Why I Eventually Cracked The Shits With Microsoft Edge

Chrome might be the default browser for the internet at large, but it's not the only one. And it's also not without its frustrations. Chrome - at least until the most recent update - had a habit for using a metric ton of RAM. It wasn't the de facto king of speed. And the odd tab crashing was enough to cause many a pegged stress ball.

In my fury, I did the unthinkable: I switched to the devil himself, Microsoft Edge. And I persisted for a whole week, migrating my whole workflow to the world of Microsoft. It only lasted a week, and came to a swift end when I'd finally had my fill of the things Edge couldn't do.

Edge is spectacularly unhelpful when it comes to bookmarks

As any working writer, journalist, or internet addict will tell you, bookmarks are an essential part of your daily routine. Therefore, one of the first priorities when switching from Chrome to Edge - or anything to Edge - is to get your bookmarks back in order.

Ordinarily, you'd just export your bookmarks from Chrome to a HTML file, import and be done with it. Alternatively, the automated import function usually works well enough.

In Edge, not so much.

While Edge is more than happy to pull your favourites from any browser you choose, it doesn't - for obvious reasons - retain the formatting. I keep most of my bookmarks in Chrome on the bookmarks tab. Some are displayed as icons, some have an icon and a description, and others are folders, with folders underneath those.

The equivalent bar is called the Favourites Tab in Edge, and it's not enabled by default. Once you've rectified that, you then get to go through the absurdly time intensive process of getting everything to display in the same way.

Part of the problem is that Edge doesn't have a separate bookmarks manager, like Chrome or Firefox, where multiple bookmarks can be selected or moved. That's a royal pain in the arse if you've got 50 or more items to deal with. I ended up having to download a third-party tool called EdgeManage to retain my sanity, partly because it made more sense than dragging individual items one at a time in 2016.

Image: EdgeManage

For a start, Edge will only display bookmarks with names and icons, or not at all. If you want icons to appear without the name, you have to remove all of the bookmarks' names and then tell Edge to display names and icons. Chrome, on the other hand, simply displays icons as they are, and only displays icons if the name is removed.

Edge's method is actually probably more efficient - at least if you're building your favourites from scratch, and you keep that fact in mind. But given that most people will be transferring from Chrome to Edge, and not the other way around, it makes the process a little harder.

But the real chief annoyance with bookmarks? Edge won't let you open a whole folder of bookmarks in one hit. It's something EdgeManage can't fix, and not having it is awfully disruptive to your workflow.

Copy-pasting from Edge is surprisingly annoying

Copy-pasta is the lifeblood of any working journalist, or so the joke goes. But any heavy PC user will agree - CTRL+C and CTRL+V get used a lot, and for good reason. That's especially true if you're dealing with a lot of embed codes, emails, a CMS, transferring words from one program to another, and so on.

I'll give you a good example. From time to time, we embed YouTube videos on the site. But we only need the last part of the YouTube URL, not the full thing. And as a result, I've become accustomed to selecting only the part I need in the Chrome tab, copying, pasting, and going away.

Of course, you can't just do that in Edge.

When Edge displays a URL, it does so without the HTTP/HTTPS prefix. Clicking on the address bar then displays the full URL, which changes the point the cursor pastes from.

It seems like such a petty, minor complaint. But over the course of a day, particularly in my line of work, it's disruptive and something that could be easily solved with an option somewhere.

Naturally, Edge doesn't have that.

Edge makes you wait

Another thing that gives me the shits: you have to wait for a fraction longer when clicking or selecting items, otherwise the input doesn't always register. It's most noticeable if you're trying to copy paste something, but occasionally it crops up when clicking hyperlinks.

If you're not someone who leans on shortcuts frequently, it will probably go unnoticed. But it's a quirk I'd not been forced to encounter when Chrome, or Firefox, was my daily browser. But that's what it's like to live life on the Edge, as it were.

