Microsoft Edge is actually good, way better than the old Internet Explorer — but you wouldn’t think so based on how desperately the company tries to shovel it onto your plate!
It’s the default browser in Windows these days, so it’s the primary way you’d download a different browser onto a new PC. You’d open Microsoft Edge, type the name of your new browser into Microsoft Bing search, and nab Chrome or Firefox or Opera (etc.) that way.
But Microsoft has repeatedly taken advantage of that to redirect you to Edge instead — and some of its Windows Updates have even launched the browser and pinned it to the desktop and taskbar without permission. Windows still doesn’t wholly respect your default browser choices, either.
Basically, Microsoft has used tactics we’d only expect to see from bloatware and spyware developers to promote its web browser, and it stinks.
Here’s an updated list of the dirty tricks Microsoft has played — and the times it’s given up after getting significant pushback.
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Google Chrome download in Microsoft’s Edge web browser? How many times will the company try to steer me away?Read Article >
Microsoft will finally stop forcing Windows 11 users in Europe into Edge if they click a link from the Windows Widgets panel or from search results. The software giant has started testing the changes to Windows 11 in recent test builds of the operating system, but the changes are restricted to countries within the European Economic Area (EEA).Read Article >
“In the European Economic Area (EEA), Windows system components use the default browser to open links,” reads a change note from a Windows 11 test build released to Dev Channel testers last month. I asked Microsoft to comment on the changes and, in particular, why they’re only being applied to EU countries. Microsoft refused to comment.
I thought I had malware on my main Windows 11 machine this weekend. There I was minding my own business in Chrome before tabbing back to a game and wham a pop-up appeared asking me to switch my default search engine to Microsoft Bing in Chrome. Stunningly, Microsoft now thinks it’s ok to shove a pop-up in my face above my apps and games just because I dare to use Chrome instead of Microsoft Edge.Read Article >
This isn’t a normal notification, either. It didn’t appear in the notification center in Windows 11, nor is it connected to the part of Windows 11 that suggests new features to you. It’s quite literally a rogue executable file that has somehow appeared in c:\windows\temp\mubstemp and is digitally signed by Microsoft.
It was time to download Google Chrome on a new Windows 11 computer.Read Article >
I typed “Chrome” into the Microsoft Edge search bar.
Microsoft Edge is a good browser but for some reason Microsoft keeps trying to shove it down everyone’s throat and make it more difficult to use rivals like Chrome or Firefox. Microsoft has now started notifying IT admins that it will force Outlook and Teams to ignore the default web browser on Windows and open links in Microsoft Edge instead.Read Article >
Reddit users have posted messages from the Microsoft 365 admin center that reveal how Microsoft is going to roll out this change. “Web links from Azure Active Directory (AAD) accounts and Microsoft (MSA) accounts in the Outlook for Windows app will open in Microsoft Edge in a single view showing the opened link side-by-side with the email it came from,” reads a message to IT admins from Microsoft.
Microsoft’s Edge can be a great Chromium browser alternative to Google’s Chrome, but the former is displaying some annoying new rivalry antics: advertising Microsoft’s Bing AI chatbot while you’re trying out Google’s Bard AI. As pointed out by developer and Twitter user Vitor de Lucca, a new developer version of Edge will now display a new Bing ad next to the Google Bard URL.Read Article >
When pointing Edge to bard.google.com, a new animated “compare answers with the AI-powered new Bing” slide appears in the upper-right side of Edge’s address bar. Then, the text slides back to the right and leaves behind a Bing icon that seems pretty redundant considering a similar icon is off to the right by default.
Microsoft is promising significant changes to the way Windows manages which apps open certain files by default and how users can select programs to pin to their Start menu on the Windows desktop or on the taskbar.Read Article >
A new Settings deep link URI scheme will let developers send users directly to the right spot in Settings to change which program is the default for particular file or link types.
Oct 18, 2022Microsoft is now forcing its Edge browser on mobile users.
Microsoft has spent the past few years trying to force Windows users into using Edge. It’s now extending that effort to the mobile space where Microsoft can leverage its popular apps. Outlook testers on iOS are now seeing prompts to use Edge when they tap on links in emails. It’s only a test right now, but it’s similar to the prompts found on Windows.
