Microsoft Edge Based on Chromium to Roll Out via Windows Updates, Toolkit to Control Auto-Installation Released

Microsoft Edge-based on Chromium will not be bundled with Windows operating system updates and instead available via Windows Updates for all PCs running Windows 10 1709 (Redstone 4 aka RS4) and later, the Redmond giant revealed through support documentation. The new change comes a little over a month after Microsoft announced the general availability of the Chromium-based Edge browser. The company has also released a Blocker Toolkit to let enterprises disable automatic delivery and installation of Microsoft Edge for organisations where Automatic Updates on PCs is enabled by default.

“To help our customers become more secure and up-to-date, Microsoft will distribute Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based) through Automatic Updates for Windows 10 RS4 and newer,” the company writes in its support documentation.

While detailing the change, Microsoft through a separate documentation mentions that since Edge releases aren’t bound to the Windows major releases, changes will be provided to the operating system to ensure the new Edge version fits seamlessly into Windows. Further, it highlights that feature updates for Edge browser will be released roughly on a six-week cycle, whereas security and compatibility updates will be seeded as per the requirements.

“Updates won’t change the user experience until the Stable channel of the next version of Microsoft Edge is installed. Installing Microsoft Edge Beta, Dev, or Canary won’t trigger any changes in Windows. These browser releases will be installed alongside existing browsers,” the support documentation states.

Microsoft additionally notes that once the next version of Microsoft Edge is installed, all start menu pins, tiles, and shortcuts for the current version will migrate to the next version. Similarly, taskbar pins and shortcuts available on the current Edge version will continue to exist on the new version. It is also worth noting here that the attempts to launch the current version of Microsoft Edge will redirect to its next version.

A Blocker Toolkit executable file is provided to organisations to disable automatic delivery of new Edge versions. Windows 10 Home users can also install the Blocker Toolkit. Furthermore, it isn’t designed to block the manual installation of the Chromium-based Edge browser. This means that employees and home members restricted by the new toolkit will continue to have the option to install the latest version on their machines — unless it has been blocked separately. The support documentation detailing the Blocker Toolkit was first noticed by Windows Latest.

To make Microsoft Edge based on Chromium a successful launch, which is set for general availability in January 15, 2020, Microsoft is encouraging developers to start building new extensions. The company has opened the Microsoft Edge Addons store for submissions for all developers. Also, it is no longer accepting new extension submissions for EdgeHTML-based Microsoft Edge releases. Developers do have the option to submit updates to their existing extensions, though.

“We recommend you prioritise building new extensions for the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge, and continue to support your existing EdgeHTML-based extensions to ensure a quality experience for active users,” the company underlines in a blog post addressing extension developers.

Microsoft has started showing its interest in building a Chromium-based Edge browser since December last year. The company earlier this year brought the new Edge experience to Windows 10 users through Canary and Dev channels and released its presence for macOS as well as previous Windows versions, including Windows 7 and Windows 8, through the Canary channel. A Linux version is also likely to debut in the coming future.