How to change the default search engine in Microsoft Edge (Chromium)

It should not come as a surprise that the default search engine of Microsoft Edge — regardless of whether it is the classic version or new Chromium version — is Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Some people prefer Bing over Google and other search engines and that is perfectly fine; others may prefer to use a different search engine for their searches.

I never found Bing to be very good when it came to non-English queries as it seemed heavily focused on English regions and search results. If you are in the same boat, you may want to change the search engine to use it when you run searches from the address bar.

I suppose it is also possible to visit the search engine manually instead each time and run searches from the search engine’s website, but that is not the most comfortable of options.

Tip: you can download Edge preview builds from Microsoft.

Change search engine in Microsoft Edge Chromium

change search engine microsoft edge chromium

The quickest way to change the search engine in the new Microsoft Edge browser is the following one:

  1. Load edge://settings/search in the browser’s address bar; this should load the search settings.
  2. Click on the menu next to “search engine used in the address bar” to switch the search engine from Bing to another search engine. The new search engine is used from that moment on whenever you run searches.

Edge lists five different search engines there only, and one of the is YouTube. You can switch to Google, DuckDuckGo or Yahoo but that is about it; not the greatest of selections but it may be sufficient if your preferred search engine is on that list.

If it is not, my favorite Startpage is not, you have two options:

Option 1: Visit the search engine and run a search on it

microsoft edge chromium add search engine

  1. Open the Search Engine in Microsoft Edge.
  2. Run a search for TEST or something generic.
  3. Open the Search Engines page in the browser: edge://settings/searchEngines
  4. Select the three dots next to the search engine that you want to make the default in Microsoft Edge and pick “make default” from the menu.

That is all there is to it.

Some search engines may not be added automatically. If that is the case, you may use the second option to add them.

Option 2: Add the search engine manually

add search engine microsoft edge

  1. Select Manage search engines on the same page.
  2. Click on the Add button to add a new search engine to the list. You are asked to fill out the following three fields:
    1. Search Engine — Pick a name to identify the search engine.
    2. Keyword — Optional, may be used to run searches on that search engine if it is not the default.
    3. URL — The search URL that uses the variable %s in place of the query.
  3. Click on Add to add the search engine.

To get the URL, run a search for TEST or another term that is easily identifiable in the URL. Copy the full results URL into the URL field in Microsoft Edge and replace the search term with %s.

On Startpage, you get a search results URL such as when you run such a search. Simply replace TEST with %s and you are done. You may also remove the parameters to streamline the URL so that you may end up with

Now You: Which is your preferred search engine and why?

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Old Edge or IE may be best option to run Flash content until end of 2020

Adobe Flash will be retired at the end of 2020; Adobe announced that it won’t support Flash after 2020 anymore and major browser makers announced Flash shutdown timelines as well. While that won’t impact Flash content that is available on the Internet, it becomes difficult to run that content especially in 2021 and onward.

Microsoft announced a timeline to end support for Adobe Flash in 2017 at a time when the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge was not a thing. The company published an update last week that includes information about the new Microsoft Edge web browser — still not available as a stable version — and Microsoft’s classic web browsers.

microsoft flash player internet explorer edge

It should not come as a surprise that Microsoft plans to follow Chromium and Google Chrome in regards to the termination of Adobe Flash in the browser. Google set Flash to click-to-play by default in Chrome in 2016 and made the use of Flash increasingly annoying in the Chrome browser since then.

Microsoft planned to disable Adobe Flash by default in Internet Explorer 11 and the classic Microsoft Edge web browser in 2019 and disable Flash completely at the end of 2020. The announcement reveals that the disabling of Flash won’t happen in 2019 after all.

For both the in-market version of Microsoft Edge (built on EdgeHTML) and Internet Explorer 11, the current experience will continue as-is through 2019. Specifically, we no longer intend to update either Microsoft Edge (built on EdgeHTML) or Internet Explorer 11 to disable Flash by default. We still plan to fully remove Flash from these browsers by December 2020, as originally communicated.

Both browsers will keep the current status quo in regards to Flash content which means that they may be the best options when it comes to playing Flash content in browsers until the end of 2020.

Take Google Chrome as an example. Google Chrome displays a “Flash will no longer be supported” message on start if Flash is not disabled. While you can allow Flash content on a page, it is no longer possible to permanently allow Flash content on a page or site.

With Internet Explorer, Flash content plays automatically when you open the page. With Edge, you get click-to-play options to play Flash content on a page.