Apr 15, 2022
If you’ve updated your PC from Windows 10 to Windows 11, you may have noticed that when you click on a link for a website, a PDF document, or a variety of other file types, you will now be sent to Microsoft’s Edge browser. In its new version of Windows, Microsoft seems to have become especially aggressive in pushing its own apps over the apps that had been installed as defaults before the upgrade. In other words, Edge suddenly became your default browser.Read Article >
Normally, the first time you go into another browser that is not Edge — say, Google Chrome — the not-Edge browser will ask if you’d like to make it the default instead. However, the process for changing your defaults in Windows 11 has become more complicated than it was in Windows 10. So you may not get that handy request — or if you do, it may land you on a complicated-looking page headed App > Default apps. Either way, here’s how to switch.
Dec 2, 2021
Microsoft has never been a fan of Windows users downloading Chrome instead of using Edge, but the company has now stepped up its campaign to keep people using its built-in browser. Windows 10 and Windows 11 have both started displaying new prompts when people navigate to the Chrome download page, in an effort to discourage people from installing Google’s rival browser.Read Article >
These new prompts, spotted by Neowin, include messages like:
Nov 15, 2021
Microsoft has already made it more difficult to switch default browsers in Windows 11, and now the company is going a step further by blocking apps like EdgeDeflector. Third-party apps like EdgeDeflector and even Firefox have offered workarounds to Microsoft forcing people to use Edge in Start menu search results, even if their default browser is not Edge.Read Article >
Microsoft has been forcing Windows 10 and Windows 11 users into Edge and its Bing search engine in the Start menu search results, and now with the new Widgets panel in Windows 11. It’s a frustrating part of Windows that doesn’t respect your default browser choice. EdgeDeflector lets you bypass these restrictions, and open Start menu search results in your default browser of choice.
Oct 20, 2020
On Saturday, I pointed out how Microsoft force-restarting Windows 10 computers to install unwanted web apps was the latest proof you don’t own your own Windows PC. Today, the company says it was at least partly a mistake — and will be pausing the “migration” that brought web apps to your Start Menu this way.Read Article >
Originally, Microsoft tells The Verge, the idea was that any website you pinned to the Start Menu would launch in Microsoft Edge, and it simply intended to turn those shortcuts into more visible tiles now. But — in what Microsoft is calling a bug — the change also turned its existing Microsoft Office web shortcuts into PWA web apps as well. That’s something you can normally do from inside the Edge browser, but not something that would happen by itself.
Aug 17, 2020
Look, I’m sure that the new Microsoft Edge is a fantastic web browser. I’m looking forward to trying it someday.Read Article >
But Microsoft, I have a piece of advice for you: if so very many Windows users are googling “Can’t uninstall Microsoft Edge” that you feel the need to utterly own that search result by making it the title of your FAQ... maybe just don’t force it on Windows users to begin with?
Jul 2, 2020
If I told you that my entire computer screen just got taken over by a new app that I’d never installed or asked for — it just magically appeared on my desktop, my taskbar, and preempted my next website launch — you’d probably tell me to run a virus scanner and stay away from shady websites, no?Read Article >
But the insanely intrusive app I’m talking about isn’t a piece of ransomware. It’s Microsoft’s new Chromium Edge browser, which the company is now force-feeding users via an automatic update to Windows.
Sep 6, 2018
In early August, the creators of the incredibly popular game Fortnite announced that they would be leaving the Android Play Store. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, decried the “monopoly app store” model that Google had established. A few months before that, the Supreme Court accepted a lawsuit against Apple’s App Store from users who alleged Apple was abusing an iOS monopoly. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has struggled to name a company that competes with Facebook’s services, and there’s a credible argument for breaking it up. The internet today feels increasingly dominated by a few huge platforms, and users are locked in by these companies’ sheer size.Read Article >
These concerns date back to the earliest days of the World Wide Web in the 1990s. At that point, they were playing out against a very different landscape where America was still getting online, and the consequences of having massively powerful platforms weren’t necessarily so obvious. They laid a foundation not only for the rise of modern tech platforms like Google, but for the way we think about regulating these platforms — or have neglected to do so.