How to Set Up Microsoft Edge, the Default Browser in Windows 10

Microsoft’s new Internet browser is called Edge. Known previously as Project Spartan, the name change allows Microsoft to keep the iconic E known from Internet Explorer and maintain the brand value.

Edge made its first appearance on the Windows 10 Insider Preview 10158 very recently and will come pre-installed with Windows 10. Wondering what’s new, how you can transfer your Intenet Explorer favorites and bookmarks, or customize settings? We’ll show you.

Edge Logo

Note that if you’ve been using Spartan and are upgrading to an Insider Preview with Edge, you need to back up favorites, cookies, history, and Reading list items saved in Spartan as they won’t be migrated to Edge. Microsoft instructs to…

  • Copy your favorites from:
    %localappdata%/Packages/Microsoft.Windows.Spartan_cw5n1h2txyewy/AC/Spartan/User/Default/Favorites
  • Save them to %userprofile%\Favorites.
  • After upgrading to the next build, open Microsoft Edge, choose Settings, and you’ll see an option to Import favorites from another browser. Choose Internet Explorer to import the favorites you saved in your %userprofile% directory into Microsoft Edge.

Why Switch to Edge?

Microsoft Edge is a sleek and snappy browser that supports HTML5 and parts with outdated technologies, like ActiveX and Silverlight. It will replace Internet Explorer, although legacy sites that depend on unsupported technologies can still be viewed in IE 11 on Windows 10.

Edge promises to be faster, more reliable, and modern than Internet Explorer. At this point, though, we can’t seriously recommend you to switch, unless you prefer a barebones browser with a minimum of features. In that case, Edge should be your first choice.

Import Favorites / Bookmarks

When you upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1, most of your software will be migrated, including your browsers. Favorites from Internet Explorer and bookmarks from Chrome or Firefox will be easy to import into Edge.

Click the three-point menu item in the top right, then go to Settings > Import favorites from another browser, select the browser you’d like to import from, and click Import. If you use multiple Chrome profiles, only the bookmarks from your main profile will be imported.

Edge Import Favorites

Within the menu shown above, you can also turn on or off the favorites bar .

If you choose to do a fresh installation or get a new device with Windows 10 pre-installed, you can export your bookmarks from your old browser into a HTML file, import them into the same browser on Windows 10, and then go through the above procedure. With Internet Explorer, copy your favorites folder to the favorites folder on Windows 10.

In the Insider Preview Build 10158, Edge favorites are stored here:

C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_xxx\AC\MicrosoftEdge\User\Default\Favorites

We have been unable to manually add new bookmarks through this folder. While you can delete entries from the folder, which will subsequently disappear in Edge, entries you add won’t show up. Edge does not offer an option to manually import an HTML file with bookmarks. We expect Edge to take over the main Favorites folder by the time Windows 10 is released and maybe that bug will be fixed by then.

Set Custom Home or Start Page/s

Internet Explorer can launch with more than one Home page opened and Microsoft Edge offers the same feature.

Return to the Settings menu and under Open with select your preference of Sart page, New tab page, Previous pages, or A specific page or pages. When you go with the last option and select Custom, you can add multiple pages that will launch ever time you open Edge.

Edge Start Pages

Customize Your Top Sites

Like in Chrome and Firefox, you can populate the New tab page with content.

Edge New Tab

Under Settings > Open new tabs with, you can either select to show A blank page, or your Top sites, or Top sites and suggested content. Those same settings can be made directly from the Customise menu, except that “suggested content” is called “my news feed.”

Edge Customise Tab Page

You can remove pages from the list of Top sites, but even under Customise you cannot manually add new ones, unless you visit them often.

Add a Home Button

By default, Edge does not come with a home button. This feature can be turned on via Settings > View advanced settings (button at the bottom) > Show the home button. The site entered below the button will be associated with the button.

Edge Home Button

You can see the home button in screenshots above and below.

Change Default Search Engine

Edge’s default search engine is of course Bing. Under Advanced settings you can choose a different search engine to Search in the address bar with. When we selected the <Add new> option, we could only select Wikipedia.org.

Edge Default Search Engine

Microsoft explains that “Only search providers who support the OpenSearch standard will appear in this list.” New options show up as you visit search engines that support the OpenSearch standard, such as DuckDuckGo, GitHub, or Wikipedia. Apparently, this doesn’t include Google.

As mentioned in a previous post, you should enable the Send Do Not Track requests feature under Advanced settings, which is turned off by default.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can help you browse more efficiently. The following ones are supported by Microsoft Edge:

CTRL + / supposedly accesses the Omni bar, but we couldn’t reproduce this.

CTRL + Enter completes a website address with http:// and .COM if you only type the name, e.g. MakeUseOf.

SHIFT + Enter adds .NETand…

CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER completes a .ORG address.

CTRL + 1 jumps to the first tab, CTRL + 2 to the second, and so on.

CTRL + G opens your Reading List.

CTRL + H opens the History.

CTRL + I opens your Favorites.

CTRL + D will let you add a new favorite.

Edge Bookmark

CTRL + J opens your Downloads.

CTRL + K will clone the current tab.

CTRL + T opens a new tab.

CTRL + N opens a new window.

And many of the other shortcuts are exactly what you know from other browsers.

More Features Coming Soon

Eventually, Edge will contain a sync feature similar to Chrome and Firefox, which will back up bookmarks, passwords, history, and tabs to (we suppose) your OneDrive account.

At this point, Edge doesn’t support extensions. Developers will be able to port Chrome extensions to Edge with only minor tweaks.

These features are expected to be introduced after the official release of Windows 10, although we might see one or the other on launch day. Microsoft is keeping us on edge.

What do you think about Microsoft Edge? Is it a good progression from Internet Explorer and can it compete with the likes of Chrome and Firefox? Will you try it?