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Windows 10 update wrecks browsers: What to do now

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In this episode of "What's wrong with Windows 10?" the Edge browser launches unprompted and Firefox and Chrome are having their own issues. 

These browser bugs follow a series of others caused by the May 2020 update. Microsoft is working its way through them, but it seems like every time an issue is patched, another creeps up.

In this particular case, users are complaining that the new Edge browser launches upon startup, even when the setting for it to do so isn't enabled. Affecting a minority of laptops running Windows 10 version 2004, the bug is currently being investigated by Microsoft. 

There is a setting within Windows 10, edge://settings/onStartup, that launches the browser when your PC starts up, but Edge seems to be launching regardless of whether it is enabled. Microsoft is now asking Insiders for more information so it can begin working on a patch.

This issue is likely of critical importance to Microsoft as the company just recently starting rolling out the new Edge browser to PCs running Windows 1803 and up. The last thing the software giant can afford in its war against Chrome is for users to have a bad first experience with Edge. It's worth reiterating that these latest problems affect only a small percentage of users. 

But these aren't the only browser problems Windows 10 users face. Chrome fans are reportedly being signed out of Chrome and forced to sign back in after installing the Windows 10 May 2020 update. Discovered by MSPowerUser, the bug occurs every time you open Chrome, and uninstalling and reinstalling the browser won't fix it. 

This issue had already been flagged but the Chromium team at Microsoft decided to abandon it because it was having trouble reproducing the error. That is, until Google Project Zero security researcher Tavis Ormandy experienced the same issue after installing Windows 10 2004 on his personal laptop. The problem seems to stem from the Windows Data Protection API that protects data in Windows 2000 and later. 

Eric Lawrence, a principal program manager at Microsoft and former Chrome member at Google, is investigating the issue, as ZDNet reports, and other predict the problem will start happening with Edge given that the browser is also based on Chromium. 

And, finally, Techdows reports that Firefox users are running into their own problems, including white bars appearing on tabs and constant crashing.

What to do now

There isn't any straightforward advice to give. Microsoft is clearly concerned about the few reports that have cropped up about Edge launching without being prompted to. 

We also know Microsoft and Google are aware of Chrome issues and Mozilla has a case open for problems caused by Windows version 2004. All this means is that patches should be on their way.

If you can't wait for those, there is a workaround for the Chrome problem. You can try the following to see if it helps. 

  • Close the Chrome.exe app using the Task manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc)
  • Press and hold Windows + L
  • Unlock your laptop via a password or Windows Hello
  • Reopen Chrome