You can't search your history

Image: Kotaku

While it's probably bad practice, being logged into your Google account on Chrome does at least give you a rolling record of everything you've viewed in a handy, searchable format. Microsoft Edge? Three categories: everything you've viewed in the last hour, everything in the last week, and items older than that.

You can't search your history in Edge, which can be really handy if you've forgotten something but you at least remember the topic, or something notable, about the page. Also Microsoft: why have separate designations for the last hour and the last week, but not the last 24 hours? That's just weird.

Edge's clipping tool isn't as handy as it should be

I get that Microsoft wants to funnel everything through their ecosystem; that's cool. But the reason most people screencap things is so they can quickly dump it into a Tweet, a Facebook message, or some other form of shareable medium. So while saving your Web Notes in the Favourites tab, the Reading tab (which saves it as a HTML file in your Users folder, instead of your Downloads folder) or OneNote is great, please just give us the option users want - which is to save it as a JPG/BMP/PNG in a folder of our choice.

Edge wouldn't play videos in full-screen, at least when I wanted it to

This was the point where I finally cracked. The Game Awards were about to kick off and I was in the middle of my working day, taking screenshots, GIFs and so forth for the site.

I've got two screens, so whenever this situation crops up I'll work on one and full screen a video on the other. Anyone who's fired up Netflix on a second screen gets how this works.

So I fired up separate Twitch and YouTube streams and prepared to get to work. Except there was one problem: Edge, right when I needed it, wouldn't play the videos in full screen.

This isn't a missing feature, or an oversight on Microsoft's part. Edge plays videos in full screen just fine; I'm watching one while I type this. But in the heat of the moment, at a point where time was of the essence and I relied on Edge to work without fault, it failed.

That was the breaking point for me, the point where I finally cracked the shits. As a heavy internet browser, a journalist who lives online and someone who has no intention of abandoning geek culture, I rely on my browser to work 100% of the time. And when Edge failed me, in the moment I needed it most, that was the last straw.

Maybe Edge will become truly sensational one day. I certainly appreciated how snappy it was, although Chrome's latest update is no slouch either (and it also rectifies some of the memory hog issues). But that's not enough to tolerate the missing features, the minuscule parts of my workflow that I take for granted on a daily basis.

Perhaps I shouldn't have changed to Edge at all, though. Maybe I should have gone back to Firefox instead. But that's a problem for 2017.


Comments

    Chrome: One Google, All of You.

    I will always love Firefox, I really hope it continues fighting the good fight here.

      Totally. Why I don't use chrome. They've already infested my phone, I want to keep them off my PC as much as possible.

      But I use windows 10 so I've already lost the fight.

        Meh if you have facebook installed on your phone you've lost the war anyway. Whatever random Rea life conversation I have with friends is now eavesdropped by my phone and becomes tomorrow's facebook advertisement.

        Case in point we were talking about the difference been false teeth and veneer last week, next day my ads were all for false teeth. Yesterday a friend complimented my full head of hair and we had a chat about balding. Today all my facebook ads are for bald guy cream.

        Technology is creepy as crap.

          Why I ditched my 'free' kickstarter oculus rift too. Seriously it has a mic and camera that sits on your desk that literally looks like a cold war spy microphone. Seriously, they were looking towards the stazi when they designed that thing. And although it doesn't stream your stuff back, it does the same as your phone, listens for key words, pays attention to long gaze times and just sends that info back. It's a very expensive device that helps them to sell your data to advertisers that then pay facebook to advertise. Facebook is the harbinger of the Orwellian future we all feared.

          WTF??? THROUGH THE MIC???

            A few people I know have been suspicious of facebook listening to the microphone for their advertising, but none of theirs have been quite as obvious as mine lately. I've had a few cases that were of very left of field conversations that don't match my usual browsing or searching behaviour became my adverts. It's happening too often to just be a coincidence.

              I think you're just paranoid man. :) That is SUPER-freaky

              But I just uninstalled chrome and facebook from my phone anyway. It's an android phone anyway so no complete way to be free of the many but every little bit helps.

