Microsoft started rolling out the new version of its Edge browser to Windows 10 users earlier this year. And late in June, Microsoft started pushing the browser to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 8.1 devices. The new browser doesn’t replace Internet Explorer (IE) in Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. If you want to set Edge to be your default browser, you’ll need to make the change manually. It’s also worth noting that once the new version of Edge gets installed automatically by Windows Update, it isn’t possible to uninstall it.
According to a roadmap that Microsoft set out in January 2020, Edge would initially be rolled out to Windows 10 devices excluding business and education customers. But in a recent blog post, Microsoft says that it is planning to expand the rollout to business and education customers starting 30th July.
Organizations using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or Microsoft Endpoint Manager will be able to block the update. Those using Windows Update or Windows Update for Business (WUfB) can use the Blocker Toolkit to disable automatic delivery of Edge.
For details on using the toolkit, see How to Block Automatic Delivery of Microsoft Edge on Petri.
Microsoft promises sites that work on IE11, supported versions of Google Chrome, and legacy versions of Edge, will continue to work with the new Microsoft Edge. But should organizations face any compatibility issues, FastTrack, a scheme that provides remote specialists to help organizations move to the cloud, can be used free of charge for customers with eligible Microsoft 365 subscriptions.
The announcement comes with an explanation about why Microsoft has chosen to expand the rollout to business and education customers now. According to research by Forrester, most clients are planning to permanently leave 20% – 30% of the workforce remote, up to even 50%. So, the increase in use of personal devices to access business data and resources isn’t a temporary change.
Microsoft thinks that the new version of its Edge browser is better at protecting organizations because it is a modern platform that is updated quickly to enable more responsive defenses against the latest threats. According to the Microsoft Threat Protection Intelligence Team, “the vast majority of the threat landscape [still] falls into typical phishing and identity compromise patterns”. The new Edge includes Microsoft Defender SmartScreen to help warn against sites that contain phishing threats, single sign-on capabilities, and native support for Azure Active Directory (AD) Conditional Access.
Organizations can consolidate on one browser for modern and legacy web applications by using Internet Explorer mode in Edge. IE mode transparently opens tabs containing legacy web apps in Edge but it renders them using the Trident MSHTML engine from IE11. For more detailed information on IE mode, see Microsoft’s website here.
Just like legacy Edge, the new browser also integrates with Windows Defender Application Guard, which provides virtualization-based security (VBS) for hardware isolation. And Password Monitor is a feature coming down the line that alerts users to password breaches.
If you don’t want to wait for Windows Update to push the new Edge to your devices, you can get more information about deploying and managing the update here.