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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  • Cryio - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    I like the few fluent design elements in Start and Action Center. But why doesn't the Taskbar has it?
    Why are most Win32 application chrome window full solid color, a la W8?
    Why does Edge get so few features when releases are either 6 to 9 months apart? Most other browsers seem to add a lot of features every 4/5 weeks. But not Microsoft.

    Anyway, Edge being faster/efficient/more reliable is a welcome improvement.
    Acrylic is nice.
    People is nice, if useless at the moment.
    Polishing Action Center is nice.
    Mixer improvements are nice.

    Aaaaand I still hate that Skylake on Surface Pro 4 at least limits CPU speed to 800 MHz when watching Youtube videos using Edge.
    Reply
  • StormyParis - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    "The new pattern of a spring and fall (or fall and spring, depending on your location)"

    or Autumn ?
    Reply
  • Zak - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    "anit-cheating" typo? On the "Gaming Updates" page.

    Also, besides bringing back some depth and transparencies there is zero in this update for me. Gaming Mode is something disable first. Leave my games alone Microsoft. Microsoft *does not* get PC gaming.
    Reply
  • Bixx - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    You forgot the "feature" where many people's start menu won't work anymore or is missing most items. Over 400 people on the MS forum have this problem (which mean many more "out there" surely do too), yet MS hasn't even acknowledged the problem). Reply
  • Gunbuster - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Or as I like to call it the creators update update.

    Someone at Microsoft now runs a team devoted to creating updates for creators update update.
    Reply
  • jgeis - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    It's probably worth mentioning that there's a problem with clean installs of Windows 10 Fall Creator's Update (1709) where opening Edge browser causes the State Repository Service process to spike your CPU to 100% and essentially locks up the PC. You can get around this by installing another browser off a USB stick, but it's really annoying on a fresh build. Some other actions also seem to trigger it, as well. Reply
  • B3an - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    You never go in to enough detail for these updates. Your articles always miss out loads of new stuff and changes. The only reason i visit this site is for in-depth articles, not "The Verge" level crap, minus the SJW shit. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    B3an, was there something in particular you were looking for that you didn't see? We're still trying to figure out the right level of depth for these Windows updates, especially since they're not wholly new OSes, and a lot of feature information is published ahead of time.

    (None the less, this was still 6K word, 10 page article)
    Reply
  • SkyDiver - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    How sad all of this is. The horror story continues ever since Win8. It still looks flat and dead. So many things wrong with this "operating system." Reply
  • Lolimaster - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Isn't it funny all this "for the user" naming MSFT uses for Windows Spyware 10, each "fancy name" iteration breaks 5 more thing than the one it fixes.

    Windows 10 Fallen to the crapper edition.
    Reply

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