              Last edited 14/12/16 2:55 pm

      I basically only use Chrome, and never want Firefox to give up. Competition is what stops technological stagnation and monopolisation - Edge, Safari, Opera... none are really any threat to Chrome these days, so I really hope Firefox continues its current trajectory - the rivalry makes both platforms better. :)

        At least Opera doesnt leak like a sieve. I can go weeks without having to reboot it. Firefox will have issues in a few hours depending on usage and I'm not a fan of Chrome.

      Also a Firefox user here.

      Seriously, why do people complain about Chrome and Edge so much? Switch to Firefox.

      Pfft. Firefox. I still use Gopher and it's perfectly good enough for everyone.

    I tried Edge for an entire day before I cracked the shits with it. Internet Explorer is actually vastly better than Edge at a bunch of this shit. Why? WHY? Why would you design a program that's WORSE than your previous one? How would you let that leave testing?

    Or is this yet another case of everything being designed for fucking tablets again? Let me guess, it works really well on all the surface pros that everyone walks around with on the Redmond campus?

    I'd sure hope not... I mean, surely they'd have learned from Windows 8's Metro debacle that shit that desktop PC users don't give a flying fuck what works on tablets when they're on a desktop PC.

      Works well on my old Windows phone so perhaps it was designed for tablets.

      "It's time to restart your device" - I die a little inside each time my OS forgets it's running on a PC. "Tap and say ..." is particularly useless advice to display on my lock screen - not only do I not have a touch screen, I don't even have a mic connected.

      "Tap and say 'Microsoft is slowly forcing the desktop model into obsolescence, so my PC can tell me about all the things its hardware can't do, and the OS can't do half the things it used to be able to do easily.'"

      Last edited 13/12/16 2:04 pm

        I feel your pain. I hate how Mac OS calls them "apps" now. No Mr. Macbook, they're called programs!!!

          Oh heaven defend me from the "app." As a developer, "app" to me meant "small program with a really short development cycle, created for a very specific use." Now Office 36-freaking-5 is an "app." Ugh...

          I thought App was just short for Application? Apple being lazy or they could patent the whole word so they tried to patent 'app'

      It actually seems quite similar to the development of Firefox (or Phoenix as it was called back then). When the first versions were released, it lacked so many features found in the old Mozilla Suite. Granted some of them were added back, but many never did or were relegated to add-ons. And in the end, Firefox became much more successful than its predecessor.

      There will probably always be features found in IE that are missing in Edge. But it is also likely to evolve new features, or new ways of performing old tasks. Trying to constrain it to be just like IE at this point would probably result in a worse product in the long run.

      Are you on Windows 8 or something?

        Windows 10, with the free upgrade. Really like Win10 for the most part, but Edge is not only ugly and less user-friendly, but it lacks significant features and handles what it purports to do worse than IE did. I can't think of a single thing it does better on a desktop.

          I run an 11" 1080p ultra book. With chromes complete lack of windows based adaptive scaling it's bloody awful. It is also the worst touch based browser of all the options for pc.

            Well, there's my point. On a desktop PC, Chrome performs well, and Edge performs like shit.

            And I only use desktop PCs. Seems like Microsoft's fucked up - AGAIN - by developing for notebooks/surface Pros/windows phone, and ignoring desktop PCs. Just like they did with the Metro interface for Win8.

              I can set chrome how I like on my 11", then it's terrible on my 27" when I dock, and even worse on my 65" tv. Windows 10 is adaptive, google are stubbornly trying to push everyone to their usage case and refuse to get on board.

              Last edited 14/12/16 2:02 pm

                Wait... what? That's exactly what Microsoft's doing with desktop users.

                Edge is something that looks and performs like shit on desktops, and is obviously designed to cater to the 'usage case' of notebooks, which Microsoft is stubbornly trying to push everyone to, refusing to get on board with the idea that tablet-focused design isn't wanted or useful on our desktops.

