back to article Project Spartan: We get our claws on Microsoft's browser for Windows 10

Microsoft has released the first public preview build of Windows 10 to include Project Spartan, its new web browser. Is Project Spartan really new? The browser engine, called EdgeHTML, is a fork of the Internet Explorer (IE) web engine, called Trident, though with a key difference: EdgeHTML has no compatibility modes and will …

  1. dorsetknob
    Black Helicopters


    ""Third is Cortana integration, sadly absent for UK users. Cortana is Microsoft’s digital assistant, controllable via speech or text input, whose secret sauce is the ability to customise information based on data gathered about your interests.""

    Microsoft the Company that likes to spy on you

    A fully Featured NSA Browser

    1. Cliff

      All the NSA will learn is that you don't want Grace to dance on tables

      1. dorsetknob

        Grace can dance on my table anytime she wants or she can dance on my pole

        that's me taking off my coat ready for grace

    2. Sebastian A

      Am I the only one creeped out beyond measure by all the search integration stuff? If I'm searching a local drive for "budget" I don't want or need results from my email, the web, onedrive or anything like that, and certainly not based on some learning algorithm which processes all my data remotely and is likely 75% aimed at advertising and only 25% at providing a better result. Just show me ALL the files and ONLY the files with CV in the name (or content if I so specify)...

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Nope - creeps me out too...

      2. BongoJoe

        > Sebastian a

        I just can't imagine that Microsoft will make their searching less than painfully slow. Back in the earlier days of Windows their search engine was dreadful and had an interesting concept of what indexing in the background means.

        If I want to search for a file name, or part of a name, then may I recommend the free utility called Everything?

        1. frank ly

          If your computer isn't connected to the internet, does it keep nagging you to tell you that you're missing out on a "great experience".

    3. Bob Vistakin

      Microsoft has a new browser? One word: torsoraphy.

      Google it. Or Bing it, same thing.

      1. dogged

        Reported for repost of the same old lies.

        Yes, the Bing toolbar sent your search queries to Bing. Just as the Google toolbar sends your search queries to Google.

        Go away, "Bob".

        1. Bob Vistakin

          More microsoft thinking: Censorship fixes everything in the end.

          1. dogged

            As opposed to your Google-think? Advertise a lie often enough and it'll become popular?

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Not really - the first few sites which fail with spartan will just drive users back to Chrome, and make them wonder why they bothered in the first place.

  3. CaptainBanjax


    Is fullscreen hiding the taskbar a party trick?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: How...

      My thought exactly, if I want "full screen and no controls" I can use F11

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Cortana integration looks good"

    Review paid for by Microsoft.

    1. P. Lee

      Re: "Cortana integration looks good"

      "We're getting rid of all the security problems created by activex."

      Mostly cos we thought it wasn't fair that that non-MS organisations had the chance to totally compromise your privacy & security.

      Anyone else dislike the ChromeOS model?

  5. Andrew Jones 2

    It won't let me upgrade which is really annoying - I'm stuck with a bug that is apparently not uncommon - - it says it temporarily needs 0.00MB to install and there is more than 8GB free, I even tried adding a second virtual hard drive but nope - it just won't install.

  6. Wibble

    Fork of IE?

    The only fork I would lift for any IE would be the one to dig the 6 foot hole in the ground to bury the code.

    I would have expected that the mess of code in IE is the last thing you want to port. If they did use this code, then we can face years of stupid errors rearing their ugly heads over and over again.

    We all need IE. Once. To download a proper browser.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fork of IE?

      "We all need IE. Once. To download a proper browser."

      You can download Firefox from an ftp server and use that to get going.

      Chrome doesn't seem to offer an official ftp site.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fork of IE?

      "The only fork I would lift for any IE would be the one to dig the 6 foot hole in the ground to bury the code.2

      You could use a trident.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Fork of IE?

        "You could use a trident."

        I presume you mean the missile rather than the Neptune variety .

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Fork of IE?