There is another side to the story: security. Running Flash content automatically when sites are loaded in the browser is not a good idea from a security point of view.

internet explorer flash disallow

You may disallow Flash content on all sites — the default in Internet Explorer — so that the browser prompts you whenever Flash content is loaded. Here is how that is done:

  1. Select Menu > Manage Add-ons.
  2. Make sure Toolbars and Extensions is selected. If you don’t see Shockwave Flash Object listed, change the “show” menu to “all add-ons”.
  3. Right-click on Shockwave Flash Object and select “more information”.
  4. Select the “remove all sites” button to remove the wildcard. You may select “allow on all sites” at any time to restore the default status.

Internet Explorer prompts you when it encounters Flash content when you remove the global wildcard.

Microsoft Edge admins may check the following Group Policy options to manage Flash usage in the web browser.

Closing words

All browsers will support Flash until the end of 2020 and some will even do so beyond the end of the year. If you need to access Flash content on the Web, you need to pick one of these. Flash support won’t be changed in classic Edge and Internet Explorer while it may very well be made less usable in other browsers to further discourage usage.

Now you: do you access Flash content regularly or occasionally?

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How to add an extensions menu to Microsoft Edge (Chromium)

The latest Canary version of the upcoming Microsoft Edge browser that is based on Chromium supports an extensions menu to improve extension manageability; when enabled, it reduces space on the toolbar but still gives users options to display specific extension icons on the toolbar.

Microsoft Edge supports extension installations from the Microsoft Store and from the Chrome Web Store; this is one of the advantages that Edge has over Chrome as Microsoft’s extensions policy does not impose the same limitations as Google’s.

An icon is automatically placed in the Microsoft Edge toolbar when you install an extension. While you can move the extension icon to the Menu instead, you cannot remove it completely. Google Chrome has the same limitation whereas Vivaldi, another Chromium-based browser, does not.

microsoft edge extensions menu

What that means, essentially, is that you end up with extensions icon in one of the two places even if the extension icon does nothing. Google started to work on an Extension icon in Chrome to display all active extensions using a single icon when enabled.

Microsoft added a similar option to the Canary version of the Edge browser.  Edge moves all extension icons underneath the icon by default when the feature is enabled; specific extensions may be pinned so that their icons remain visible on the main toolbar.

The feature is not enabled by default and needs to be enabled by starting Microsoft Edge with a parameter. You need to launch Microsoft Edge with the parameter –enable-features=ExtensionsToolbarMenu.

Here is how you do that on Windows:

  1. Right-click on Microsoft Edge in the Start Menu or taskbar, and select Properties. You may right-click a second time on the taskbar on the Microsoft Edge entry in the menu that opens before you may select Properties.
  2. Switch to the Shortcut tab if it is not active by default.
  3. Append –enable-features=ExtensionsToolbarMenu after the path in the Target field, and make sure there is a space between the end of the path and the parameter. Here is a sample line to get a better idea how it looks like: “C:UsersMartinAppDataLocalMicrosoftEdge SxSApplicationmsedge.exe” –enable-features=ExtensionsToolbarMenu
  4. Select ok to save the selection.
  5. Restart Microsoft Edge.

Microsoft Edge should display the Extensions menu in the toolbar. A click on the icon displays the list of all extensions that are installed and active, and an option to manage extensions.

You may pin extensions to the main Edge toolbar by moving the mouse over the extension in the menu and selecting the pin option that is displayed. A click on menu next to an extension displays the usual extension options and the pin option as well.

Closing Words

The Extensions Toolbar Menu is a pre-release feature. While it is likely that it will find its way into Stable Microsoft Edge eventually, there is also a possibility of it being removed by Microsoft at any point in time.

I like the Menu as it brings order to the toolbar especially if you have installed more than one or two extensions.

Now You: Would you use the Extensions Menu? (via Winaero)

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How to remove the Microsoft Edge Feedback Smiley

Microsoft’s upcoming Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser displays a smiley icon in the browser’s toolbar right now. A click on the icon opens the “send feedback” popup that you may use to provide feedback to Microsoft; the functionality makes sense considering that the browser is still in development and that bugs are to be expected in these pre-release builds.

Microsoft provided builds for Windows 10 first but Edge is now also available for Mac OS X and Windows 7 / Windows 8.1.

