Microsoft starts Edge-for-Edge swap on Windows 10 PCs

Coming soon to a PC near you: the Chromium-based Edge browser.

edge browser logo microsoft

Microsoft has started to push the Chromium-based Edge browser to Windows 10 users through the Windows Update service, according to company support documents.

"This update will be downloaded and installed automatically from Windows Update," stated one of three support documents, marked KB4541301, KB4541302 and KB4541309.

Those documents spelled out previous updates that were required for the Edge auto-download, the versions of Windows effected by the Edge download-and-install – 1809, 1903, 1909 and the latest 2004 – and what data is supposed to migrate from the old Edge to the new.

Ghacks reported earlier this week on the support documents and their signaling of a start to Edge's automatic downloading.

Systems served by Windows Update will be offered Edge 83, the current version since May 21, when Microsoft restarted the browser's numbering. Microsoft, like Chrome, paused updates for several weeks, from late March to early April, because of the coronavirus pandemic; to make up for lost time, both Chrome and Edge skipped version 82, upgrading from 81 to 83 directly.

The trio of support documents did not lay out whether enterprises will be subjected to the Edge auto-download, but linked to prior pieces Microsoft has posted that do. From those documents, it was clear that Microsoft's original plans, first revealed in January, have not changed.

In summary, Microsoft will:

  • Not auto-download-and-install Edge to PCs running Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Education or Windows 10 Workstation Pro.
  • Not auto-download-and-install Edge to PCs running Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro if that machine is managed by IT. The latter is defined as systems joined to an Active Directory (AD) or Azure Active Directory (AAD) domain, those updated using WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) or WUfB (Windows Update for Business), and those administered using tools like Intune and SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager).
  • Not auto-download-and-install Edge to PCs running Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro which have been excluded using Edge's Blocker Toolkit.

Absent new information from Microsoft, those PCs should be immune from Chromium Edge's auto-deployment.

Meanwhile, legacy Edge goes dark

Simultaneously, Microsoft also announced it has halted development of the legacy version of Edge as of the recently-released Windows 10 May 2020 Update.

"The legacy version of Microsoft Edge is no longer being developed," Microsoft said in a support document last revised May 28. The statement was listed as "announced" in Windows 10 2004, the May 2020 Update which the Redmond, Wash. company released May 27.

The original Edge – the version bundled with Windows 10 at its July 2015 debut and the operating system's long-time default – thus joins Internet Explorer (IE) in the still-around-but-not-evolving category. Microsoft stopped development of IE in 2016, but continues to serve security updates to the browser on Windows 10, 8.1, and 7.

Since January, Microsoft has been clear that the Chromium-based Edge would replace the original, so the development deprecation should not come as a surprise. The act should also be taken as the hint it is, that at some point, likely not long after Chromium-Edge has reached feature parity with the original, the company will do away with the legacy version entirely.

That Edge's days are numbered.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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