  7. DJV Silver badge

    HTML 5 Test

    Running Spartan through the HTML 5 Test (or HTML 6 test as it says for today!!) at shows that there are several improvements over IE11 (375 against 341). However, there's still a long way to catch up with Firefox at 449 and Chrome at 530.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: HTML 5 Test

      Ars says if you turn on features in IE11's about:config you can get 387 out of it, which beats Spartan. In a review which is more in depth than The Reg's it says IE11 uses less space for the window chrome compared to Spartan, Spartan's annotation feature is pretty but useless, the reader feature can't join pages together, and Cortana at the moment is pretty lobotomised.

      So, somewhat unsurprisingly, this is not the browser we're looking for.

      1. P. Lee

        Re: HTML 5 Test

        >So, somewhat unsurprisingly, this is not the browser we're looking for.

        Indeed, if you want another browser than IE, use another browser than IE, why do we want another MS browser?

        I can see why MS might want another browser - they need to lock out Googley extensions which undermine their desktop monopoly, but I see no user benefit. Come on, MS, tell us why we'll want your browser. Don't give me "performance" because I don't buy that. I really don't remember the last time I thought, wow, this page isn't displaying fast enough! Don't give me "standards" - I already have Chrome and FF which get close enough. Security? That isn't a benefit, that's an assumed feature. Integration with the OS? No thanks, you already did that and it was horrible. Tell me why you expect me to switch! At the moment, Spartan looks like Windows Mobile. It might be a fine system when it finally gets here, but everyone has moved on and no longer cares.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A major part of the MS-DOS Mobile initiative

    Spartan is a major part of the MS-DOS Mobile initiative, allowing the warmly loved DOS-like experience on mobile devices. It embodies the ultimate design language that Microsoft is aiming for with Windows 10.

  9. DNTP

    a FORK called TRIDENT

    well played.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reading View

    Not mentioned in the article, but Reading View seems to be a nice feature - presents an article in a more natural reading format, without all the flashing adverts and other crap that many sites put on to distract from the essential purpose of a web page.

    It isn't as good as it could be, but it ain't bad.

    1. KeithR

      Re: Reading View

      "...Reading View seems to be a nice feature"

      Like the one that has been in the Maxthon browser for ages, y'mean?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft delivers web standards ?

    People, run for the hills now!

  12. h4rm0ny
    Paris Hilton

    One question:

    Can I turn Cortana off and just enjoy it as a streamlined web-browser?

    1. dogged

      Re: One question:

      Not in this build, as far as I can see, although there are clues that this will be an option. But if you're in the UK you don't get Cortana (yet) anyway.

      All the "this is not the browser we're looking for" crowd might consider waiting until it's out of alpha-preview before making that call. Oh wait, MS product, of course they won't.

      I'll probably stick with Firefox out of habit anyway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One question:

        All the "this is not the browser we're looking for" crowd might consider waiting until it's out of alpha-preview before making that call. Oh wait, MS product, of course they won't.

        Name one software product from any company that could be considered beyond "alpha-preview"… the IT industry has a terrible record for incomplete and failed projects.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Daniel Voyce

    Developer Tools

    One of the biggest gripes I have with IE (apart from that fact that people are still using it), is that when there are bugs, the developer tools on ALL versions of Internet Explorer make tracking down IE specific bugs a complete pain in the ass.

    I know it is saying it will be "Standards Compliant" (don't forget we heard that about IE9 as well), but there will inevitably be idiosyncrasies between it and other browsers, I just hope the developer tools are up to scratch so we actually have a chance of tracking these down.

  14. king of foo

    I don't get it (Big...)

    Can't IE mode just be baked into Spartan, with a "switch engine" button/intuition that remembers if a particular site needs IE or not? Why not make this offer ie6+ modes for full-on legacy support. And how about a similar concept to handle Java needs... and, er, cringe, flash?

    Hmmm... wouldn't that make this actually "attractive" for business users? Bundle it all up in a mega secure sandbox with paranoia settings and you've got something for everyone. And release it on w7 as well, with a guarantee that anything that works in Spartan on w7 will work in w10.

