back to article No more installing Microsoft's Chromium-centered Edge by hand: Windows 10 will do it for you automatically

Microsoft warned late last year that it was making plans to distribute the Chromium-based version of its Edge browser in Windows 10 updates. It began doing so earlier this year, although manual installation was required, but now Redmond has taken the distribution of Edge via Windows Update a step further by initiating …

  1. UBF
    Megaphone

    Déja Vu

    I had a nightmare last night that when I was a kid the same thing happened in Windows 98 and WinXP with Internet Explorer.... this one must be fake news.

    1. seanf

      Re: Déja Vu

      Plus ça change, plus c'est la même shit.

    2. J. R. Hartley

      Re: Déja Vu

      Have they learned nothing?

      No. Apparently not.

    3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Déja Vu

      Windows 98 if I remember correctly was IE5 to IE6 caused lots of headaches for myself and family.

      1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
        Meh

        Re: Déja Vu

        Oh not just for families. Imagine your board of directors turning up for a training session only to find your new HR system only works on IE 5.5...

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Déja Vu

          Yes thankfully I was in highschool when that was occuring (Although they were still running Windows 3.11 at that time).

          1. DJV Silver badge

            Re: Déja Vu

            I seem to remember that Internet Explorer (probably version 2 or 3) running on Windows 3.1(1) would keel over and die after a period of web activity due to how (memory) leaky it was. Thankfully the place at which I was working at the time was replacing 3.1 with 95. Of course, then IE4 came along and screwed everything up once more with the infamous "active desktop".

            1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

              Re: Déja Vu

              We didn't have IE crashing the machine, we had RM Networks with 1MB storage.

              I think thats why I remember using Clip Art and the text tool in office so much!

        2. Youngone

          Re: Déja Vu

          ...only to find your new HR system only works on IE 5.5...

          Oi! Mind your language. Children might be reading this.

    4. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Déja Vu

      Back in the Windows 98 era, over 98% of webpages were made to run well in Internet explorer and only run well in Internet Explorer.

      IE was a nightmare but when webpages weren't filing you with malware, at least it made the Internet look pretty.

      1. The obvious

        Re: Déja Vu

        Now people only write pages to work in new IE4 - Chrome.

  2. simonlb Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Oh FFS!

    It's as if MS has now decided to follow Samsung's policy of ramming as much non-removable crapware into it's products just because they can. MS should really be focusing their efforts on fixing the broken abortion of a UI they've nailed onto Win10 or even providing the option to use an alternate one like previous versions of Windows did. Oh, and removing all the unnecessary telemetry. Not a comprehensive list I know but it would be a start.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      "MS should really be focusing their efforts on fixing the broken abortion of a UI ..."

      Or even better creating an OS that [a] gives you complete control over your machine like in the distant past and [b] doesn't need a constant torrent of bug fixes for its entire operational life.

      Sorry, I was dreaming...

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Oh FFS!

      I was pushed on to Win10 by an unnecessary hardware upgrade about 12 months ago, and I'm reminded almost daily of just how janky the UI is. It's still surprising me regularly.

  3. Mark #255
    Mushroom

    Same old tactics

    I went to check if I'd been supplied with the new Edge yet.

    Instead I found that it had "helpfully" "forgotten":

    • to "never ask again" whether it should become my default browser
    • to not display the ads show "my" feed on the Starting tab
    • to make new tabs blank, rather than being full of ads displaying "my" feed

    ... so I'm not going to be using it to browse, since it can't respect my preferences.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Same old tactics

      It's like Google. YouTube frequently forgets that I never, ever want any auto playing videos. (What kind of person actually wants to be fed random videos 4 seconds after watching something, anyway?)

      1. iron Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Same old tactics

        I'd love to know which cockwomble at Google decided YouTube should ask me if I want to subscribe to YouTube Kids or Music every single bloody time I visit the site. I don't have kids, a fact that is very unlikely to change, and if I want to listen to music I'll do so on audio equipment in a half decent format not recorded off TOTP 40 years ago on VHS, compressed and uploaded to YouTube ffs. You'd think by now they'd have realised that I don't want either of these products, perhaps even stored it in that supposedly detailed profile they keep on me but no.

        1. FordPrefect

          Re: Same old tactics

          But you never know this time might be different on the 105876 time of asking the question you might actually have changed your mind on wanting music recorded in poor quality or suddenly have spawned 16 kids in the range 4-16 overnight !?!