                  I'd still rather edge over chrome on my desktop, the few missing usage cases don't out weigh the bad design decisions I've found in chrome. Let's not forget that edge is an AWFUL tablet browser. It's not tablet focused at all vs ie. Modern. Your repeated tablet focused rants just seem very windows 8 biased given windows 10's tablet focus is the complete opposite, with a dramatic switch back towards mouse and desktop focus.

    eh i still use firefox

      Yeah... and keep trying to make it be more like Firefox instead of Chrome each time they try and "fix" it.

    If you're like me and run Chrome with a million tabs open, thats going to cripple your memory right there. I make use of the plugin called "Great Suspender" (google it, ha!). It suspends tabs for me that are idle, dropping the usage to almost nothing. The suspended pages remember where I left off, and even survive a crash or unwanted shutdown (thank you Windows). For tab junkies, I recommend it.

      Had great suspender, didn't love it. The replacement, Tab Wrangler, I do love.

      Edge does this natively. It's one of the things tech bloggers complain about when it reloads their tabs.

    You mean designing PC programs to be tablet-orientated was a bad idea?

    Whodathunkit...

    I hardly ever use bookmarks at all, only to occasionally squirrel away a link to something I may want to be able to find later. But like most things that are saved for later use, that hardly ends up happening very often at all.

    Shouldn't this article be on Gizmodo? Or Lifehacker?
    I don't mind non-gaming related articles in Kotaku, but this isn't even labelled off topic or anything.

    Personally I don't think any of the browsers out there are doing a good enough job, but unlike Firefox and Chrome I've found Edge runs smoothly. To me that was worth getting over the culture shock that comes with changing systems. I still use Firefox for Kotaku and a few other sites as part of how I organise things, but I'm really considering dumping Firefox completely.
    It's funny, both Chrome and Firefox were sold to me as superior browsers because they were smooth but now they're the clumsy, bloated ones. Edge is basic in a bad way but it's giving me what the others promised me.

    On a side note, if you're on Windows 10 consider using the apps for Twitch and YouTube if you need them to be reliable. The apps themselves are pretty sucky but it's a little more bulletproof than browser tabs.

      Chrome is only bloated if you make it that way. I still use Chrome, and it uses nowhere near the massive amounts of ram that I always hear people bitching about. But then I'm not one to have more than 2 or 3 tabs open as a time, and I only use 2 extensions, one of which is only active on youtube, so that probably helps. I haven't tried Firefox in a while, but when I last did, it used more ram than Chrome for just 2 tabs, and that was with the extensions running in Chrome, and none in Firefox!
      I haven't compared how Edge runs on my system though, mostly due to some of the minor annoyances pointed out in the article, especially stuff like the copy paste. It does run smooth on my system when I've tried it, but I can't get past the dumb quirks it has.

        I think it's your tab count. I run almost bare bones Chrome, I think I've got two extensions, and it feels like a dozen tabs is enough to get it to wobble. I'll admit I'm a bit of a slob on the tab front, but considering just how much grunt is under the hood of a modern PC I don't think a few dozen tabs running smoothly is that much to ask.
        Even on my work PC with no extensions it feels like simply having Chrome open kicks my CPU fan up a notch or two.

          I know my work pc doesn't like Chrome as much, but I think that's mostly due to it not being proper Chrome. They have some outdated limited framework thing, and it just bogs down so bad.
          I'm only running an i7 920 at home with 12gb of ram, and i can have up to 15 or 20 tabs open without it even faulting in the slightest, but I rarely push it that far. Sometimes if I'm gathering info from multiple sources for something, but that's certainly not an every day thing. I suspect a lot of people who have browser issues, are likely to have their machines full of malware, and not even realize it.

            I'd agree that people blame their browser instead of their computer, that's always been the case, but Chrome seems to collapse under it's own weight even on a clean system. My system is pretty well maintained. If there is malware so deep it hasn't been detected it must be designed specifically to drag down Chrome's performance because that's the only area that consistently under performs.
            I've been Christmas shopping the past few days so I've got 48 tabs open and that number has been rising and falling since Monday afternoon. It's running as smooth as with a single tab even though toy store websites are absolute nightmares.