    Of course we want to abandon legacy crap, but sometimes that's easier said than done.

    The "unique selling point" of windows should be legacy support, especially for business. When I upgrade yes I want a little shiny, but I want all my old stuff to keep working, otherwise it's not an upgrade, it's a "change". Change is hard. If businesses are to change to w10 before 2021 then ms need to shift their focus to where it matters before all our software is "cross platform"/cloud and we, shock/horror, don't need Microsoft any more...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't get it (Big...)

      I'm expecting Microsoft to stop providing the IE object interface. That will invalidate my VBA code that drives a browser for a web trawl.

      Using a legacy OS will not be an option as web trawling needs some reasonable protection to avoid infections. A total rewrite is not something I really want to do. I just want to enjoy the results the trawl currently provides as a reward for the years of work that went into the original development.

  15. Cuddles


    So I can draw on a page and then send it somewhere as a picture. How exactly is this different from just hitting print screen, pasting into Paint/Powerpoint/Whatever and doing exactly the same? Maybe MS should focus on actually making a browser, instead of wasting time on pointless gimmicks to replicate things we can already do.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Annotation?

      >>"So I can draw on a page and then send it somewhere as a picture. How exactly is this different from just hitting print screen, pasting into Paint/Powerpoint/Whatever and doing exactly the same?"

      Presumably it's quicker and already integrated into quickly sharing with groups.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cortana, Spartan...

    Pandering to the geeks who love the Halo video games eh?

    I may be wrong, but one of the prerequisites to use Cortana is to have a Microsoft account. You log in, and along the Cortana learns about your web browsing habits etc.

    What annoys me is Microsoft nagging the user to set up or login with a Microsoft account at the end of installing Windows, so you can get 'the full experience of Windows' - one of which is Cortana. Essentially, it is Microsoft's way to push its 'ecosystem' onto the user, and maybe data mine a bit for targeted advertising.

    Don't get me wrong, I'll probably get Windows 10 (I am on Windows Vista), but as far as I'm concerned, this Project Spartan browser will only be used to download Chrome and Firefox. I just want a local account for Windows, I don't care for Microsoft's phones and tablets, and I'll use a third=party program (Classic Shell) to keep the UI more respectable.

    Anything related to the Internet and online services, I'll stay far away from Microsoft.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Cortana, Spartan...

      >>"Anything related to the Internet and online services, I'll stay far away from Microsoft."

      I'm fine with many of their services, but you're right about Cortana. It (and it is an "it" not a "she"), wont run without access to your emails and possibly your txt messages as well. Which is a deal-breaker for me as I wont allow that. And it's an unpleasant decision on MS's part as well as this isn't necessary for Cortana to work. If I am happy to use basic aspects of Cortana - such as making appointments in my calendar) without the invasive profiling aspects, then that should be my choice. But MS are clearly wanting to tie you into allowing full access to all your data. Which I wont allow.

      So for me, Cortana is a major step back for this reason.

  17. Bob Vistakin

    How to make spartan users happy

    Stick a great big button on the toolbar to "Download Chrome".

    It's all anyone uses IE for these days anyway - and isn't the new, cuddly ms all about giving users what they want?

    1. Old Handle

      Re: How to make spartan users happy

      Actually if you try to download Chrome it kicks you into a well for some reason.

  18. snikk

    Not that I would actually use it, but imagine my surprise when I found that it tied to 'metro', which is in turn tied to 'uac', which I switch off via registry.

    Bravo microsoft, bravo....

  19. Breen Whitman

    At our work, for our members that use our services we have moved to HTML5, and provide download links to installers for Firefox or Chrome, or on USB for members that request it.

    We posted a cd in our last member newsletter.

    We simply don't support IE anymore, and our services block the IE browser and redirect to a download link.

    If a member asks, "is this Firefox and Chrome better?", we say Yes. Not one has questioned that and like to feel they are moving on to better things.

    Our developers had a gutsful, our members have buy in, and as a Manager, I support them.

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