Chromium Edge: What It Is and How to Get It

Try out Microsoft Edge powered by Chromium

Chromium Edge is a version of Microsoft Edge that's built on Chromium instead of Microsoft's own web browser technology. Microsoft takes code from the open source Chromium project, adds its own features and user interface, and releases it as Microsoft Edge. Other browsers, like Chrome and Brave, are developed using this same method.

What Is Chromium Edge?

Microsoft Edge was launched alongside Windows 10 as a replacement for the venerable Internet Explorer web browser. It was originally built entirely on Microsoft's own technology until the launch of Chromium Edge, which is built on the same code base as Google Chrome, Brave, and Chrome Canary. In addition to Windows 10, 8, and 7, you can also get Microsoft's Chromium-based Edge browser for macOS, iOS, and Android.

The biggest difference that most people see between Chromium Edge and the original Microsoft Edge is plug-in support. Edge suffered from a lack of plug-ins, especially at launch, while Chromium Edge works with most Chrome extensions. If you're moving to Chromium Edge from Chrome, you should be able to use all your old extensions for a fairly seamless transition.

Installing Chromium Edge on a Windows computer.
 Rath Phl Chiy Thwil / EyeEm / Getty

How Is Chromium Edge Different From Chrome?

While Edge and Chrome are both based on the open source Chromium project, that doesn't mean the browsers are the same. Google adds a whole lot of stuff to Chromium before they release it as Chrome, including data-gathering mechanisms and the ability to sync between devices with your Google account.

Microsoft adds a lot of stuff on top of the basic Chromium code as well, but it also replace a large number of Chromium services with its own versions. Microsoft turns off some services. That's all under the hood though, so regular users are unlikely to notice most of the changes.

Things that you are likely to notice include more robust privacy settings that are laid out better and easier to understand than Chrome's privacy settings. Edge also seems to have less of an affect on system resources, specifically using less RAM, although your experience will vary depending on the sites you visit.

Edge defaults to the Bing search engine, while Chrome defaults to Google, but both browsers allow you to change that freely. Edge also points you toward a fairly sparse Edge Extension Library, but you're free to download extensions from the Chrome Web Store.

Microsoft's Chromium-based Edge also provides better support for streaming media, including the ability to stream 4K content from Netflix, although that feature is only available if you're using Windows 10.

How to Get Chromium Edge on Windows 10, 8, and 7

If you're ready to try out Microsoft's Chromium-based Edge browser on Windows, it's painless to give it a try. It's a free download, and the process works basically the same whether you're using Windows 10, 8, or 7.

  1. Go to microsoft.com/en-us/edge/.

  2. Click DOWNLOAD (or click the down arrowhead) button to view more options.

    Chromium Edge download page

    If you already see your version of Windows on this step, you can just click DOWNLOAD right now. If you visit using a different OS, the page will change the download to the OS you are using or direct you to the right store for download.

  3. Click DOWNLOAD for Windows 10 or select a different version of Windows from the list.

    Chromium Edge available versions
  4. Read the software license terms and click Accept and download.

    Microsoft Edge software license terms with Accept and download highlighted
  5. Select the folder where you would like to download the Edge installer, and click Save.

    Folder selected for Microsoft Edge installer and Save button
  6. Wait for the download to complete and then run the MicrosoftEdgeSetup.exe file that you just downloaded.

    Click the file from the download bar or manager in your current web browser or look for it in the folder that you chose during the previous step.

  7. Wait for Chromium Edge to finish installing. It launches automatically when it finishes.

Setting Up Chromium Edge

Chromium Edge automatically launches and starts the setup process as soon as you finish installing it. You can also come back to this process at a later time by closing Chromium Edge and opening it later.

Here's how to finish the Chromium Edge setup process:

  1. Click Get started.

    Initial Chromium Edge setup screen
  2. Choose a layout for your new tab page by clicking Inspirational, Informational, or Focused, and then click Confirm.

    Tab page options in Chromium Edge

    Inspirational provides beautiful background vistas, informational provides news on your new tab page, and focuses is a pared down experience with just the basics. You can change your choice at any time.

  3. Click Confirm if you're happy with the sync settings.

    Chromium Edge settings screen with Confirm highlighted.

    You can also switch sync off by clicking the toggle, or change the settings by clicking customize sync settings. If you switch sync settings off, you won't be able to share passwords, favorites, and other information between different computers and phones using Chromium Edge.

  4. If you don't want to share browsing history with Microsoft, switch the toggle to No. Click Confirm to continue.

    Option to share browsing data with Microsoft and the Confirm button

    

Chromium Edge is now ready to use.

If you had any Edge extensions that have Chromium-compatible versions, you may see a message in the upper right corner that they have been installed. If any of your extensions don't make the transmission, download them from the Chrome Web Store.

Import Your Bookmarks and Passwords Into Chromium Edge

If you find that your bookmarks, passwords, and other personal information didn't make the transition, it's easy to import everything into Chromium Edge from your old browser.

  1. Open Edge and click the three-dot icon in the upper right corner.

    Chromium Edge showing three-dot icon highlighted
  2. Select Favorites > Import.

    Favorites selected in the drop-down menu and Import highlighted
  3. Choose which browser to import from, check the box for each type of data to import, and click Import.

    Selection options for browser import information
  4. When the process has finished, click Done. Your passwords, bookmarks, and other information is now available in Chromium Edge.

    The success message after importing data into Chromium Edge