          1. Chris G Silver badge

            Re: Same old tactics

            I use Firefox with Bluhell and UBlock origin, I don't get of YouTube's offers and ads, if I do a full CClean occasionally, I have to reset the autoplay to don't, otherwise things are generally ok.

            I had a large update from Microstitch last weekend and haven't haf a look at the rubbish they have dumped yet, perhaps I should take a look .

            Edge is IE by an other name and it never smelled sweet.

        2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

          Re: Same old tactics

          We leave music on on YouTube quite a bit. The ads aren't too annoying until they come to one that is about half an hour long that seems to resurface every sixth or seventh ad break...

          1. Palpy

            Re: @Zippy

            You might try this: start your music playing ("Mothership Led Zep" is what I have on right now, something like an hour and a half of Robert Plant's best adenoidal screaming plus Page bowing his guitar strings with his nose, I love it) and then disable Javascript. To do that in one click, install the Javascript Toggle add-on. Poof. No more ads.

            On my setup (Firefox), this does not stop the "want to continue listening" popup from YouTube. There's an extension to that too...

            Enjoy.

    2. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: Same old tactics

      Don't forget the "problem" that just happens to magically reset your preferences to Edge for almost everything, along with every other sorry MS "recommend" app.

  4. Joe Drunk

    I still have the non-chrome Edge on my 1903 build of Windows 10

    I used it once. To download Waterfox and Cent Browsers. Hasn't been used since.

  5. Montagu

    I don't tend to use YouTube, unless really necessary, due to the AutoPlay annoyance. NetFlix, Amazon Prime, etc also fall foul of this stupidity.

    Equally, I cannot understand why Linked In thinks I wish to see their "Top" posts first, with only "Relevant Comments" by default. Twitter-Twatter takes me "Home" without allowing me to set for all time "Latest Tweets". Facebook determines that I only wish to read "Most Relevant" comments and that I only wish to hear from people that I hear from all the time and not long-lost friends.

    Who decides such mindless default settings for these platforms? Someone with a death wish on their own service? Why can't I choose my own preferences, and then use their service even more?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Because you're there to be milked. Their "service" is for advertisers, not for you. You just have the right to go through the rat maze of their UI to try and get something out of their pilfering of your life.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      "Who decides such mindless default settings for these platforms? "

      The people who actually pay for these i.e. the advertisers.

  6. Ozan

    To be honest, edge had a promising engine...

  7. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    I wouldn't mind so much..

    ..except I just know Microsoft will 'helpfully' create a desktop shortcut and pin it to the taskbar whether I want it or not. Hopefully some restraint will be shown and it won't be made the default browser... well, by default. I suppose the damage will be mitigated somewhat though since barely anyone seems to use Edge.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: I wouldn't mind so much..

      Yup, it does. It also requires you to reenter some preferences.

      OTOH, my uBlock extension transferred automatically.

      Besides, if I had to choose between Google and Microsoft slurping my data, I'd pick Microsoft. Note that in the real world I avoid them both with Firefox.

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: I wouldn't mind so much..

      since barely anyone seems to use Edge.

      Just about everybody uses it once

      .

      .

      .

      to download a decent browser.

    3. Ozan

      Re: I wouldn't mind so much..

      I hate any install putting shortcut on desktop. I hate them all.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: I wouldn't mind so much..

        I hate any install putting shortcut on desktop. I hate them all.

        The better behaved once ask it with a check mark, preferably by opt-in.

      2. Geoffrey W

        Re: I wouldn't mind so much..

        I also hate having to clean my desktop after installing, but with my support hat on, when this didn't happen, the number of calls I got saying "I installed X and I can't find it! HELP!"...

    4. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: I wouldn't mind so much..

      "since barely anyone seems to use Edge."

      What I find funny is that the numbers of people that use edge on the desktop is about the same as those that use Linux as their desktop.... But you say "barely anyone uses Linux" and see what happens.....

      1. BenDwire Silver badge

        Re: I wouldn't mind so much..

        I can't run Edge on the desktop - I run Linux on the desktop!

        (I know, they're promising to port it over one day, but I'll be sticking with Firefox thanks)

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Great. Now Borkzilla is going to claim millions of installs

    It'll be funny to see how little Edge will be used now that Borkzilla is pissing it all over.

