The brilliant new Microsoft Edge is in town! Forget everything you thought you knew about Microsoft web browsers, for the revamped Chromium-based Edge is a refreshing revelation!
There is plenty of cause to celebrate this latest arrival.
Yet at the same time, the default settings of Microsoft’s newest creation could use a little tweaking. You might want to be rid of annoying notification prompts, customize the new tab page to your liking, and block trackers that follow you everywhere.
Time to learn how you can take control of the new Edge browser.
Tinkering with the new Edge
Downloading and installing the new Edge from its official site is a smooth and easy process, but now comes the interesting part. That of setting up your new browser by customizing its settings, and turning off annoyances to make the browsing experience your own.
Here are 11 smartest ways to make the most of Edge:
Enable dark mode in Edge
Edge offers a choice of three themes, Light, Dark and System Default. You can switch between them by going to Settings and selecting Appearance on the left. Click the dropdown menu next to the theme and make your selection. The change will be made instantly.
That said, activating dark mode just changes the color of the browser UI, and does not really affect the web pages you visit. That’s because few websites actually obey the settings on your browser.
To force Edge into display web content in dark shades, type edge://flags in the address bar, and search for dark in the box. Enable the option for Force Dark Mode for Web Contents and restart.
Sync your data across devices
Edge can sync your history, bookmarks, passwords, and other browser data across all your signed-in devices. You need to sign in with either a Microsoft account or an Azure Active Directory account to unlock the Sync settings.
You can customize these settings by clicking your profile picture in the upper right corner of the browser window and clicking Manage Profile Settings > Sync.
Add user profiles
The new Edge makes it really effortless to add user profiles. This is a great way to keep some of your browsing activities separate from others. You can add as many profiles as you like, and choose to connect it to an online account, even use it without signing in.
To manage your user profiles, simply go to Settings, and add one to get started.
Modern websites love the idea of pushing notifications through the browser. Edge prompts you to allow or block these notifications the first time you visit these sites. And it then remembers that choice. To change things around, open the Site permissions page in Edge Setting, and click on Notifications.
Manage saved passwords
Edge comes with a capable and secure password manager, with syncing capabilities. Simply fire up the Settings panel and go to Passwords. You can not only see your saved passwords here, but also modify the options to save passwords or sign in automatically.
Set up download locations
Edge saves all files by default to the Downloads folder in your user profile. But thankfully you can easily choose a different folder. To do that, select Downloads from the left side of the Settings panel, and make your choice of the folder you prefer.
It’s also possible to set up Edge to ask where to save each file before downloading here.
Pick your search engine
No surprises for guessing which search engine the new Microsoft browser comes with as default. Bing handles all search requests and suggestions when you enter a search term in the address bar. But if you prefer to use a different search engine, you can specify it.
Open Edge Settings, then go to Privacy and Services. Then scroll to the very bottom of the tab and click on the arrow to the right of the Address Bar heading. You can use any of the predefined search engines like Google, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo here.
Click on Manage Search Engines to add a custom option here, if you want.
Customize the New Tab page
If you like to keep things neat and tidy on your New Tab page, then you have plenty of options. Microsoft likes to play a little aggressive here and the default arrangement displays links to the company’s own portals and services.
But it’s not too hard to change these to Focused, Inspiration, or Informational, with each choice unique in what content gets shown. There is also a fourth option that hides everything but the search box.
Install extension from the Chrome Web Store
One of the many complaints about the original Microsoft Edge was the lack of addons. In this new version, you can not only download extensions from the Microsoft Store, but also have the option of installing any extension from the Chrome Web Store.
Before you can install extensions from other sources, you will have to configure Edge to allow it. This can be done by going to Extensions from the right-hand menu, and flipping on the switch in the lower left corner that says Allow extensions from other stores.
After that is done, you can install extensions from anywhere you want.
Block tracker and third-party ads
One of the more important additions in this new Chromium powered Edge is its support for the very handy Tracking prevention feature that blocks most third-party trackers from sites that you have not visited, as well as known harmful tracker.
Go to Settings > Privacy and Services to modify these settings.
Occasionally, you may find a site breaks when you have defined stricter tracking prevention settings. In this instance, the quickest way to troubleshoot this problem is to click the padlock icon in the address bar and turning the tracking prevention switch to off.
Tune your default browser choice
When you install Edge, you are prompted to make it your default web browser. However, if you change your mind afterward, it is simple enough to change your settings. Go to Settings > Apps > Default Apps, and then modify the name under the Web browser heading.
While the launch of a new or updated browser from Microsoft has often been a non-event, this time things are different. The company seems to have finally got it right, creating a browser that is not just fast and secure, but also open source and packed with useful features.
It takes a bit of an effort to customize this new browser to your absolute liking, but it’s well worth it.