Microsoft Edge Improves Performance

Engineers at Microsoft recently announced performance improvements for their Edge browser.  A blog post that the company published recently explained how.

A blog post from the company explained how:

“Beginning with Microsoft Edge 102 on Windows, Microsoft Edge automatically compresses disk caches on devices that meet eligibility checks, to ensure the compression will be beneficial without degrading performance.

This ensures compression of these caches largely improves performance and overall user experience.

One way we can maximize cache usage while minimizing disk usage is by leveraging compression to save disk space for the cached content.  Since the contents in these cache(s) are often highly compressible, compression results in increasing the likelihood that the requested resource can be fetched from the disk.”

In our view, this is a great move.  Many people set up their systems with a large disk cache, allowing their web browser to store vast amounts of information for faster recall later.

The problem is that disk space is not unlimited, and if it’s at a premium on your system, compression neatly solves the problem.  The system can still store vast amounts of web data so it can be recalled more quickly later but until that happens, it saves on space by compressing it.

This change comes on the heels of another that the company rolled out some months ago. That change introduced improvements to the way the Edge browser used memory and CPU power.  In that case, the company “put unused browser tabs to sleep” which resulted in an average reduction of CPU usage of 37 percent while simultaneously reducing memory usage by 32 percent.  Those are solid numbers.

Best of all, the company says they’re still not done.  On deck are improvements to the Edge browser’s security, which will include features that should help to minimize the risk of undiscovered zero-day vulnerabilities from being exploited.

Kudos to Microsoft.  These are excellent changes that greatly improve the browser.

Edge Will Replace Internet Explorer After It Is Gone

It may seem as though Internet Explorer is the browser that will not die, but according to Microsoft, it is now a step closer to breathing its last virtual breath.

Microsoft has struggled in the browser wars for the entire existence of the internet.

They came late to the party. Although they did manage to beat out early dominant browsers like Opera and Netscape Navigator, their Internet Explorer was soon eclipsed by nimbler and better browsers.  The company simply didn’t devote enough resources to the quest in a timely enough fashion to gain an iron grip on the market share.

Eventually, having lost ground to Firefox, Google’s Chrome, and others, the Redmond Giant gave up on Explorer and started from scratch with Edge.

Edge is unquestionably better. However, in the Enterprise ecosystem, several web-based applications had been developed by the time Microsoft decided to retire the browser. Given that, Microsoft continued supporting the code long after they had ceased active development on it.

All things come to an end however, and nearly 27 years after its initial launch, Microsoft has announced the end of support for Internet Explorer on most Windows versions as of June 15th.  So, by the time you read these words, it will be all over for the ancient browser.

Even this isn’t the absolute end.  The company’s new Edge browser has an “Edge IE Mode” which emulates the old Internet Explorer for the purpose of allowing Enterprise customers who haven’t upgraded their Legacy sites and web-based applications to continue using them under the new Edge umbrella.

According to Microsoft, Edge IE Mode will continue to be offered until at least 2029. If you still have Legacy code that hasn’t been updated at that point, all bets are off.  Although few people will actually miss the old browser, its demise does feel a bit like the end of an era.

Microsoft Edge Browser To Get Free Limited VPN

There’s a big change coming to the Microsoft Edge browser.  Big enough that it may prompt some users to switch to Edge.

Recently, Microsoft announced that they’ll be adding a free built-in VPN (Virtual Private Network) service to Edge as part of a long-anticipated security upgrade.  Called “Edge Secure Network,” the Redmond giant is currently testing the new Cloudflare-powered VPN service and says it will be rolling out soon, though no precise timetable was given.

The basic idea here is that it will encrypt a user’s web traffic so that ISPs can’t collect browsing information you’d rather keep private.

The new feature will also allow users to mask their location or make it possible for them to browse the internet using a virtual IP address.  Among other things, this means that users would be able to access content blocked in their countries, like Netflix or Hulu programming. Or in the case of China, which routinely denies access to broad swaths of the internet to their citizens, this could provide a way around those restrictions.

That sounds fantastic but there is one rather large catch to be aware of.  At present, the data limit is set to 1GB per month and users will need to be signed into a Microsoft account so that the company can track usage, which is ironic to say the least.

Microsoft has attempted to downplay this last bit. They’ve been stressing that while Cloudflare will collect support and diagnostic information from those using the service, it will permanently delete that data every 25 hours.

The new feature is still being tested and is currently unavailable to the public. If you join the Microsoft Edge Insider group, you’ll be first in line for a preview when Microsoft is ready for the big unveiling.

Microsoft Edge Gets Overall Performance Boost

If you rely on Microsoft’s Edge browser to surf the web, you’re in luck.  The Redmond Giant has recently made some modifications to the browser’s “sleeping tabs” feature, which improves its overall performance and responsiveness.

The Sleeping Tabs feature began rolling out for edge users running Beta 88 back in December of 2020.

It had the impact of dramatically reducing CPU and memory usage.  This latest change rolling out in Edge 100 will enable pages that are sharing a browsing instance with another page to go to sleep.

It may not sound like it should be very significant. However, the company’s own tests indicate that roughly 8 percent more tabs will be able to put to sleep in this manner which will save you more resources with each additional sleeping tab.

How much more?  Well, that’s an excellent question.  Based on Microsoft’s extensive research into the matter, a sleeping tab saves an average of 85 percent of its normal memory usage and 95 percent of its normal CPU usage. So by idling/putting to sleep as may tabs as possible, the Edge browser winds up saving you incredible amounts of processing power you can use for other things.

If you want to see just how much you’re saving by using the feature, you can simply click “Performance” under the top right menu or enable the “Performance” button to the Microsoft Edge Toolbar. That would give you a quick read out on your savings quickly.

By default, Edge “puts a tab to sleep” after two hours of inactivity but if you like you can change that default time under the browser’s settings

This is a small but significant change.  Speed is life in business and where tech is concerned, speed comes down to making the most efficient use you can of your PC’s resources.  The latest changes to Edge have a role to play in that.  Kudos to Microsoft for a very interesting and very good change indeed.

Microsoft Really Wants People To Use Their Edge Browser

It’s no real secret that Microsoft has never been a big fan of Chrome, FireFox, or any other web browser that it didn’t build.  The company clearly hasn’t gotten over the fact that it lost the browser wars and lost them handily. That’s why it keeps trying periodically to reinvent the wheel offering up new and improved versions first of its “Internet Explorer” browser and more recently of Microsoft Edge.

The latest incarnation of Edge is interesting in that it was built around Chromium. That means under the hood the new Edge and Google’s Chrome browser sport the same basic technology.

Unfortunately, even that hasn’t been enough to keep users from downloading Chrome. Naturally Microsoft wants to do anything that it can in a bid to keep users browsing via the browser that ships with Windows. The company has begun bombarding users with messages when they try to download Google Chrome.

There are a few different prompts a user may see including:

  • “‘I hate saving money,’ said no one ever. Microsoft Edge is the best browser for online shopping.”
  • “That browser is so 2008! Do you know what’s new?  Microsoft Edge.”
  • “Microsoft Edge runs on the same technology as Chrome, with the added trust of Microsoft.”

The new prompts are appearing mostly for Windows 11 users though some Windows 10 users have reported them as well. They aren’t part of any website but rather are generated from inside Microsoft Edge as a kind of “defense mechanism” to guard against being replaced.

This kind of thing verges on being dirty pool and although Google hasn’t issued any kind of formal response you can bet that one will be coming. Google isn’t the kind of company that will take a direct threat to its browser dominance lying down so the months ahead should be interesting indeed.