            I understand that you naturally gravitate towards low tab counts and minimal extensions so it doesn't feel like high maintenance, but Chrome is pretty much asking me to put more work in to keeping my system clean, slash my tab count and stop using the features that make the browser special.

            Last edited 16/12/16 12:21 pm

          While at uni having 100 tabs open between different windows of research, work, and procrastination wouldn't be beyond me. My pc is signifanctly slowed and my laptop not usable with chrome. Edge handles it pretty well except for the odd occasion a bad script kills it, which is usually a page with bad advertisements like the full page ads on Gizmodo or the auto playing video on CNET.

        My chrome broke completely on my main PC. I had to reinstall it every time I opened it. The issue was with the shortcut in Win10 and how Chrome updates, and there was no fix at the time. I was more than happy to move on considering I much prefer firefox. Chrome was easily a bigger resource hog that firefox, even though I frequently had less tabs open in Chrome. I switched to Firefox/Opera combo and havent looked back.

          Never come across an issue with that myself. How long ago was it? I only installed Win 10 around the middle of this year I think, so it's possible they might have patched the issues out by the time I got around to it.

            Eh, it was earlier in the year sometime. I dont think it's a common issue with Chrome admittedly, but it was game-breaking for me. I cant remember the specifics of it though since a lot of water has gone under the bridge since it happened. I'm loathed to go back at the moment because I'm pretty happy with my setup now. Maybe will try it again when I get a new PC or something.

        The memory thing in my experience was from chromed early days. There was massive well known memory leaks that took a while to fix. I can't say if they are gone now days as I haven't used it lately but they were a definite thing in the past.

          I remember moving to chrome from Firefox care of runaway memory leaks, and then moving from chrome to edge for the same reason. Seems to be something that pops up for at least a few months every now and again with most browsers.

      There is no app for youtube. Google anti competitively won't release one and DMCA took down Microsoft's when they released it.

    The only real thing I've found Edge useful for is casting to my main tele. My Chromecast keeps disappearing off my network, so the Edge picking up the DLNA of the TV itself and directly porting is most convenient.

    Apart from that, not a chance.

    Chrome for me, might be a privacy nightmare but I love the creepy search and history continuance, and password memory!

      So you love the creepy stuff? Good to know man!

    Part of the problem is that Edge doesn't have a separate bookmarks manager, like Chrome or Firefox, where multiple bookmarks can be selected or moved.Does Edge not use a Favourites folder for its bookmarks like IE did? Much easier to organise that way than in the program itself.

      Nope. It uses a database style file.

    I did the same thing. I now run Firefox not only on my desktop but also my phone now too.

    The reason why I switched from Firefox to Chrome in the first place was Chrome was light and Firefox was bloated and slow.

    These days the opposite is true. Granted Firefox isnt lightweight but a hell of alot better than Chrome, Edge or IE

    I have a lot to hate about Edge. It's clearly a few iterations away from being even a usable browser, much less up to the level of Chrome/Firefox/whatever.

    My biggest annoyance by far (being an IT consultant) is the fact that the local administrator account in Win10 cannot open Edge by default, and yet it can open Internet Explorer 11, since thats WAY more secure than Edge apparently. All I want to do is go to Google so I can download Chrome/Firefox, so I can then never use Edge ever again, but no.

    I cannot fathom the thought process behind this.

      Not just the built-in administrator but all members of the local administrators group too. With so many little custom pieces of software in accounting and engineering that can't operate without local admin, Edge is simply not a good enough browser for corporate.

      You should be able to get around it by leaving UAC on, but at its lowest setting.

    Many have said Edge is great. I, however, disagree. I'm very much a heavy Chrome user, so when I can't even load a page after first launching a fresh instance of the browser without it crashing, I obviously won't be switching to Edge anytime soon. At this point, it's nothing more than a means to download Chrome on a fresh install of Windows 10.

    Microsoft Wedge: forcing itself between you and your goals since 2015.

