Edge Updates

It wouldn’t be an update to Windows 10 without some new features and fixes in the Edge browser, and with the Fall Creators Update, Edge now gets bumped to EdgeHTML 16. It’s a bit disappointing that Edge is still tied to the operating system update schedule, but with the biannual release schedule now locked in, it’s a better situation. As a new browser, Edge launched with Windows 10 in a state that was somewhat sparse, to say the least, but has gotten successively better with every update.

Some of the reasons Edge gets tied to Windows itself is that Edge tends to take advantage of new features coming to the OS, which they would not be able to test and implement outside of the current Windows Insider Program. For example, Edge has already gained some support of Fluent Design, with some acrylic on the tab bar. It’s subtle, but looks nice.

There’s still a lot of features that existed in Internet Explorer that have yet to make their way over to Edge, but they are slowly checking all the boxes. With the FCU, you can finally pin a website to the taskbar, and it gets the webpage icon, as it should. The only missing feature here is a way to customize it opening in a new window, or in a tab in the currently open window, since it’s locked into the latter only. That might not always be what a user would want, especially when heavily using web apps like mail.

One very nice feature that has arrived is the ability to annotate PDFs and e-books right in Edge. Edge is the default PDF viewer in Windows 10, and the ability to now sign and mark up PDFs right in the browser will be welcome to many. There’s always third-party utilities for this, but it’s nice to have the feature built-in. You can of course mark up with Windows Ink as well.

As part of the push to accessibility, Edge will now tap into the Windows Narrator to read websites aloud, just by right clicking the page and choosing “Read aloud”. This works for e-books and PDFs as well, and because it uses the built-in tools, you can easily adjust the voices or add new ones if necessary. You can quickly adjust the speed, or pause the reading, right in the browser window.

For those that miss the ability to browse in full screen, Edge 16 adds that feature back, which can be accessed with F11.

Another small change is the ability to edit the URLs for favorites. Yay.

One nice new feature is the ability to manage website permissions, right from the address bar. Clicking on the TLS lock, or the i icon if the site doesn’t have TLS, and you can see and adjust what permissions, such as webcam, location, or notifications, that the site has access to based on your previous responses. You can also view all website permissions under advanced settings.

One thing you still can’t do is actually view the site certificate. The information provided by Edge is very basic, with no option to open the certificate in the more advanced Windows certificate tools to check the trust chain, and more. This seems like an obvious requirement, but is still lacking.

Edge 16 has also added preview support for Service Workers, which are the prelude to Progressive Web Apps on Windows. Going to about:flags allows you to enable this to test PWAs on Edge, in preparation for full support coming in the next update.

For me, Edge is still my go-to browser mostly because of the fantastic job it does rendering text, especially on high DPI displays, but several years on, it’s still missing some very basic functionality, such as the ability to copy the link of an image, but the dev tools have continued to improve with every release. For some tasks, I still have to fall back to Chrome, but you can pretty comfortably use Edge as your daily browser now, which certainly wasn’t the case when it first launched. I look forward to seeing more feature updates coming, with the knowledge that they are chasing a moving target.

Interaction Updates: Accessibility and more Windows Mixed Reality
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  • ddrіver - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    Oh, and don't get me started on the whole "other big OS makers collect everything about you at all times" or "other big OS makers don't bother to push hardware vendors to support phone hardware more than 2-3 years so you only get 1 or 2 years of major updates". M$ is the real problem here. Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    @ddriver: "Oh, and don't get me started on the whole "other big OS makers collect everything about you at all times" or "other big OS makers don't bother to push hardware vendors to support phone hardware more than 2-3 years so you only get 1 or 2 years of major updates"."

    You want me to brush aside grievances from other vendors to make Microsoft look worse by lack of comparison? I REFUSE!!! Phones and tablets may be consumption devices that you are better off leaving anything sensitive far away from, but they've been pushed as computer replacements, they've been developed for as computer replacements, and much of the market uses them as computer replacements. People email on their phones, send sensitive messages on their phones, use their phones to facilitate payments, and even bank on their phones. You can either call out people for doing things the are not educated enough to know they shouldn't do on their phones, or you can call out the vendors for creating and environment designed to cater to these practices while siphoning data in the background. Not everyone can be a security expert and the average consumer has a difficult enough time with malicious entities sending bad emails, texts, and links through their messenger/social app of choice. They shouldn't have to consider companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple as malicious entities.

    @ddriver: "M$ is the real problem here."

    No. If Microsoft fixed everything, it would not affect the issues you stated above with other vendors. Microsoft's actions are problematic for sure and they should not be excused just because vendor X, Y, and Z are worse. However, Microsoft's actions are a symptom of a larger problem created by the anti-privacy features built into iOS and Android devices when smartphones were rising in popularity and perpetuated by the lack of concern over these privacy invading features by the worldwide market. If enough people wholesale dropped these platforms (read: Significant loss of profits) for a less invasive platform despite the extra costs and inconveniences involved, then they would fix some of these problems. Unfortunately, not enough people seem to care.
    Reply
  • cwolf78 - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Funny how there are a ton of comparison benchmarks including on this very site that completely refute your anecdotal claims. Reply
  • Mo3tasm - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    You can benchmark how you want, but the "perceived" difference can't be benchmarked. Reply
  • mr_tawan - Saturday, November 11, 2017 - link

    perception sometime is truth, some other time is illusion. Reply
  • "Bullwinkle J Moose" - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    "slower than Win7 or even Win8.1"
    ----------------------------------------------
    That depends.....
    Bootup and shutdown speed is markedly faster but doing anything with your data is markedly slower
    Reply
  • "Bullwinkle J Moose" - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    I just again tested Windows 8.1 boot time at 14 seconds (that is normal)
    Win 10 Full Crapper Edition booted to the same PC with the same SSD in 5.3 seconds
    Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Who cares about boot up speed, I boot up once every few months. Even a regular user doesn't boot up nowhere nearly enough to make a difference, when it craps over your entire usage. Reply
  • "Bullwinkle J Moose" - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Regular users, sure, but I measure it and care because I have been known to boot several different operating systems from this machine in a single day

    BIOS is set so that there is no primary boot device, which means that I can swap drives (or thumb drives) while the computer is rebooting and it will boot to whatever is currently plugged in instead of fumbling in the BIOS to change the boot order

    Makes testing something new quick and easy, whether its in XP, Linux, Win 7, Win 8 or any Edition of Spyware Platform 10
    Reply
  • "Bullwinkle J Moose" - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    I also keep all the bootable SSD's on an external SATA to ESATA+USB Power cable so when I switch from SSD to thumb drive during a reboot, all I need to do is unplug the USB power to the SSD boot drive and plug in a thumb drive during reboot Reply

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