Edge vs Internet Explorer: What's New

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Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser is so last year. With the introduction of Windows 10, the software giant has changed the default browser that comes with its new operating system and called it Edge. That doesn't mean IE is going away, as it's still around mostly to support specific legacy apps that make use of it. But the two browsers are very different.

That said, Microsoft didn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Both Edge and IE have tabs, private browsing and search powered by Bing. They both offer similar performance and speed, on such tests as Peacekeeper and SunSpider. Settings, such as privacy and downloads management, are the same in both browsers. But Edge sports a sleeker, more modern aesthetic and has Cortana embedded for easier searching, among some other fancy new features.

MORE: Edge vs. Chrome vs. Firefox: Which Windows 10 Browser Reigns Supreme?

Here's what you need to know about Microsoft's new browser.

Cortana Embedded

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Edge brings Microsoft's digital assistant Cortana to the desktop. With this aide at your disposal, you can easily pull up pictures, explanations and search results on any word or link while you're browsing by right-clicking and selecting "Ask Cortana." The information slides in on a panel on the right, so you don't have to leave the page you're on.

When you visit the website of a restaurant, a circle icon appears at the end of the URL with the words, "I've got hours, directions and more." Clicking that circle pulls in the side panel with info from Cortana (via Bing) such as directions, reviews and a shortcut to call and make a reservation. Microsoft says it will implement more Cortana features into Edge to make it more useful.

Internet Explorer has nothing like Cortana embedded. No extra information slides in on a panel — you'll have to open up a whole new tab to learn more about what you're browsing. You can highlight text, right-click it and choose to "Search with Bing," but that's as close as you get. And with Microsoft pouring its development efforts into Edge, don’t expect Cortana features to ever appear in IE.

Reading mode

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Hate seeing ads and superfluous navigational menus when you're reading your favorite articles online? Reading mode on Edge, similar to that on Firefox and Safari, gets rid of distracting links and graphics on Web pages so you can focus on your story.

Internet Explorer 11 (for Windows 8.1) has a similar Reading View, but other versions of IE don't. That's even true of IE11 for Windows 10. None of the nearly 30 official add-ons available for Internet Explorer offer something like this.

Mark up pages in Web Note

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Another new Edge feature is the ability to turn the page you're viewing into a canvas for your scribbles and doodles. Show your partner the couch you want from Amazon, or highlight part of your purchase history to someone. You can export the page as an image and share it with your friends via Mail.

To do this in Internet Explorer, you'd need to take a screenshot, open it in Paint or OneNote, make your doodles and then save to share.

Easier sharing

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With the built-in Share button on Edge's navigational bar, you can now easily send pages to your friends. Edge will pull up the installed apps that work with the Share feature, such as Facebook, Twitter and Mail, and you can post the links to your social media accounts with one click.

Sharing from Internet Explorer on Windows 8 was simple enough with the Share function in the Charms menu, but on Windows 10, that option is missing. None of the existing add-ons for Internet Explorer add that feature to the old browser.

New first page

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Whenever you open a new window or tab, Edge now shows you a selection of top sites, along with a personalized news feed. Best of all, the top of the page features a search/URL bar that asks, "Where to next?" so you can immediately type in a link or query to get going.

By comparison, the Internet Explorer home page brings up a thumbnail grid of your most frequently visited sites and a search bar (powered by Bing). Unlike in Edge, though, you'll have to click in this bar in IE before you start to type; you can immediately start typing in a new Edge screen.

New flat design and look

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Internet Explorer has a separate row for the title and minimize, maximize and close buttons, while placing its tabs on the second bar. In contrast, Edge combines the two rows into one to save space. By doing that, Microsoft frees up more room in the second row for a longer URL bar and clean-looking buttons. The overhaul also gives Edge a flatter, more modern and, dare I say it, edgier look.

Extensions

No one thinks of Microsoft's browser as one that has many extensions, but Internet Explorer actually supports add-ons that enhance the browser. These range from Speckie, an in-browser spell checker, to Wikipedia Visual Search for instant results from the online encyclopedia below your URL bar. The selection is limited compared to those available for Chrome and Firefox, since there are just under 30 Internet Explorer add-ons on the browser's official add-on gallery.