    I've never heard the phrase "crack the shits" before (must be an Aussie thing) but it's my new favourite saying now.

      It certainly is an Australian thing.

      I loved it when I first moved here, love it now still.

      Yes its an aussie saying. Much like the Saying "Chuck it over here" or similar which confused my foreign workmates.

    Try Opera sometime, as a user with many tabs (far, far too many tabs) open at once for various research, homework or work related reasons it performs admirably and doesnt have the memory hog issues of FF or Chrome.

      Bloody hell. I haven't used Opera since looking for Netscape Navigator alternatives in the 90s.

      Glad to hear they're still kicking around.

    I the full screen video thing is annoying, I've had that a few times now. Seems to be a recent bug. Also annoying not being able to open a folder of favourites or search history. But I don't have to deal with chromes massive memory leaks, and google constantly trying to force me to make my google account on a personal email address running outlook.com an alias of my spam Gmail account.

    I think Edge works best on tablet and phone devices, less on traditional desktops. Microsoft is banking on Surface and touch interfaces, and that's why IMO Edge is not as capable or efficient as its desktop competition.

    The feature disparity between other desktop browsers, Microsoft's UX quirks and Edge's, nay Windows 10's perpetual "work-in-progress" state is getting in the way of making Edge a decent and powerful alternative on desktop.

    Come on ppl, if you have to explain why you might have multiple tabs open, we know you are talking about porn.

    We will also assume it's the really crazy stuff, you perv

      When researching for projects I'll middle click anything I might want to check out. Between that, the required resources, and procrastination spread across multiple monitors, that can be 100-150 tabs easily. Add in the problem that edge can't open a group of favourites in one click and they're not closed until I really don't need them.

    @alexwalker: I might be misunderstanding your issue regarding snipping content, but what's wrong with WinKey+Print Screen button on the keyboard? They added it to Windows in Win8 or so, saves the current screen to disk as a PNG file. WinKey + Alt + Print Screen to just capture the currently active window.

    For more fine-grained work there's also the Snipping Tool built into Windows nowadays. Can use that to screenshot specific parts of the screen and do some light editing.

      You can also just share straight to mail, Facebook, messenger, twitter, etc.

        I use Faststone Image Capture instead; saves it to the format I want while also copying the image to the clipboard in case I need to copy-pasta it to Hipchat/Slack/email/Twitter shitposting etc. It's just a little more versatile and being able to customise the hotkeys to something more practical can be very useful (esp. when liveblogging major conferences).

    I don't think it's really fair to compare Edge to Chrome or Firefox yet. Chrome and Firefox currently have years under their belt and Edge has something like 2 maybe. When Firefox and Chrome were released to the public for the first time, there were a lot of issues but they have grown to what they are today. Edge will no doubt do the very same and Edge just got extensions added. I think Edge is coming along very nicely for a young browser that hasn't matured yet.

    Firefox user for the addons and customization, then they started making sweeping interface changes and stuff to try and be like chrome. switched to pale moon and never looked back.

    I made the big mistake of changing over to Edge last week -- OMG! What a nightmare, I couldn't get it to do ANYTHING. Ir was like my laptop was learning impaired! Freezing up constantly, not responding, soooo verrrry slooowwww all the time. Don't know what I was thinking...I have changed back to Chrome now and everything's running again like clockwork. Live and learn!

    Personally I think most missed the point of Edge in the first place. It's not going to bring back Chrome users to Edge. That was not Microsoft's real intention. Microsoft created Edge as a replacement for Enterprise to replace Internet Explorer. Microsoft does not make money off of Edge like Google does with Chrome. Microsoft's only concern is to have a browser worthy of Enterprise to use because those companies spend oodles of money with Microsoft for Windows and Microsoft products. Yes, Microsoft would love it if Edge became the next Internet Explorer gaining as much or more market share as Chrome does now. My own personally experience with Edge is that its very capable but lacks some things for some users. While I see Firefox becoming more like Chrome, I am sort of glad Edge has taken a separate path and not become a Chrome clone.

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