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Microsoft Edge browser: step-by-step beginners guide

The Microsoft Edge web browser is a chromium-based cross-platform web browser developed by Microsoft.  It is an alternative to Google chrome which is based on chromium too. It is incorporated in Windows 10 operating system where it replaces the decommissioned Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). According to Wikipedia it was first used in windows 10 in 2015 and later released for other platforms such as IOS and android devices. 

In this guide, we are going to discuss all the major settings for a beginner to confidently use the Microsoft Edge browser. The guide is specifically meant for users of computers and Windows 10 operating systems.

How to download and install  the Microsoft Edge web browser

To install the edge browser you can use an offline installer or you can install directly from the Microsoft Edge website online installer. When using an online installer it will download either 32 or 64bit depending on the type of your computer operating system. For offline installation ensure you download the correct type depending on your system

Installing the Edge browser from the online installer

To install from the online installer use your favorite search engine and search for Microsoft Edge and click on the Microsoft website which redirects to the edge download page. Choose the appropriate device operating system and click on  Download Edge to start the process of downloading and installing.

Downloading Microsoft Edge web page showing different devices

Ensure you have a fast internet connection for fast download. Wait for the edge setup to download, and click on the small .exe file to start the installation. Follow the prompt until full installation.

Install edge using the offline installer

If you intend to install edge later when you don’t depend on the internet you can use edge offline installer. When you open the webpage to download ensure you specify the type of edge you want to download then click on download now. Click on the link below to start downloading.

Full Microsoft Edge browser offline installer download

How to uninstall or delete the Edge web browser

To uninstall edge from Windows 10 open settings and click on Apps and features. You can also access the same from the control panel and then open Programs and Features.  

Scroll until you find Microsoft Edge from among other installed applications. Click on it and select uninstall option to start the uninstallation process. This option is only possible if Edge was not part of the Windows operating system when it was installed.

To delete the Microsoft edge that was incorporated into windows you need to use the command prompt to remove it. You can follow the steps here on how to uninstall edge using the command prompt.

How to Update to the latest version of Microsoft Edge 

When you install from an online installer  Edge will install the latest version of the web browser. However, if you have an old version or you want to check for the latest version you can do an update. To update open the setting and click on About Microsoft Edge. It will open the window below. If the browser is up-to-date it will be indicated otherwise it will prompt you to update.

How to update Edge web browser

After the update, you will need to restart the browser to finish the update.

How to use Microsoft Edge to search or access webpages

When you launch edge for the first time it will ask to be set as the default browser or primary browser. You can set it at that time or later. By default, the homepage of the edge browser is the Microsoft Bing search engine home page.

To search for the content open the browser and add the URL or keyword in the address bar. For keywords, it will use the Bing search engine to return your query.

Using Microsoft Edge in windows 10 to search for information online

Using tabs

A tab is a web browser feature that helps to open more than one web page on the same browser. You can open independent web pages in different tabs. 

Click on the + sign on top of the address bar to open a new tab. 

You can also click on the setting and more in the top right corner to access the new tab

Using tabs in Edge internet browser

Another way is right click on the current tab to access more options on the tab.

Other tab options include

  1. Move tab to another window: it opens another Microsoft edge window and moves the content of that specific tab there.
  2. Add tab to new group: it can be used for group-related tabs.
How to open and use new tabs on M. Edge
  1. Refresh tab: it refreshes the current tab
  2. Duplicate: it opens another tab to the right with the same content
  3. Send page to your device: used to share current tab to be opened in a different synchronized device.
  4. Pin tab: it pins the selected tab to the left side of the browser.
  5. Mute tab: if the web page has a video or audio running in the background it mutes the sound.
  6. Turn on vertical tabs: these features change the tab location from top to vertical left side.
  7. Add all tabs to favorite: feature is used save all tabs to bookmark.
  8. Close tabs: there are 3 options for closing the tab. You can close the current tab and all other tabs except current or all tabs to the right of the current one.

Making changes to Microsoft edge browser settings

Edge has many more settings that users can make to ensure the browser operates at its optimum level. Below we discuss some of the basic settings that you should know.

How to make Edge the default browser

If Microsoft Edge is not set as the default browser every time you open it will prompt you to do so. To make it default click setting and more menu and then click settings. Click on Default browser and you will be presented with the screen below.

How to set Microsoft Edge as default browser on my computer

If it is already set as default it will indicate. Otherwise, click make default which will automatically change. When one browser in your device is set to default all others are removed from default. Only one can be a default internet browser at a time.

Changing the home page in the Microsoft Edge browser

The browser home page is the first page that opens whenever you open the web browser. By default, every internet browser set its company’s main page as the default home page. 

To change the home page in Microsoft Edge.

Click on the settings and more menu and open the settings

Click on Start, home, and new tabs.

You will be presented with the interface below.

