Optimize Microsoft Edge – Here’s how I use it

Microsoft Edge is a pretty decent web browser that comes bundled with the Windows Ten Operating System. There are a number of points that are great about it and some that are not all that great. But you can optimize Microsoft Edge more now (compared to a couple of years back) and make it stand up to the browser giants like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Before you optimize Microsoft Edge

There are a number of reasons why you can actually use Edge instead of any other of your favorite browsers. Several tests have been done to check the claims made by Microsoft in this case. Some of these are as follows –

  • Better battery life – If you are using a portable device, Microsoft Edge gives you far more work time than Google Chrome or Firefox. Microsoft claims to have improved this further with their Anniversary Update. There are independent YouTube videos that shows off the battery tests for different browsers. But the verdict is unambiguous. Google Chrome eats your battery like anything while Opera and Edge are way ahead. So even if you want to stick to any other browser, you know that Edge will get your work done when you are not close to a power port.
  • Speed – This may sound ridiculous. Microsoft Edge’s Javascript engine (Chakra) actually beats the standards set by Google Chrome and other browsers. You can even check out the Chakra code here. Ok. That’s not entirely true. The virgin Chrome still beats Edge. But do we use a virgin Chrome at all? We all use a number of extensions. And in such cases, the speeds go down a lot.
  • Annotate webpages and share them – This is nothing new. Extensions give us similar functionality in any of the major browsers. But Edge gets this done out of the box. Plus, the image can be saved directly to OneNote and shared. However, default sharing options are limited.
  • Clean Reading Mode – This is another feature that exists as extensions for Chrome and Firefox, and by default with Safari. Here again, Edge has got it built in. It works as expected, removing clutter and ads gracefully.
    optimize microsoft edge - clean reading mode
    Most websites will allow you to turn the clean reading mode on – works great for taking prints too

  • Security – This is perhaps the biggest improvement behind the hood. Internet Explorer was notorious for providing the worst possible security. In contrast, Edge is only an App. What this means is that it runs under a separate ecosystem. The lack of ActiveX and other vulnerable plugin support is that chances of your session being hijacked is much lower. Each process works as a form of a sandbox of its own.
  • Cortana and improved Bing Search – Gone are the days when Bing was in itsinfancy. Now things have changed significantly. You may claim that they are only copying Google’s own search result and format. But at the same time, there are some advantages as seen here.
  • Removing bloat – Edge has finally done away with ActiveX, Browser Helper Objects (BHOs), VBScript: JavaScript, and Vector Markup Language. However, better support for JavaScript and Scalable Vector Graphics is in.

Problems you face before you even try to Optimize Edge

All the points above already prove a point. You don’t really need to further optimize Microsoft Edge beyond what the default settings already provide you. However, there are downsides to this as well.

  • The right click button is almost meaningless. As soon as you right click, you understand that the main intention for rolling our Edge was to support mobile devices. That will leave the non mobile user with a bad taste in your mouth.
  • At times Microsoft Edge will appear too minimalistic. This, I admit, is subjective. There are no themes for the browser, no browser specific color schemes.
  • Very limited Extension support – While this has its advantage in not slowing down the browser, it comes at a cost. Functionality extension is affected.

How to further optimize Microsoft Edge, regardless?

There are certain ways you can further extend the functionality of Microsoft Edge. There are more extensions that are already available in the store.

Both of my favorite ones are already available. There are other ways you can improve the usability.

  • Install the extensions that are already available for use. You may not find what you are looking for though.
  • Press F12 while you are using Microsoft Edge. This will add two options to your right click menu – Inspect Element and View Source. When you open them up you will find the familiar interface of the Developer Tools. It looks similar to the one in Google Chrome.

    optimize Microsoft Edge - developer tools
    Enable the Developer tools – its works pretty much like in Chrome
  • Personalize your feed with the options herein. It may be as good as iGoogle was, but it works.

    optimize Microsoft Edge - personalize feed
    optimize Microsoft Edge – personalize feed
  • Enable the Favorites Bar if you have Bookmarks. Edit the text to keep only the icon. This will allow you to save space and put more websites in the bar. This works for other browsers as well.

    optimize Microsoft Edge - turn the favorites on
    Optimize Microsoft Edge – turn the favorites on
  • To compensate for the lack of enough extensions, there are browser bookmarklets that you can use. Here are some of the most popular ones. Let me know if some of these don’t work for you.

It is not the best browser. But then, today there is no such single browser that can claim that title any longer. If you want something light, free of distraction and helps you get things done, Microsoft Edge rises up to the occasion well enough.