Microsoft recently revealed test versions for its latest Microsoft Edge browser based on Chromium. The company recently opened up its Microsoft Edge Canary and Microsoft Edge Developer channels for interested testers. Similar to how the company addresses its test version of Windows as Windows Insider builds, the Edge test versions are known as Edge Insider builds. Now just about a month after the launch of the Canary and Dev release channels, the installer for the Beta version has finally leaked online. We have installed the Microsoft Edge Beta version to see how the first Microsoft Edge Beta based on Chromium currently performs.
However, before talking about that along with instructions on how to get started, let’s talk about the fundamental difference between all the release channels. It is worth noting that none of the three release channels is really the final version that the user will get to install when the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge finally launched to the public. Talking about the differences between different Edge Insider build channels, the Canary Channel is the most bleeding edge where the browser is updated every day with the latest improvements and things are most likely to break.
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Dev Channel is the second one where all the improvements were done in a week are cumulatively added and the build updated and the third release channel called the Beta Channel is updated once every six weeks with all the major changes while being the most stable of the three. Even though the Edge Insider page indicates that the Beta Channel builds are “Coming soon for Windows 10”, the download links for the offline and online installer have leaked online. The leaked links were spotted by Twitter user ADeltaX with the handle “ADeltaXForce”. Mere hours after the links were posted, I installed the Microsoft Edge Beta version on my Windows 10 machine.
How to Install Microsoft Edge Beta
Download the “Web Installer” from the tweet embedded below. Web Installer will check your system, and then automatically download the best suitable version.
For the sake of completeness, I'll link the web-installer and 2 full installers.
— ADeltaX (@ADeltaXForce) May 8, 2019
Open the web installer, which is about 1.47MB in size with administrator privileges. To do that, right click on the file, and then select “Run as administrator”. The setup will open and start downloading the installation files and automatically install the Beta version. As part of the installation, the setup will put the short cuts for the Beta version both in the Start menu as well as on the desktop.
How to get started with Microsoft Edge Beta
After the installation is done, open Microsoft Edge Beta with the newly created shortcut either on the desktop or in the Start menu.
As soon as you open the browser, a pop up appears asking if you want to use your data that is stored on Google Chrome (in case you have installed Google Chrome on the same device) or if you want to start from scratch. As part of the “Start with your data” option, Edge Beta automatically imports all bookmarks, history, and autofill data from the Google Chrome installation. It even showcases how the bookmarks will appear on Edge Beta when you toggle between “Start with your data” and “Start from scratch” options.
Users can also customize the import and syncing of the data with the help of an option on the same screen instead of clicking on the “Confirm” option. If you decide to customize than Edge Beta will give you options between different Chromium-based browsers installed on your system, the option of the profile that you want to take the data from and what data you want to import. The items to import include Bookmarks, saved passwords, browsing history, and autofill data. When you are done, just click on the “Confirm” button.
The next pop-up asks users to customize the look of the “New Tab” page along with an interactive preview of the three options provided. These options include “Inspirational”, “Informational”, and “Focused” and change the layout of the “New Tab” accordingly. Click the “Done” button when satisfied.
After briefly using the Beta version, it looks like everything works as intended in terms of features. The one thing that seems to not work properly is the “Sync” option for the extensions, history, bookmarks, autofill data, passwords and more between different devices. It is interesting to note that Chromium build on the latest Google Chrome version is 74 while the Chromium version on the Microsoft Edge Beta is 75.