Setting homepage on Microsoft web browser

You can set what page opens when Edge start, what appears on the home page, and also new you open the new tab. To have the Home icon shortcut activate “show the home button on the toolbar

How to clear, view and manage the cache and cookies on Microsoft Edge

Cache stores data that is frequently being requested by users on the browser to increase web page loading time. Cookies store user data that can be used to track how the user is using the internet and web pages visited and preferences. By default, many internet browsers save both cookies and cache. 

User can delete or make other settings on how both cookies and cache data is used. Websites can use cookies data to track which pages users visit and for how long among many others details. 

Clearing and setting cache and cookies data on Edge browser

Click open the settings 

On the left slide click on cookies and site permissions.

Click on manage and delete cookies and site data.

Managing cookies and cache data

To clear and manage data to delete click on see all cookies and data site. You will be presented with all cookies data and you can delete one or all data.

Managing Microsoft Edge extensions

Web browser extensions add more functionality to the browser. They are compatible with the specific browsers that they were developed for. Microsoft Edge web store offers many extensions for different categories that you can download and install. 

How to manage installed extensions

Click on the setting and more > Extensions > Manage extensions.  The window below will be presented.

Managing installed extensions and downloading new

You can deactivate any extension, view details, or remove it completely.

For more extensions, you can access the Microsoft Edge store to download more.

Customize Microsoft Edge themes

A theme personalizes how the web browser looks and feels. To access themes on Edge, open the setting and click on appearance

Customizing themes in Microsoft edge internet browser

Click on your preferred theme to make it current. You can also download more from the Microsoft Edge theme store.

How to manage history data on Microsoft Edge

Internet web browsers keep records of all web pages visited in what is called browsing history. This data can be used to access a web page faster in the future.

To access history click settings and more > history. Use the shortcut CTRL+H. The window below will be opened.

managing history data on web browser

You can view the list of all history data which is arranged by date and time click on the open history page

How to clear history on Microsoft Edge

To delete one history record you can right-click on the record and click the delete page. To delete all click on clear browsing data. Select the types of data you like to delete and click clear now.

Clearing browsing history data on Edge

Managing bookmarks Microsoft Edge

Bookmarks save the page that users want to revisit later. They create a keyboard shortcut to the favorite web page for the user. They help access pages faster without the need of typing the URL or search the page on a search engine. Microsoft Edge uses the term favourites for the bookmark.

To access the favourites click on settings and more > favourites >Open favourite page. You can also use the shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+O. It will open the window below.

Opening and managing bookmarks or favourites

How to save favourites on Edge

There are several ways to add or save a favourite in Microsoft edge. To save a new favourite open the preferred web page. Click on the star icon (✰) at the end of the address bar to bookmark the tab. Again you can use the favourite page to add a new page. The shortcut to creating favourite page is CTRL+D.

How to view  favourite web pages

To view and use saved bookmarks, open favourite page and you can access all bookmarked pages. 

How to delete favourites on Microsoft Edge

Bookmarks or favourites can be deleted from the favourite page where you right-click and delete the desired bookmark. To edit the favourite right click on it and click edit. 

How to import and export  favourites

You can move favourites data from one web browser to another. Bookmark import is used to move from another browser to Microsoft Edge, while export moves data from edge to another browser or the device. 

This function can be mostly applicable when you change the default browser and you want to move the bookmark to the current default internet browser. 

Importing favourites or bookmarks

To import favourites you can use HTML files, CSV files, or from other browsers.  While on the favourite page window clicks on more options > import favourite. 

Importing bookmarks and favourites

It opens an option to import favourites and settings from all other installed browsers or any other HTML file. Select the source and click import.

Exporting favourites

If you need to move your current bookmarks from your Microsoft Edge browser to another you can export them and save the file as an HTML file that can be imported later.

Managing downloads in the Microsoft Edge

When you use any browser you may want to download files from different pages and save them to your local drive. By default, files are saved into the download folder in the Windows 10 operating system. To change the default saving folder open the settings then click on downloads. 

How to change download folder on Windows Edge

Click on change to select a different folder to save your downloads. If you want to be selecting a location every time you download activate “Ask me what to do with each download”.

How to use Microsoft Edge, task manager

Edge task manager shows all processes and services that are running on the current browser. Each tab is counted as a separate process. All extensions are also part of the process that can be managed from there. To open the task manager use click on setting and more > more tools > Browser task manager. 

Managing task on Edge web browser

On the task manager page by default, it shows only 4 columns Task, Memory, CPU, Network, and Process ID. You can add more data columns by right click on the window and selecting the extra required column.  You can terminate any process by selecting the process and clicking End process on the bottom right corner of the window.

How to go to Microsoft edge inPrivate mode

Private mode is also called incognito browsing. Microsoft Edge uses the term InPrivate to refer to the same mode. It allows users to browse without saving most of the data such as cookies and history. To open edge InPrivate mode first open edge the normal way then right-click on the taskbar and click on the new InPrivate window

Using InPrivate mode or Incognito mode in Microsoft Edge

You can also open it from the settings and more > new InPrivate window. The shortcut for the InPrivate window is CTRL+SHIFT+N

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