There is no option to hide the smiley icon from the Microsoft Edge toolbar, at least none that is attached to the button or Edge itself. Right-clicking on the button does nothing, and since it is not possible to modify icons placed on the toolbar at all in Edge, it is necessary to look elsewhere if you want to hide the icon in Edge.

The recently leaked Stable build of Microsoft Edge hides the icon and it is likely that it remains that way. A guide to remove the icon is still useful considering that Microsoft will continue to use development channels after Edge Stable has been released.

Tip: Microsoft released a preview of Edge policies recently.

Removing Feedback from Microsoft Edge

microsoft edge smiley feedback icon

A value in the Windows Registry determines whether Microsoft Edge displays the feedback icon or not. It is easy enough to modify the value to hide or show the icon. Please note that the change impacts the option to send feedback via the Edge Menu or the keyboard shortcut Alt-Shift-I as well. If you hide the icon, sending feedback is no longer possible using these options.

Here is how that is done:

  1. Open Start, type regedit.exe, and load the Windows Registry Editor from the list of search results.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftEdge
  3. Check if the Dword UserFeedbackAllowed exists under Edge.
    1. if it does, go to 5.
    2. if it does not, right-click on Edge and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value. Name it UserFeedbackAllowed.
  4. Double-click on UserFeedbackAllowed and give it the value 0.

Restart Microsoft Edge if it was open; the Smiley icon should be gone from the toolbar. Just delete the Registry value if you want to restore the functionality.

Now Read: How successful will the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser be?

I have created a Registry file that you can run on your computer to make the change without having to edit the Registry manually. Just download the following file and run Edge Feedback Removed or Edge Feedback Restored to hide or show the icon in the Edge toolbar.

Note that you need to accept the UAC prompt and the warning prompt to make the change in the Registry.

Click on the following link to download an archive with the show and hide Registry scripts to your local system:

Closing Words

I understand why Microsoft wants user feedback but I’d like to see an option to easily remove the feedback icon from the main toolbar for usability purposes.

Now You: Do you ever send feedback to companies? (via Deskmodder)

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Microsoft introduces Caret Browsing feature in Chromium Edge

Work on the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser continues and Microsoft adds new features to preview versions of the browser on a weekly basis. The latest build introduces Caret Browsing, an accessibility feature, in the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser.

The feature is hidden behind an experimental flag currently and the functionality is only available in the Canary version of Microsoft Edge. It will take some time before it reaches other beta channels of the browser; a stable version of the browser is not yet available.

Caret Browsing enables navigation on the webpage and text selection with the keyboard on webpages in Microsoft Edge when enabled.

Caret Browsing is a native feature of Internet Explorer, the classic Microsoft Edge web browser, and the Mozilla Firefox web browser. Users of these browsers tap on F7 on the keyboard to enable Caret Browsing in the web browser.

Chromium users may download the Google Caret Browsing extension from the Chrome Web Store to integrate the functionality in Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers such as Vivaldi, Opera, or Brave.

Microsoft identified several issues that drove the company’s decision to integrate Caret Browsing natively in the Edge browser. Most notable, users had to search and install the extension to use it, and issues such as problems with certain Enterprise policies that were caused by delivering the feature as an extension.

microsoft edge caret browsing

Here is what you need to do currently to enable the feature in Microsoft Edge:

  1. Load edge://flags/#edge-caret-browsing in the browser’s address bar.
  2. Set the status of the feature to Enabled.
  3. Restart Microsoft Edge.

Setting the flag to Enabled turns Caret Browsing on in Microsoft Edge. You need to enable the feature manually, however, in each session to make use of it. The description of the flag does not reveal information on how to enable it.

All you have to do is press F7 on the keyboard to enable Caret browsing in Edge. Edge displays a “turn on caret browsing” prompt by default. Select “turn on” to enable it. You may check the “Don’t ask me again when I press F7” box to disable the prompt in future sessions and enable Caret browsing just by tapping on the F7 key.

Once you have enabled the feature you may use the up-down-left-right keys on the keyboard to navigate the webpage.  Interaction with elements on the webpage is also possible; hit the Enter-key to load the target of links, or hold down the Shift-key and use the cursor keys to select text which you may copy using Ctrl-C.

Closing Words

Caret Browsing is an experimental feature at the time of writing and that explains why it needs to be enabled manually using a flag before it becomes available. Microsoft will integrate the feature natively eventually so that it does not need to be enabled using the flag.

Caret Browsing is another feature that distinguishes the Chromium-based Edge from Google Chrome.

Now You: What is your take on Caret Browsing?

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