Is Microsoft’s Edge Worth the Switch?

If all the discussion about Windows 10 has left you feeling a bit well, on edge, here is another thing to think about – The new Windows 10 browser, ironically named “Edge”.

Did we really need another browser?

Edge is Microsoft’s way of saying that they are terribly sorry for the mess they let Internet Explorer become. Once considered the benchmark for quality in browser technology, Internet Explorer was the undisputed king of Browser Wars in the early days of the web. But through years of complacency, it became highly vulnerable to security issues. Microsoft failed to stay within W3C standards (World Wide Web Consortium, an international organization that develop web standards, headed up by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the internet himself). Eventually the lack of standard-following and the fact that IE supported legacy (old and mostly out of use) code led to its fall from grace. New, more secure players arose like Chrome and Firefox and people finally understood that they could make the choice to leave Internet Explorer.

Too little, too late

Over time Microsoft saw the hole they dug themselves into and wanted out. But the image of an insecure and stodgy browser stuck with IE no matter how they tried to clean up their act.

Redemption…

So it’s understandable that with the coming of Windows10, Microsoft saw a chance to redeem some of the browser market they lost. This is where super-slick Edge comes in. Designed to pretty much be everything its predecessor was not, Edge wants to be a departure from Explorers mis-steps. It sports pumped-up security features and does not support any legacy code, it comes with some fun and quirky highlights baked in, and is lightning-fast.

Edge also has some really neat features like Webnote markup. This is for every person who ever wanted to take his or her Sharpie and circle words or images on websites and documents. Once you capture the image you want, just go ahead and mark up to your heart’s content. An editor’s dream tool! Once it’s marked up the way you want it, it can be stored in your folders or sent in an email.

It also has a cool e-reader tool that allows for distraction-free reading. This view gets rid of side bars and banner ads, and pares down images and fonts. So instead of battling through clutter to read an article, you can read in peace and relative quiet.

Edge also incorporates some extra security features like “sandboxing”. This means that if there is malicious script running on a webpage it won’t be able to harm anything beyond that process.

These are all exciting features especially if you have been living under a rock and using Explorer until now.

…Or not

But what if you are a happy Chrome or Firefox user? Is it worth the switch? Laptop Mag conducted some head-to-head (to-head) tests to see which of the three got the highest performance ratings. Some of the findings were that when it comes to speed and performance, Edge proved to be a drop faster than the competition at loading pages and displaying images. On the other hand, Chrome has the least cluttered interface, giving it high the highest marks for usability and has the most extensions that can be used online or offline, again, adding to its ease-of-use. Edge’s interface is a bit more crowded with some unnecessary buttons goin’ on. Overall, the conclusion was that if you are happy with Chrome, stick with it, it’s not worth the switch.

Creepy Cortana (munch munch munch…)

And in Edge you have to contend with Cortana, Windows 10’s data-hungry digital assistant. Though it can be a lot of fun to ask Cortana questions like “Hey Cortana, will you marry me?” or “Hey Cortana, what’s the national cheese of Norway?”, on the other hand, Cortana is an information-digger, and wants to know everything about you. See our article on Windows 10 and Privacy) She can be disabled if you want to stick with Edge, but then you lose a lot of functionality.

Another point of note is that with Edge you are stuck with Bing as your default search engine.

So just get off the Edge!! (If you want to, that is)

So if the slightly faster loading time isn’t enough to compel you to leave everything you know and love in Chrome (or Firefox, or Opera or …Dolphin?) can’t you just disable Edge and keep your fave?

Ahhh, if only it were so simple. Microsoft has made it pretty tricky to disable Edge but with some effort it can be done.

Begin by going to the start menu. then type and select “Default programs”. Then choose “Set your default programs” which is at the top of the list. A list will come up – scroll through it until you find the name of the browser you want. Then click “Set this program as default.”

That should reset your computer to open the browser you want. So now you know you can pick and choose your browser. The real question is if you’ll choose to upgrade to Windows 10.

Now that’s an entirely other kettle o’ phish….

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