Best Settings for Microsoft Edge

By default, Microsoft Edge is a bloated data and resource hog that most people use once to download Google Chrome. However, most don’t realize that Microsoft Edge can be configured to be the most efficient, secure, private, and easy to use browser for both macOS and Windows.

This tutorial will likely take at least an hour. I strongly urge you to read through all my comments in addition to the recommended settings for the best way to use the browser.

Last updated 5/14/24.

Computer Settings

Windows Only: Disable Microsoft Edge Tabs in Multitasking (Alt-Tab)

By default, Microsoft Edge shows all tabs as separate windows in the multitasking (alt-tab) menu. To disable this in Windows 11, open Settings > System > Multitasking > Alt + Tab and select “Open windows only.”

Browser Settings

In the top right corner of any browser window, press the three dots and select Settings (second from the bottom). Each subsequent subheading covers each page of Settings. Missing settings can be considered personal preference.

Profiles

Personally, I don’t like how browsers handle “profiles” and thus I only use one. I sign into my personal Microsoft Account so that my settings and extensions sync between computers. However, it should be noted that these instructions should be followed for each profile on each computer you use as some settings do not sync.

Sync

Turn on all options.

Microsoft Rewards

Earn Microsoft Rewards in Microsoft EdgeOff

Profile preferences

Automatic sign in on Microsoft EdgeOff

This setting is important to turn off as it may cause the browser to unintentionally sign in to a Microsoft Account and sync your settings. All other settings on this page will come down to personal preference.

Privacy, Search, and Services

Tracking PreventionOn, Strict
Always use “Strict” tracking prevention when browsing InPrivateOn
Send “Do Not Track” requestsOff
Allow sites to check if you have payment methods savedOff
Optional Diagnostic DataOff
Search and service improvementOff
Personalization & advertisingOff
Microsoft Defender SmartScreenOn
Block potentially unwanted appsOn
Website typo protectionOn
Use secure DNS to specify how to lookup the network address for websitesOn
Choose a service providerCloudflare
Enhance your security on the webOn, Strict
Always use “Strict” level of enhanced security when browsing InPrivateOn
Microsoft Edge Secure NetworkOff
Use a web service to help resolve navigation errorsOff
Suggest similar sites when a website can’t be foundOff
Save time and money with Shopping in Microsoft EdgeOff
Show Collections and follow content creators in Microsoft EdgeOff
Show suggestions to follow creators in Microsoft EdgeOff
Get notified when creators you follow post new contentOff
Get notifications of related things you can explore with DiscoverOff
Include related matches in Find on pageSee below
Let Microsoft Edge help keep your tabs organizedOff
Address bar and searchSee below
Save screenshots of sites for historyOff

Include related matches in Find on page

I like this feature because it greatly improves the usefulness of the “Find” feature, but it does send your searches to Microsoft.

Address Bar and search

Search engine used in the address bar.Google
Search on new tabs uses search box or address barAddress bar
Search suggestions and filtersSee below

Search suggestions and filters

I prefer to leave these all on because they improve search suggestions when typing in the address bar. However, they do have the potential to leak data to your search engine of choice before you submit your search query.

Appearance

These options are my personal preferences, though I believe these options are what make Edge stand out from other browsers.

Overall AppearanceSystem Default
ThemeDefault
Try the new look and feel of Microsoft EdgeOn
Page zoom100%
Show tab actions menuOn
Hide title bar while in vertical tabsOn
Show vertical tabs for all current browser windowsSee below
Show profile icon in the title barOff
Show profile type in the profile buttonOn
Show WorkspacesOff
Show favorites barOnly on New Tabs
Home buttonOff
Forward buttonShow automatically
Extensions buttonAlways Show
Favorites buttonOff
Collections buttonOff
Split screen buttonOn
History buttonOff
Apps buttonOff
Downloads buttonOn
Browser essentials buttonOff
Screenshot buttonOff
Learning toolkit buttonOff
Share buttonOff
Feedback buttonOff
Show sidebar buttonOn
Hover menuSee below
Show mini menu when selecting textOff
Pressing Tab on a webpage highlights links, as well as form fieldsOn
Show warning before quittingOff
Ask before closing a window with multiple tabsOff
Use double-click to close browser tabsOff
Enable Split ScreenSee below

Vertical tabs

Vertical tabs is a feature that moves the tab bar to the left side of the browser.. If you’re interested, press “Turn On.”

Hover menu

Show hover menu on image hoverOff
Show Visual Search in context menuOn

Sidebar

I don’t like the sidebar in Microsoft Edge, especially how it integrates Microsoft Copilot. However, there are some useful tools that I use occasionally that keep me from turning it off entirely. This is how I have it set up.

Show sidebar buttonOn
Always show sidebarOff
Personalize my top sites in customize sidebarOff
Allow sidebar apps to show notificationsOff
Other appsUncheck all

Then, open the sidebar and remove all apps except Tools and Drop. Tools offers a calculator, dictionary/thesaurus, and a unit converter which can be nice to have at the ready. Drop is like a text message chain with yourself where you can send text, links, and files to your other devices using Edge.