With Edge, all that might change. Microsoft has announced that Edge will not only support its own extensions, but will also be compatible with extensions from Chrome and Firefox. The current version of Edge doesn't do this yet, but Microsoft said it expects to bring this feature live in the fall.

Having issues with Windows 10? Tom’s Hardware has a team of community staffers standing by in the forums to answer your questions 24/7. You can also share your own experiences, or jump in and help others.

Author Bio
Cherlynn Low
Cherlynn Low, LAPTOP Staff Writer
Cherlynn joined the Laptopmag team in June 2013 and has since been writing about all things tech and digital with a focus on mobile and Internet software development. She also edits and reports occasionally on video. She graduated with a M.S. in Journalism (Broadcast) from Columbia University in May 2013 and has been designing personal websites since 2001.
Cherlynn Low, LAPTOP Staff Writer on
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14 comments
  • eric Says:

    It seems everyone has forgotten the touch version of IE. It had a great interface I was just getting used to. Thumb friendly controls at the bottom of the screen that disappear when not in use. Pull pages left or right to go back and forward. What happened to those tablet features? Can we get those back?

  • Brad Says:

    sorry I ever did this upgrade I've lost all my favorites, can no longer sign in my financial sites because I can't remember my user name this new down load was a huge mistake! how do I get my old IE back?????

  • Gail Says:

    I can't print my emails without going to another program. Not protected. No favorites. Can't believe you put a browser out there that has not protection with all the hacking going on. HATE windows 10

  • Sandi Says:

    I want Internet Explorer back with my Comcast. So sorry I made this mistake. I am going to try to download IE and hope my machine doesn't explode. I am 80 years old and way past exploring new vistas that take away items I like.

  • Charmaine Says:

    I found where we can get back to Internet Explorer: (Figured I would share.)

    You might not have been aware that Internet Explorer can still be used in Windows 10. In this beginners guide we'll show you how to find it and how you can easily get to it any time you want.

    It doesn't show up under "All Apps," but that's OK, you can just use the Cortana/Search box.

    Activate Cortana either by saying "Hey Cortana, open Internet Explorer," or by typing in the box if you're not using voice or have Cortana disabled. Internet Explorer will show up immediately to be opened for use. To avoid doing this every time you want to use Internet Explorer, follow these simple steps.

    Type "Internet Explorer" in the Cortana/Search box. Saying "Hey Cortana, open Internet Explorer" isn't useful here.
    Right click on "Internet Explorer" in the Cortana/Search window.
    To add as a tile on your Start Menu click "Pin to Start."
    To keep it on your taskbar simply click "Pin to taskbar."
    Now, every time you need to use Internet Explorer it's just a click or two away.

  • Frank M Pressly Says:

    As do almost all of the comments, I'm lost without being able to get back to internet explorer.

    I can't even get my games that I had on Internet explorer back.

    The real exsasperating thing is that I'm barely above a beginner when it comes to a computer.

    I'm one of those people that doesn't mind progress, but I also can't stand change.

    Please give us the best of both worlds by letting us be able to use both systems.

    Thanks for your help and consideration,

    Frank M. Pressly

  • Delores Says:

    Dear Windows 10, I hate you.

  • Cherlynn Low, LAPTOP Staff Writer Says:

    Hey Patricia! We'll have a guide on that coming your way very soon!!

  • Patricia Salter Says:

    how do I get back to Internet Explorer, I use banking websites that do not recognize Edge and only accept Internet Explorer. This is ridiculous, would never have upgraded to Windows 10 if I had known this. Please let us have the ability to use Internet Explorer or else go back to Windows 8.1

  • Doug Says:

    Doesn't have a tools menu, does not respond to my touch pad expanding or minimizing, can't or won't open some of the bookmarked pages from IE. How do I get IE back?

  • Clyde Bradford Says:

    How do I move all my Favorites from internet explorer to edge Favorites?

  • John White Says:

    Edge does not list my favorites from explorer. I have not the time to recreate that list. I regret switching to 10.

  • Gerald Wood Says:

    As long as Norton Internet Security cannot protect me when using Edge, I will not use Edge. End of story. I want an icon on my start bar for Internet Explorer, which allows the 3rd Party extensions required for Norton to protect my browsing and downloads.

  • Matt Says:

    There are several things it doesn't have, however, such as the ability to "save target as" for audio files to your hard drive, or save webpages. Perhaps they'll add these features in later.

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