Hands-On with the Updated Microsoft Edge Browser in Windows 10 RS5 Build 17704 - Kogonuso


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Jun 28, 2018

Hands-On with the Updated Microsoft Edge Browser in Windows 10 RS5 Build 17704

Microsoft further refines its browser ahead of RS5
By Bogdan Popa

Microsoft Edge browser is only getting updates with new Windows 10 feature releases, which typically land twice per year, while security fixes are provided every month on Patch Tuesday.

Feature updates, however, include substantial improvements for the app, some of which bring it in line with the other third-party apps like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. This was the case of extension support, and it’ll happen again with the release of Windows 10 Redstone 5 in the fall when Microsoft will block auto-playing media in the browser.

Windows 10 build 17704, which is available for insiders in the Fast and Skip Ahead rings, introduces a welcome bundled of refinements for Microsoft Edge which tweak the experience with the browser substantially.

What’s important to know, however, is that these changes aren’t final just yet, and Microsoft is only experimenting ahead of the Redstone 5 launch. Some could go away, while more could be implemented in future Windows 10 builds.
Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 build 17704
"Hello, Fluent Design!"

Fluent Design was already available in Microsoft Edge, but with this new build, Microsoft further refines the way tabs look with a new depth effect to show the active tab. This is mostly visible when using multiple tabs at the same time, and it’s definitely a welcome improvement for those who use to keep several tabs running in the same browser instance.

Microsoft has also redesigned the Edge browser menu with a new look and options that are grouped in categories making a lot more sense now.

The essential options are placed right at the top to quickly open a new tab, a new window, or a new InPrivate window, while the rest of them are listed below with icons that makes it easy to find the content you are looking for.

One very neat touch in this update is the possibility of customizing toolbar items for Microsoft Edge, though you don’t get the same wide array of options right in Firefox, for instance. Instead, there’s a new Show in toolbar menu item that lets you choose from a series of predefined items that should or shouldn’t be displayed in the toolbar, like favorites, history, downloads, add notes, and share this page. You can also choose which extensions to show in the toolbar.
Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 build 17704
Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 build 17704
Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 build 17704
Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 build 17704

The menu, however, isn’t the most intuitive and you can’t make more than one change a time. Instead, you enable or disable one item and then have to go back once again to do the same thing for another one. In Firefox, it all comes down to simply dragging the items you want to the toolbar and arrange them in any order you want, while also getting separators to clearly mark specific options.

The Settings section of Microsoft Edge has also been updated with a new UI that’s more neatly organized in sections to make it a more seamless task when trying to find a specific option. There are dedicated sections for general, privacy and security, passwords and autofill, and advanced settings.
"Blocking auto-playing media"

Just like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge is being updated with an option to block auto-playing media on websites. This is an option that will become available to all users with the debut of the Redstone 5 update in the fall and which Mozilla Firefox is also expected to receive sooner or later.

The toggle to enable this behavior is available under Advanced Settings > Media autoplay, and by default, it is configured to allow all content. A third option called Limit is also available to restrict autoplay to work when videos are muted.

And last but not least, with this new build Microsoft introduces a special new icon for Microsoft Edge in preview builds. The icon is flagged with a beta tag, but this won’t be available in the production builds of Windows 10 Redstone 5 when they launch later this year.

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