update or newer, but it won’t prevent users from installing the new Microsoft Edge manually.

The stable version of Microsoft Edge that will ship on January 15 will work on Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, as well as macOS, but Windows 10 users will get a special treatment: Once the new Edge is installed, either via Windows Update or manually, the web browser will be pinned to the taskbar and replace the “old” Edge if it was already there. Moreover, all start menu pins, tiles, and shortcuts from the old Edge will migrate to the new Edge. The old Edge will also become completely hidden in the OS, and all attempts to launch it will open the new Chromium-based Edge instead.

Microsoft’s new Edge browser will also be updated every six weeks (just like Google Chrome), except for the occasional emergency updates. Decoupling Microsoft Edge updates from OS releases will allow Microsoft to iterate much faster on its new browser, and the company is also looking to bring more extensions to its Microsoft Edge Addons website. Yesterday, the software giant announced that its Microsoft Edge Addons store is now open for submissions for all developers, and the company will also help them transitioning their existing EdgeHTML extensions to Chromium.