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 their 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 will see between Chromium Edge and the original Microsoft Edge is plugin support. Edge suffered from a lack of plugins, especially at launch, while Chromium Edge works with most Chrome extensions. If you're moving to Chromium Edge from Chrome, that means you should be able to use all of 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 they also replace a large number of Chromium services with their own versions. They also simply turn 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 impact 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 always 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 pretty painless to give it a try. It's a free download, and the process works basically the same regardless of whether you're using Windows 10, 8, or 7.

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

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

    A screenshot of the 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 your version of Windows to download the appropriate version of Chromium Edge.

    A screenshot of downloading Chromium Edge.
  4. Read the software license terms and click Accept and download.

    A screenshot of the new Microsoft Edge software license terms.
  5. Select the folder where you would like to download the Edge installer, and click Save.

    A screenshot of saving the Microsoft Edge installer.
  6. Wait for the download to complete, and then run the MicrosoftEdgeSetup.exe file that you just downloaded.

    A screenshot of the Microsoft Edge downloader file in Chrome.

    You can just 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 will launch automatically when it finishes.

    A screenshot of Chromium-Powered Microsoft Edge downloading.

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.

    A screenshot of the initial Chromium Edge setup.
  2. Choose a layout for your new tab page by clicking Inspirational, Informational, or Focused, and then click Confirm.

    A screenshot of new 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.

    A screenshot of getting started with Chromium Edge.

    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. Click Confirm to continue.

    A screenshot of the Chromium Edge data sharing opt-in.

    If you don't want to share browsing history with Microsoft, switch the toggle to No before you click Confirm.

  5. Chromium Edge is now ready to use.

    A screenshot of Chromium Edge.

    If you had any Edge extensions that have Chromium-compatible versions, you may see a message in the upper right hand corner that they have been installed. If any of your extensions don't make the transmission, you will need to 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 really 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.

    A screenshot of Chromium Edge.
  2. Select Favorites > Import.

    A screenshot of Chromium Edge.
  3. Choose which browser to import from, select the type of data to import, and click Import.

    A screenshot of importing data into Chromium Edge.
  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.