Microsoft warned late last year that it was making plans to distribute the Chromium-based version of its Edge browser in Windows 10 updates. It began doing so earlier this year, although manual installation was required, but now Redmond has taken the distribution of Edge via Windows Update a step further by initiating installation.
With the deprecation of the legacy version of Edge last week, Microsoft has released guidance for Windows administrators that the Chromium flavor of Edge will replace the EdgeHTML-based version in Windows Update.
The Microsoft support articles KB4541301, KB4541302, and KB4559309, as noted by GHacks, detail the deployment prerequisites for Windows 10 version 1803 and 1809, for Windows 10 version 1903 and 1909, and for the full range of Windows 10 versions from 1803 to 2004, respectively.
"This update will be downloaded and installed automatically from Windows Update," the documents state.
The automated browser replacement routine will migrate Start menu pins, tiles, and shortcuts, as well as taskbar pins and shortcuts. It will pin the new Edge to the taskbar and add a shortcut to the desktop, removing the old Edge if present. Data like passwords, favorites, and open tabs will be preserved through migration to the new browser.
The current version of Microsoft Edge will be hidden from UX surfaces in the OS – because people don't need to know such things. Also, Chromium Edge does not support uninstalling the update.
Enterprise admins and home users have the option to prevent this with the Edge Blocker Toolkit.
Edge, now based on Chromium, follows the six-week Chromium release cycle for stable, beta, and dev channel revisions, and may include separate compatibility and security updates.
Earlier this month, at its Build developer conference – virtual this year to minimize contagion coronavirus contagion – Microsoft talked up various developer- and consumer-oriented features destined for Edge. Redmond's What's New page offers a useful summary for end-users while the Edge Platform Status page may be more of interest to developers.
With Edge now automatically arriving via Update, all Microsoft needs to do to increase usage is urge Windows users to make it their default browser. ®