The new Microsoft Edge browser is reportedly stealing your Firefox data

Microsoft Edge
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Google Chrome snatched up nearly 70% of the browser user share as of May 2020. Mozilla Firefox and the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge trailed behind -- far, far behind -- at 8% and 7%, respectively. 

Microsoft must be more determined than ever to dethrone Chrome in the battle for browser dominance. To lure more users to the new Edge browser, Microsoft is reportedly stealing Firefox data without user consent, according to Reddit posters (via Softpedia).

Reddit is fuming at Microsoft for reportedly stealing their Firefox data

"This is the only way they can gain browser market share -- through trickery and misdirection," Reddit user krankie claimed after calling out Microsoft for coercing Windows 10 users to latch on to Edge.

To give you some backstory on krankie's admonition of Microsoft, the new Edge browser started rolling out to Windows 10 PCs as an automatic install. Delivered via Windows updates, the new Edge browser is now replacing the old, seldom-used version of Edge. Prior to these updates, the Edge browser had to be downloaded manually. 

When Edge's setup wizard popped up after being delivered by a Windows update, users noticed that their Firefox data was already imported into Edge without their permission.

"I just installed Edge today for testing," Reddit user orcusmorcus wrote. "I noticed my bookmarks from Firefox appeared in the background/browser BEHIND the import acceptance dialog. The bookmarks disappeared after I said I didn't want it to import anything. Obviously it still went looking before asking!"

A slew of other security-minded Redditors echoed orcusmorcus' complaint and were appalled to find their Firefox data on Edge, including their bookmarks and browsing history.

Microsoft's relentlessness in making Edge happen

Edge's setup wizard, which features the words "Get Started," reportedly doesn't have an exit option for users who have no interest in continuing the setup process.

"Your parents and grand parents are probably using Edge now," krankie added. "They didn't mean to, they just couldn't seem to get it out of the way unless they agreed to 'Get Started.'"

Many Reddit posters said they used Task Manager to kill the setup wizard. One Redditor who used Task Manager to thwart the setup process claimed that they still found their Firefox browsing history in Edge despite shutting down the wizard prematurely.

"Open your task manager and close Edge from it instead of going through the setup. Then open Edge again. Tap Ctrl+H and see for yourself: your browsing history from Firefox will have been imported into Edge," XIII-Death posted on Reddit.

A few Redditors shrugged at Edge's alleged security faux pas. "Clear browsing history in Edge and voila, no more problem," one poster said. Another commenter advised Windows 10 users to ditch their OS: "If you are actually concerned about privacy, you might want to give Linux a try. Windows 10 is basically designed to tell Microsoft everything you are doing."

This isn't the first time Microsoft's been called out for its relentlessness. Some Edge users expressed annoyance at Microsoft's pop-up messages that appear while searching for Chrome or Firefox downloads in the browser.

Microsoft's also been put in the hot seat for its questionable security methods in the past. In March, we reported that Edge came in last place in a study that compared privacy measures among six browsers.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!