IT’S GEEK TO ME: Don’t use a wrecking ball to swat a fly
Q: Turning on my computer this morning, Microsoft Edge had been installed overnight. I did a system restore and got rid of it. I don't think I want it. Am I wrong? Can I keep it from happening again?
– Nancy C., Fort Walton Beach
A: You are among a handful of people I’ve heard from recently that have used the System Restore feature to accomplish a relatively minor task like this. That’s a lot like swatting a fly with a wrecking ball. Sure, the fly is gone, but you have no control over the collateral damage your action does. When you load a previous restore point, you’re effectively wiping out all of the changes that were applied to your machine since the time at which the restore point was created. The lost changes could be minor, or they could include important updates necessary for the continued safe functioning of your computer. Best case, your computer is now going to have to spend time and bandwidth downloading and installing stuff again. And yes, that includes the item you removed. Restore should be the last thing you try to fix a problem, rather than the first, and it shouldn’t be used for something as unremarkable as uninstalling a software component.
You asked, “Am I wrong?” Well, I’m certainly not going to pass judgment on you for making a personal choice about the configuration of your personal computer. So, while I won’t say that you’re “wrong” per se, I will go so far as to say that it was not necessary to remove Edge. Multiple browsers can live quite happily on your computer. In fact, even when Windows 10 was new on your machine, you probably had at least two: Edge and Internet Explorer, or IE. If you don’t want to use Edge, then don’t use it. Simply set your default browser to something else, and it won’t bother you.
However, I think it’s important to know that the Edge browser that was installed is not the same one that Microsoft released back in July of 2015 as a replacement for IE. That original version of Edge turned out to be slow, packed with fluff that nobody wanted, and it didn’t support browser extensions, which most people did want. One thing that Edge did accomplish is to pave the way for the success of Google’s Chrome browser as an alternative.
The Edge that got installed for you recently is an “all new” version, which, in this Geek’s opinion, merited a new name to avoid potential confusion, so thanks, Bill! In creating this new browser, Microsoft did something that is a significant departure from the behavior of this company that’s long been known for its scratch-developed proprietary software: they built it on someone else’s code base. In this case, the new Edge is built upon the open-source Chromium source code originally developed by Google. The new Edge is said to have overcome the speed problems of both its predecessor and those of Google Chrome. It uses less RAM than the old Edge, and, in the spirit of correcting old wrongs, the new Edge has the ability to add browser extensions that allow you, the end user, to build the custom browsing experience that’s right for you. There’s more, but suffice it to say that this is a significant departure from the Edge you think you know, and is certainly worthy of giving it the once-over before deciding if you want to chuck it.
Microsoft’s plans to deliver the new browser were to automatically push it out to all devices that use Windows Update. That’s not something over which you usually have a lot of control. However, in the spirit of fully answering you question, if you truly want to keep this new browser off your system, yes, there is a way to “keep it from happening again.” Microsoft actually has what it calls the Edge Blocker Toolkit that you can install to prevent automatic delivery of the new browser. Visit TinyURL.com/IGTM-0678 to read about it and obtain a copy.
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