The first Edge Dev build of the year is based on Chromium 81

The holiday season is now behind us, and that means development teams are now back to work at the usual pace. As such, it's time for the weekly builds of the Chromium-based Edge browser to make a return to the Dev channel. Build 81.0.381.0 is rolling out now, and as you can probably tell from the build number, it's the first release to be based on version 81 of the Chromium project.

The team says it hasn't been completely idle during the holidays, and favorites syncing, which had temporarily been disabled due to some issues, has been re-enabled over the past couple of weeks. That means you should now be able to add favorites without any issues.

Aside from that, the latest build is one of the bigger ones we've seen recently, introducing a few new features. These include suggesting corrected URLs when the user incorrectly types an address that doesn't lead to an existing webpage, for example.

  • Added a feature to suggest URLs to visit that are similar to typed URLs that result in a failed navigation due to the fact that no webpage at the typed URL exists.
  • Added a keyboard shortcut for starting Read Aloud (ctrl + shift + U).
  • Added the ability to paste multiple items into a Collection at the same time.
  • Added a dialog to tell users when a new data type is available to sync.
  • Added support for Guided Switch to suggest going back to a personal profile when visiting links to certain non-work or school resources in a work or school profile.
  • Added support for the Chromium management policy to disable web payment APIs in webpages.
  • Added a management policy for disabling Microsoft Search for Business.

Of course, the release also comes with a long list of fixes for reliability and behavior. Here's what's been fixed for reliability:

  • Fixed a crash when syncing favorites.
  • Fixed an issue where favorites that are synced between multiple machines sometimes get deleted from one machine when they’re edited on another.
  • Fixed a crash when syncing Collections.
  • Fixed a crash when sync is enabled.
  • Fixed a crash when syncing with Edge mobile.
  • Fixed a crash when clearing browsing data.
  • Fixed an issue where Collections don’t sync properly.
  • Fixed a crash when importing certain data from other browsers.
  • Fixed an issue where Edge fails to install due to a crash in the installer.
  • Fixed an issue where uninstalling Edge and re-installing the same channel with a lower version number causes Edge to no longer launch.
  • Fixed an issue where enabling Tracking Prevention prevents some pages from ever loading, regardless of the level Tracking Prevention is set at.
  • Fixed an issue where certain videos don’t load when Tracking Prevention is enabled.
  • Fixed an issue where Tracking Prevention prevented users from logging into certain websites.
  • Fixed an issue where navigation in new tabs sometimes fails, either showing an error that the connection is closed or crashing the tab, but subsequent navigations are sometimes okay.
  • Fixed an issue where typing in the address bar sometimes causes a crash.
  • Fixed an issue where Edge is no longer able to launch after uninstalling and reinstalling it.
  • Fixed a crash for users who have certain anti-virus programs installed.
  • Fixed an issue where Amazon Music fails to play.
  • Fixed an issue where sharing a local file (for example, a PDF that’s been downloaded onto the machine) fails.
  • Fixed a crash during shutdown.
  • Fixed an issue where the policy to enable/disable printing headers and footers doesn’t work.
  • Improved the reliability of installation.

And here's the list of behavior fixes:

  • Fixed an issue where downloading files in IE mode tabs sometimes prevents the browser from being closed even after the downloads are completed.
  • Fixed an issue where the user can’t remove pages from the list of pages to open when the browser first starts.
  • Fixed an issue where removing a search provider in Settings sometimes results in the inability to add that same search provider again.
  • Fixed an issue where the second page of the print preview dialog doesn’t render properly.
  • Fixed an issue where unselecting categories to be synced during the First Run Experience sometimes results in those data types still being synced.
  • Fixed an issue where the Office New Tab Page is broken.
  • Fixed an issue where creating a new Collection sometimes fails.
  • Fixed an issue where some images can’t be dragged and dropped into a Collection.
  • Fixed an issue where using Collections sometimes causes error reporting dialogs to appear.
  • Fixed an issue where certain suggested sites in the Pinning Wizard don’t get pinned to the taskbar.
  • Fixed an issue where the toggle to sync open tabs isn’t functional.
  • Fixed an issue where login details appear as autocomplete candidates for text fields that aren’t used for logging in.
  • Fixed an issue where signing into the browser sometimes fails to properly set the profile picture.
  • Fixed an issue on Mac where websites installed as apps don’t open and instead show an error if Edge isn’t already running.
  • Fixed an issue on Mac where the update page spins forever or eventually shows an error after a successful update.
  • Improved how much content is blocked by SmartScreen’s dangerous content blocker.
  • Fixed an issue where highlighting text in the address bar then clicking on webpages sometimes causes black-on-dark text when the browser is in Dark Theme.
  • Fixed some graphical flickering when switching between IE mode tabs and non-IE mode tabs.
  • Fixed a white flash when entering Reading View.
  • Improved the PDF reader’s background area color in Dark Theme.
  • Fixed an issue where Application Guard windows sometimes don’t use the proper theme.
  • Improved performance when opening Application Guard windows for the first time.
  • Changed the name of the window that appears when you hover over a running instance of Edge on the Task Bar to only be the name of the active tab in that window instead of also containing the name of the profile and browser.
  • Changed the behavior of “deprecated” management policies to still apply properly, which differs from Chrome’s definition of “not supported” policies. Both “not supported” in Chrome and “obsolete” in Edge are policies which are no longer supported and just show an error instead of being applied.

Despite the lengthy lists of improvements, this release isn't without its known issues. However, it's a relatively short list this week:

  • After an initial fix for it recently, some users are still experiencing Edge windows becoming all black. UI popups like menus are not affected and opening the Browser Task Manager (keyboard shortcut is shift + esc) and killing the GPU process fixes it.
  • Some users are still not seeing Collections being enabled by default on Canary and Dev. For users who want to try Collections, enabling the flag at edge://flags/#edge-collections should still work to turn on the feature.
  • There are some issues where users with multiple audio output devices sometimes don’t get any sound from Edge. In one case, Edge becomes muted in the Windows Volume Mixer and unmuting it fixes it. In another, restarting the browser fixes it.
  • At certain zoom levels, there is a noticeable line between the browser UI and the web contents.

Microsoft is preparing to release the new Microsoft Edge to the general public on January 15, so the Beta channel should be jumping to Chromium 80 sometime soon, too. The initial public release will be based on Chromium 79, and it will be missing a few key features.

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