If you’re like me, when you’re really busy there’s nothing sweeter than a fast, light-weight, full-featured web browser to help you get things done. For me, Google Chrome used to be that browser. However, recently a client and I were talking about planning out some technology changes in their environment, and the subject of Microsoft’s Edge Browser came up because it’s part of Windows 10.
Since it had been quite a while since I’d even bothered to look at Edge browser I thought I’d have another look. The last time I bothered looking at it, Edge clearly had a ways to go. At that time it was very limited and at times down-right non-functional, so I stopped using it and went back to what I was most accustomed to. Over the course of the next three hours as we exchange messages I was putting Edge through it’s paces. As I was doing that I started a pros and cons list. At the end of those three hours I realized I had far more pros than I can cons. To my surprise and mild embarrassment, Edge had out performed my favorite web browser in site rendering speed, and application start up speed by quite a good margin. I was beginning to be pretty impressed. So, I decided I’d give an honest go and imported my bookmarks from Chrome into Edge. After a few days of use – sometimes heavy use having many tabs open in several browser windows – I checked the memory usage on the system for Edge. I found that while both Edge and Chrome had been opened on the desktop for the same amount of time and only one Chrome window with a few tabs open, Edge was using far less system resources than Chrome was. I was stunned!
Both Chrome and Firefox start faster and are ready to use sooner than Internet Explorer. All three of these browsers tend to leak; Firefox being the worst. I should mention that the latest edition of Mozilla Firefox is a much better build, faster and very responsive, but it still leaks. But Edge was essentially using the same amount of system resources as it had been a few days before. About 23MB of RAM with low disk usage. One thing I did find mildly annoying was how the bookmarks behaved. If keep your bookmarks organized in folders and are using the bookmarks bar in the browser, as soon as you clicked on the folder to open it the bookmarks opened up on the other side of the browser from the Hub and you’d have to navigate to the desired bookmark.
However, after the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (Version 1709) this has apparently been fixed and now bookmarks behave normally as one would expect when accessing them from the bookmarks bar at the top of the browser window.
When I first looked at Edge after the Windows 10 official release it left me very unimpressed and flat. It was clearly under-developed and seriously lacking in both features and functionality. All that has thankfully changed. I’m still using it most of the time since it is so light-weight; much more so than Chrome, Firefox and of course Internet Explorer. Still, there are a few things I’d like to see change.
- There are precious few methods to manage this browser via Windows Server Domain group policies unlike Internet Explorer or even Google Chrome. hopefully this will change as time goes on… hopefully soon!
- Edge browser doesn’t use the favorites folder that can be redirected back to the server for a users’ profile, so that a domain users’ favorites get backed up with the rest of the server. Even on a home user’s system Internet Explorer’s favorites must be imported into Edge because it completely ignores the favorites folder. Rather it creates it’s own set of favorites in a rather strange place and way. They’re squirreled away in a – I believe – seemingly obfuscated folder structure used by apps from the Windows Store/Windows 10 apps.
- If Edge browser breaks, as it used to do a lot before, you had/have to re-initialize the Windows 10 programs with a lengthy powershell command.
I know… everyone has their favorite browser to view the web and I’m not advocating that everyone should jump on the bandwagon and start using Edge exclusively. All I’m saying is that it has vastly improved since it’s release and is actually a useful tool now. It is slated to replace Internet Explorer. One can certainly hope!
But wait! there’s more… (Edge Browser and Dashlane Password Manager – coming soon)
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