    Still, this line sounds ominous to me : "The automated browser replacement routine will migrate Start menu pins, tiles, and shortcuts, as well as taskbar pins and shortcuts ".

    How long before we notice that the automated replacement routine also "helpfully" replaces your default browser choice ?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Great. Now Borkzilla is going to claim millions of installs

      I am fairly sure I remember a previous incarnation of wind'ohs doing just that with IE in the past, after an update. Or have I been having nightmares?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "helpfully" replaces your default browser choice ?

      My bet is next 'Patch Tuesday" and everyone after that.

      "you vil do it our way"

      I wonder how long it will be before your system counts how many times you launch Edge and if you don't do it often enough they'll start nagging you 'use Edge or else...."

      That is the final 'E' in EEE in operation.

      I gave up with Windows 10 in 2016 and have not regretted it one bit.

  9. IGotOut Silver badge

    Damm.

    Edge and I.e. we're useful. There I said it.

    Just had a nightmare trying to work out why some images we're not showing correctly on my sites and the old crappy legacy installs allowed me to work out it was a "helpfull" security policy in Chromium based systems.

    That just leaves Safari.

    1. Geoffrey W

      Re: Damm.

      You filthy beast! Suggesting anyone install Apple software on a "normal" PC. Really...Safari...I ask you...bork, bork, bork. Ack!

  10. DML71

    I like it

    I had no issues, quite like it. Seems snappy and responsive to me with good memory management.

    Not sure why there is all the hate...

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: I like it

      The hate is not for the browser, which I am sure is no worse than any other Chrome Blink engine crap browser, but for Microsoft's endless slimy tactics in making sure everyone has it as default.

      An analogy might be the Washington Post's inane manoeuvering to overturn the GDPR they loathe and force one to take their damn cookies; not even giving the choices offered by other more reputable sites to decline personalization.

      Fortunately, with Cookies Exterminator I can now merely accept all, and then watch them being destroyed as soon as the page is closed: alas, there is no Windows Exterminator...

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Everyone has it as default

        Then what do you suggest?

        I do agree with the OP, everyone is hating on this because it's Microsoft. I'll certainly get hate for calling people out on that, but it's the truth:

        The fact is that Microsoft essentially has to include a browser in order for new installs to access the Internet so as to get things accomplished: download and install favorite programs that are now only available via this method, such as my favorite example Adobe or even a different browser of choice; find online help or installation instructions for the new kit; etc.

        Or, provide a selection method to download and install *some* type of browser.

        Windows does not [yet] have a package manager so you can't get a browser via that method. It's either include one or make an automated selection method to get one. Most Windows users are not sophisticated enough to deal with the effort that would be necessary to download and install a browser from scratch, not using a browser-based interface to find and download a new browser - because that's a Catch-22, needing a browser to find a browser in order to switch to said, new browser.

        So now Microsoft is providing a browser based on Chromium. You know, the most popular browser engine that is currently used.

        Why the hate? If the largest user base uses Chromium (Google Chrome), Microsoft is now providing a version. You are free to use it...or, not. But most likely most people will be using said Chromium to enable the ability to get something else in the first place.

        To appease the issue, make Microsoft allow for uninstalls. Hopefully that will satisfy most individuals.

        1. Terafirma-NZ

          Re: Everyone has it as default

          that's not the issue the issue is:

          The automated browser replacement routine will migrate Start menu pins, tiles, and shortcuts, as well as taskbar pins and shortcuts. It will pin the new Edge to the taskbar and add a shortcut to the desktop, removing the old Edge if present. Data like passwords, favorites, and open tabs will be preserved through migration to the new browser.

          Its the we need to make this update but as we assume everyone wants to move over we will make it default and add shortcuts everywhere even though you removed them last time. Then like always it will have some deep tie into Windows that makes it hard to repair (even though this was superposed to be the single biggest change from IE to Edge).

        2. Negative Charlie

          Re: Everyone has it as default

          You don't need Windows to be bundled with a browser at all since it already has a package manager (of sorts) - the Microsoft Store.

          If all the commonly-used browsers were made available through the Store then Microsoft could save themselves the trouble of developing their own and concentrate on more important stuff.

          Too obvious?

        3. Palpy

          Re: Hating on MS

          Snake, I get it: Edge per se is a non-issue. As you say, it's just anodder Blink brwozer. Shipping an OS with a default browser is a non-issue; every OS I ever installed comes with a browser.

