Microsoft plans to roll out Edge via a Windows Update on January 15. We’ve had a great time playing around with it since the Chromium version of the browser debuted in April, and we’ll probably have even more to say before its official release next month. But it’s also OK to not want another browser on your desktop or laptop—unfortunately, you don’t get much of a choice in the matter.
We think it’s important for you to decide what gets pushed onto your system. A Windows update is one thing; dumping an extra browser onto your system is another. And who knows how pushy Edge might be once it’s on your system. Will you have to go back and set your favourite browser as your default? Will you get annoying reminders that Edge offers a superior experience and you should really switch to it and please please give it a try maybe?
If you know that you aren’t going to use Edge at all when Microsoft auto-installs it onto your system, you can block Windows Update from doing that. It’s easy. Visit this Microsoft website and download the Blocker Toolkit. Run the executable, which will unpack a .CMD file (and two others) wherever you want. Then, open up an administrative Command Prompt (right-click when you search for it via the Start menu and select “Run as Administrator”), and navigate to the folder where that .CMD file lives.
Once there, run it by entering “EdgeChromium_Blocker.cmd” into the Command Prompt. You’ll then see which flags you can use to block and unblock the automatic installation. If you’d rather just skip right to that, then type “EdgeChromium_Blocker.cmd /b” to prevent Windows Update from installing Edge on your system, and use the “/u” flag if you want to reverse course.
It’s important to note that this doesn’t prevent you from installing Microsoft Edge if you want to play around with it. This only keeps Microsoft from installing it for you via Windows Update. You can still run Windows Update as normal to get all your latest system fixes and driver updates, you just won’t get Edge in January if you’ve set the flag to block the installation.
If you’re already a big Edge user—the regular browser, not the newer Chromium-based version—it’s worth knowing what’s going to happen when this new update replaces your current browser in January. According to Microsoft, here’s what that means:
All start menu pins, tiles, and shortcuts for the current version of Microsoft Edge will migrate to the next version of Microsoft Edge.
All taskbar pins and shortcuts for the current version of Microsoft Edge will migrate to the next version of Microsoft Edge.
The next version of Microsoft Edge will be pinned to the taskbar. If the current version of Microsoft Edge is already pinned, it will be replaced.
The next version of Microsoft Edge will add a shortcut to the desktop. If the current version of Microsoft Edge already has a shortcut, it will be replaced.
Most protocols that Microsoft Edge handles by default will be migrated to the next version of Microsoft Edge.
Current Microsoft Edge will be hidden from all UX surfaces in the OS, including settings, all apps, and any file or protocol support dialogs.
All attempts to launch the current version of Microsoft Edge will redirect to the next version of Microsoft Edge.
If you really, really want to keep using the old and new versions of Microsoft Edge, you can do that, too, with a little advanced planning. Unless this is mission-critical, I recommend taking the plunge. Let Chromium Edge be your new Edge. Don’t hold back.