What is Microsoft Edge? The Windows 10 web browser explained

Write onto webpages, read articles without annoying ads and ‘pin’ your way around the web with Pinterest – introducing Microsoft Edge...

27 Jul 2016


Microsoft Edge is the brand new web browser for Windows 10 laptops, tablets and other devices. It has replaced Internet Explorer which has been around since 1995. You can still access Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10. But Microsoft Edge is your default or preferred browser.

 Microsoft Edge

What’s happened to Internet Explorer?

Microsoft stopped supporting older versions of Internet Explorer at the start of 2016. That meant no more security or technical updates for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10.

This leaves you at risk of security threats if you continue to use them. Internet Explorer 11 is still supported but it wasn’t designed specifically for Windows 10 – Edge was.


Edge – made for Windows 10

Edge has lots of cool new features designed to make web browsing better. Windows 10 is designed to be easy and intuitive to use, with features that work across your PC, tablet and smartphone. Edge is no different. It gets the best from Windows 10 – from touchscreen capabilities to the Cortana digital assistant. And it gets even better with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update this August.

Here are 7 things we love about Edge:

1. Write notes directly onto web pages 

This is the headline feature that has everyone talking. You can write notes directly onto your webpage before saving and sharing with friends or colleagues. 

You need a touchscreen Windows 10 laptop or tablet and a digital stylus for the most natural notetaking feel - it will also work with your keyboard.

Use it to:

  • Revise for an exam or research an essay
  • Make notes on an article that relates to your interest – like photography or fitness
  • Show your partner why you should buy this washing machine/TV/cooker
  • To plan your next holiday – ‘this will be us next year’
  • Scrawl notes on recipes such as the right temp for your oven

Edge is the only browser that lets you write directly onto webpages.


2. Faster and easier to search 

Filter out unhelpful results and make searching a breeze with the address bar feature. Type in a subject or word to get search suggestions, a selection of web results and previous searches appear instantly to help you find what you’re looking for. 

Want to know more about a topic you’re reading about? Just ask Cortana – Microsoft’s digital assistant. Simply highlight a word or phrase and either press and hold or right-click, and Cortana will give you more information about it. 

It’s helpful for understanding new words, learning about people and concepts and finding out the location of places.


3. When you talk, it understands

Cortana can even recognise your voice – provided your laptop or PC has a microphone. This makes it a super-easy way to find out information from the web that matters to you.

Ask things like:

  • How many calories are in a boiled egg?
  • What’s the capital city of Brazil?
  • What’s latest Manchester United result?

Simply say, ‘Hey Cortana,’ then ask your question.


4. Pin things to your Pinterest with ‘Pin It’ button  

Pinterest has changed how we plan holidays, decorate our homes, cook and shop for clothes. Pinterest works using the ‘Pin It’ button, which sits at the top of your web browser where you can easily pin things as you browse from site to site without having to open Pinterest itself. The ‘Pin It’ button is finally coming to Windows 10 and Edge.

How? Because Edge can now use web extensions.

With extensions you can add new features to your web browser to do things relating to a certain app, service or site no matter where you are on the web.


5. Read the news or magazine articles undistracted  

It can be hard to concentrate when reading online. Adverts, video and links to other articles surround what you’re reading and can be distracting.

This is cleared up with the Edge browser and reading view. Once loaded, Edge removes anything unnecessary, like adverts, from a webpage – leaving you with a plain text view. You can also change the font style and size to get the view you want.

 Microsoft Edge - reading list

6. Keep everything in one place

For an easy way to access your Favourites, Reading List, History and Downloads – head to the Hub, where Edge stores everything you do online. Organise it your way by manually dragging and dropping folders and bookmarks – much faster than fiddling around with tricky menus.

You can use the Hub on the go too. Anything you add to your Favourites or Reading List will be available on your other Windows 10 devices too. Add a webpage to your list on your smartphone and pick it up on your tablet later – just by signing into your Microsoft account.


7. Finish that Netflix binge with better battery life

So much of what we do online is video-related – from watching YouTube and Netflix to clicking on videos on Instagram and Facebook. Consuming all of that video can be demanding on your laptop’s battery life.

Edge has been improved to help preserve battery life with new power-saving features such as ‘using fewer CPU cycles, consuming less memory, and minimizing the impact of background activity and peripheral content’. Edge ‘lasts 3 hours longer than Google Chrome,’ says Microsoft.


How to upgrade

First things first, you need to have Windows 10 on your machine to use Edge. 

If you’re already using Windows 10, Edge would have been installed when you upgraded – or come preinstalled with your new Windows 10 device.

You might need to make it your default browser to use it all the time, here’s how:

  • On your PC, tablet or smartphone go to Start > Settings > System
  • Choose Default apps, then select Web browser from the list
  • Click or tap on the browser listed as your default, then select Microsoft Edge



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