          The issue is installing it and then making it impossible to uninstall. The issue is installing it on machines on which the user has already configured software to his/her liking. The issue is pulling cheeseball, stupid-arse tricks like hiding the version number.

          (From Reg article: "The current version of Microsoft Edge will be hidden from UX surfaces in the OS – because people don't need to know such things. Also, Chromium Edge does not support uninstalling the update.")

          The issue is Microsoft controlling the user's machine. I buy my machines with money; they belong to me. I control them.

          The hate comes from Microsoft's track record: you WILL use Win 8 if you want a Window's machine, even though the interface breeds dung-flies. (That died fast, didn't it? Overstepped a bit, MS.) You WILL let MS download data from your machine. You WILL take this update even though it will bork your machine.

          So: "You WILL install Edge, you WILL NOT uninstall it, and WE will manage your installation" is where the hate comes from. Simples.

          **FULL DISCLOSURE: I do not run Windows much, so I probably don't know what I'm talking about. I do have a Windows grandpa-box, but Linux does everything I need at this point.

        4. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: Everyone has it as default

          Most Windows users are not sophisticated enough to deal with the effort that would be necessary to download and install a browser from scratch, not using a browser-based interface to find and download a new browser - because that's a Catch-22, needing a browser to find a browser in order to switch to said, new browser.

          That sounds fair, particularly the first 6 or 7 words; however, for anyone who previously used a computer it would be a few seconds to copy over a .exe browser file [ say, to make it hard, Opera or Brave ] from a disk of some sort saved from another install, and click the .exe file.

          I'm not suggesting this should be the preferred method, or even an optimal method, merely that installing a browser to download a browser is not the only way.

          There's even using SFTP, or downloading a .exe via the terminal. Sometimes with WGET...

      2. aks Bronze badge

        Re: I like it

        On the new Edge > Settings > Privacy and services >

        --------------

        Clear browsing data

        This includes history, passwords, cookies and more. Only data from this profile will be deleted. Manage your data

        Clear browsing data now

        Choose what to clear

        Choose what to clear every time you close the browser

        ----------------

      3. Steve Knox

        Re: I like it

        "alas, there is no Windows Exterminator..."

        Actually, there are many. Here are a few of them, in no particular order:

        https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php

        https://www.opensuse.org/

        https://ubuntu.com/download/desktop

        https://www.apple.com/macos/catalina/

        https://elementary.io/

    2. keith_w Bronze badge

      Re: I like it

      Because it is Microsoft and therefore, according to all the haters above, it sucks. They've never tried it, and wouldn't be caught dead doing so, but that makes all of them experts on it. Edge is faster than either Chrome or Firefox, and definitely doesn't suck up as much personal data as Chrome, but what the heck, haters gotta hate. Personally I like both W10 and the new version of Edge.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I like it

        "New" Edge or "Old" Edge?

        I have always used FF and PM and never installed Chrome even once. The "New" Edge has been installed and it seems quite snappy.

        AdNauseum has been installed and is functioning

        Ed: I have whitelisted El Reg because commentards should

        1. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: I like it

          ""New" Edge or "Old" Edge?

          I have always used FF"

          I also used FF for the longest of time. Then I swapped to classic Edge and then to new Edge. New Edge is faster and the UI far less clunky than FF. When I say FF is clunky there is simply something a bit... mmm... laggy with it. It simply doesn't seem to respond as well as I would like. On Mac, Windows or Linux. New Edge, though.... a totally different, smooth, polished experience. Just try it - bin it if you don't like... but at least give it a go.

  11. binary
    Thumb Down

    Windows 10 Will Do It For You... not necessarily

    If you don't want the new Edge automatically installed, you need to download a file from Microsoft (it has a .cmd extension) and run it as administrator:

    EdgeChromium_Blocker.cmd [<machine name optional>] [/B] [/U] [/H]

    /B= block distribution

    /U = unblock distribution

    /H= Displays the following summary help:

    This tool can be used to remotely block or unblock the delivery of

    Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based) through Automatic Updates.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Much ado about nowt

    It's alright, as browsers go, and means those who are forced to use 10s have a decent (and compatible enough) browser for all their needs. As for everyone else, who uses just the one browser these days?

  13. Lost in Cyberspace
    Unhappy

    I like it... but

    I can imagine getting lots of support calls from my novice users.

