Windows 10 includes Microsoft Edge, which replaces Internet Explorer as the default browser. Edge’s interface has been rewritten from scratch, and it sheds Internet Explorer’s old interface and all that clutter.
Expect more from Edge in the future as Microsoft continues adding features to their new browser. In particular, browser extensions will be arriving at some point, making Edge more competitive with Chrome and Firefox.
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Microsoft Edge includes Cortana integration, which only works if you’ve enabled Cortana system-wide first. Be sure to click the Cortana search bar on the Windows taskbar first and provide your name to set Cortana up. You can also check if this feature is enabled by clicking or tapping the menu button in Edge, selecting “View advanced settings” near the bottom of the pane, and ensuring the “Have Cortana assist me in Microsoft Edge” option is enabled.
To use it, just type a question into the location bar at the top of the Edge window or on the New tab page. For example, you could type “weather in [city]”, “how old is [famous person]” or “when is [holiday] [year]”. Cortana offers quick answers to questions.
Sharing Web Pages
The Edge browser has an integrated sharing feature with a Share button on its toolbar. Tapping the Share button will open the system Share panel. You can extend the list here and share to more services by installing the appropriate apps from the Windows Store.
For example, if you want to share on Facebook, install the Facebook app. If you want to share on Twitter, install the Twitter app. This provides you with an easy way of sharing web pages without any browser extensions, just like you would on Android or Apple’s iOS.
You can also tap the title of the page in the Share panel and choose to share a screenshot of the current web page rather than a link to it.
Like some other modern browsers — Apple’s Safari, for example — Edge includes a “reading view” functionality that strips the clutter from articles you find on the web and makes them more easily readable. To activate this, just find an article on the web and click or tap the “reading view” icon in the address bar. The icon looks like a book.
Microsoft Edge includes a reading list feature, too. Use this to save articles you want to read later without cluttering your favorites list. To do this, just click or tap the star icon on the address bar. Select the Reading list heading and add the page to your reading list.
Access your reading list later by clicking or tapping the “hub” button and selecting the Reading List category. You’ll see pages you saved to read later, stored separately from your normal favorite web pages.
Edge includes web page annotation features, which is part of why Edge is branded as a browser built for “doing.” Tap the “Make a Web Note” button — the one between the hub and the share button on the toolbar — to start marking up a web page.
Use the tools to draw on, highlight, erase, add notes, and copy individual parts of a web page. The Save button allows you to save the note to Microsoft OneNote, your favorites, or your reading list. You can also use the Share button to share your marked up note.
Edge still has many of the features you’d expect to find in a modern browser. They should be easy to find now that much of the clutter from Internet Explorer has been stripped way.
- Private Browsing: Open the menu from the toolbar and select New InPrivate window to open a private-browsing mode window. In this mode, your browser history data won’t be saved.
- Pin to Start: Edge allows you to open the menu and select Pin to Start to pin the current web page to the Start menu or Start screen as a tile, allowing you to open it quickly. Clicking or tapping the tile will open the web page in Edge, not its own browser window.
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- Open with Internet Explorer: If you do need to open a web page with Internet Explorer, you can just tap the menu button and select Open with Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is also buried in the All Apps menu under the “Windows Accessories” folder. For example, you may need to do this if you need to use a legacy web app that requires a browser plug-in like Java or Silverlight.
- Dark Theme: Like many other modern Windows 10 apps, Edge includes a dark theme as well as its default light theme. To activate it, open the menu and select “Dark” under “Choose a theme.”
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- Disable Flash: Microsoft Edge includes an integrated Flash Player, just as Google Chrome does. This is the only browser plug-in that works in Microsoft Edge. If you’d like to disable it for security reasons, you can do so by opening the settings menu, tapping View advanced settings, and setting “Use Adobe Flash Player” to “Off.”
- Change Your Default Search Engine: Microsoft Edge uses Bing by default, but you can have it use any search engine you like — as long as that search engine offers an OpenSearch plug-in. Here’s how to change your default search engine in Microsoft Edge.
You’ll find a variety of other ways to customize Edge’s interface in its Settings menu, too. For example, you can enable a Home button to quickly take you back to your preferred home page. You could activate the “Show the favorites bar” setting to get an always-present toolbar for easier access to your favorite web pages.
You can also configure which web pages Edge opens when you launch it, and what exactly appears when you open a New tab page. For example, you can make the New tab page largely blank without the “suggested content.”