    Some will dislike change, some will be alarmed by the icon looking different.

    My biggest concerns, though, are the way it will force a change to the default browser, search engine and one little click of the Sync button can 'upgrade' your local account to a Microsoft account without even prompting for a password (if it already has some details saved for you). Great way to get locked out, next time the computer starts up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I like it... but

      That was an annoying thing they did. I ended up having to manually break the link, and telling outlook to use IMAP rather than whatever it defaults to for a Hotmail account.

  14. Nameless Dread

    Life on the edge

    OK, the blocking tool works, it tells me.

    But I had to use an ELEVATED Powershell (admin permissions) so as to dodge the "access denied" refusal.

    Strange that the "help" page from MicroSoft doesn't seem to mention this. (At first sight, anyway.)

    (Just spotted a commenter above mentions use by admin.)

    Any ideas how to Uninstall Edge if it's already in place ?

    It's absent from the "Uninstall or change a program" screen; likewise from the "Windows features" box.

    Reminds me of trying to remove Internet Explorer in the good old days. Only more so.

  15. bonkers

    are my saved password now property of Updates"R"Us??

    Please could someone explain how my supposedly secret password list within Chrome, gets carried across to a MS program?

    I don't really go for the last word in security, but I would like to keep the OS and its ginormous attack surface, away from passwords and away from gmail. Defence in depth is the idea, though maybe it's more like width, in this case.

    The number of updates needed on Windows is witness to the complexity and scale of its attack surface, Chrome is a lot smaller even though it faces the whole internet.

    I can't imagine google hands all my passwords over to MS, so, is it that there is google-controlled and secured chrome in a windowsy shitflake-sprinkled wrapper?

    Why not just use Chrome then?

    Why on earth do MS think that they have some sort of right to even attempt this in the first place?

    Automatically installing security updates is bad enough, when it just chucks your work in the bin. It's worse now you get updates on the whim of some bling-obsessed marketroid, to 'get you there' with the latest shit functionality. For instance a snip tool that puts a lovely fucking red border round your screenscrape - and informs you it won't work for long as it's "moving" ?

    So, erm, does anyone know how this works and who then I need to trust to keep it secure?

    -

    1. Roopee
      Headmaster

      Re: are my saved password now property of Updates"R"Us??

      Maybe now you understand why letting your browser remember your passwords is a really bad idea...

      1. bonkers

        Re: are my saved password now property of Updates"R"Us??

        Well, no...

        I appreciate that it might not be a good idea, but I certainly do not understand the implementation or the mechanisms involved.

        Let me elaborate:

        I had assumed that the passwords are not in some text file that any new browser can pick-up and incorporate.

        The favourites possibly are in just such a file, OK maybe XML, and would be imported only upon my agreement when installing a new browser.

        Chrome has me signed into gmail already, and I presume there is a cryptographic protocol, beyond HTTPs, that allows me to download emails only to Chrome that is signed-in, maybe a session key or something.

        So, this - or better, another key - should be used for passwords also. They are either sent by google (best) or stored in an encrypted file locally (worst), and only decrypted the moment they are to be used. Only then is the clear text available - and possibly visible to the OS, which could be compromised, or to memory-inspecting malware, or malware that intercepts pre-HTTPS command stream.

        These should not be visible to the new browser, to be pasted-in to the relevant fields, other than by following a similar protocol, basically being Chrome in a shiny wrapper.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: are my saved password now property of Updates"R"Us??

      You're complaining about updates yet you use Chrome.

      Interesting.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Since I already had it, that's why it didn't install. Interesting. Already had a taskbar short cut. No desktop short cut, though.

  17. Blackjack Silver badge

    Hiding the version number? Really?

    Doing stuff like that should be forbidden. Users need to know what version of a program they are running for many reasons.

  18. Herby

    IE 10 (or whatever it is today or tomorrow)

    Yes, at work we still run IE because even though it is "obsolete" some of the stuff needs to use it to work. If someone discovers a security thing with IE that is in the "won't fix" (but it isn't a problem in (insert browser here), it might change things.

    Yes, I exist in a "administrated by central" environment which is pretty locked down, and I wish I could get a proper persuasion device activated on the proper people, but I dream...

    1. YoGriz

      Re: IE 10 (or whatever it is today or tomorrow)

      The "new" Chromium Edge has an IE Mode for compatibility with older websites. Perhaps that could make migration from IE more manageable?

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