Start, home, and new tabs

When Edge startsOpen tabs from the previous session
Show home button on the toolbarOff
New Tab PageSee below

New Tab Page

I strongly dislike the default new tab page in Edge. Later in this tutorial, we will install Momentum, an extension that provides a much more appealing new tab experience.

Split Screen

This blatantly plagiarized feature from Arc allows two tabs to be displayed side by side in one window. It provides a much cleaner experience than having two open windows. To try it out, click the split screen button in the toolbar. In the right pane, you’ll be given the option to select another tab that’s already open or to visit a new website.

Once you select a tab, you can revert to a single pane without closing either tab by pressing the split screen button again. You can also hover over the top right corner of either pane to reveal an options (three dots) button and a close (x) button. Inside the options menu, you can choose to swap sides, exit split screen, or even use the right pane to open links from the left pane.

Share, Copy, and Paste

URL copy & paste format defaultPlain Text
Use the format selected above when copying links within web pagesOn

These settings are important because Microsoft Edge tries to format copied links, which in most cases does more harm then good when trying to share links.

Cookies and Site Permissions

Manage and delete cookies and site data

Allow sites to save and read cookie data (recommended)On
Block third-party cookiesOn
Preload pages for faster browsing and searchingOff

Blocking third-party cookies helps prevent cross-site tracking, but also may break authentication on older websites. Fortunately, Microsoft Edge provides a button in the URL bar to quickly re-enable third-party cookies on websites that are broken by this feature. Preloading pages can cause unintentional data leakage.

All permissions

LocationAsk first
CameraAsk first
MicrophoneAsk first
Motion or light sensorsAllow
NotificationsBlocked
JavaScriptAllowed
ImagesShow all
Pop-ups and redirectsBlocked
Intrusive adsBlocked
Background syncDo not allow
Automatic downloadsAsk
Protocol handlersDon’t allow
MIDI device control & reprogramAsk
Zoom levelsN/A
USB devicesAsk
Serial portsAsk
File editingAsk
PDF documentsSee below
Picture in picture controlEnabled
Magnify imageEnabled
ClipboardAsk
Payment handlersDon’t allow
Media autoplayBlock
Insecure contentN/A
Virtual realityAsk
Augmented realityAsk
Your device useDon’t allow
Application linksDisable
Window managementDon’t allow
FontsAsk

These are the default permissions that get applied to any new sites you visit. Feel free to change these as you see fit.

PDF documents

Always download PDF filesOff
PDF view settingsOn

Microsoft Edge’s built in PDF viewer is one of the biggest benefits of Edge in my opinion. It integrates well with websites, allows temporary downloads of PDFs that automatically delete upon closing the browser, and has decent editing options. It’s based on Chromium’s viewer so it is compatible with most fillable PDFs but is significantly more visually appealing and functional than Chrome’s.

Default Browser

Set Microsoft Edge to be your default browser. On Windows, ensure Edge is also your default PDF viewer.

Downloads

LocationSet to your preferred downloads folder
Ask me what to do with each downloadOn
Open Office files in the browserOff
Show downloads menu when a download startsOn

This does not only improve the functionality of the browser, but it improves security too. By asking what to do with each download, you have a chance to block files you did not intend to download. For each download, you are given the choice to Open, which creates a temporary copy that gets deleted when the browser is closed, Save As, which lets you choose where to save the file, and Save, which saves the file to your default downloads folder as selected above.

Family Safety

Do not change any settings here.

Languages

Offer to translate pages that aren’t in a language I readOn
Use Compose (AI-writing) on the webOn
Use text predictionOn
Enable grammar and spellcheck assistanceOn, Microsoft Editor
Use synonyms for spelling suggestionsOn
Customize dictionarySee below
Share additional operating system regionLimited

I find these options very helpful for writing on the web, but you may want to disable some of the features that send data to Microsoft. You may need to install the Microsoft Editor extension before the option to enable it appears, which we will do later in this tutorial. Customize dictionary allows you to add your own words, such as uncommon names or brands, to spellcheck.

Printers

Do not change any settings here.

System and Performance

Use graphics acceleration when availableOn
Enhance videos in Microsoft EdgeOff
Efficiency modeSee below
Save resources with sleeping tabsOn
Fade sleeping tabsOn
Put inactive tabs to sleep after the specified amount of time:1 hour
Performance detectorOn
Use F12 key to open the Developer toolsOn if desired

Efficiency mode works very well but it should be left off unless you have low battery. It should never be turned on if you have a Desktop computer as it hinders websites’ ability to operate at full capacity.

Reset Settings

Do not change any settings here.

Phone and Other Devices

I have Microsoft Edge on my iPhone because you can share text, links, and files to Drop from the share sheet. As mentioned above, Drop is a “chat with yourself” that you can access from the sidebar.

Accessibility

Default settings are sufficient unless you need to change anything based on personal need.

About Microsoft Edge

Check this page frequently for updates to Microsoft Edge to keep your computer secure.

Extensions

Click the Extensions menu (puzzle piece) in the toolbar and select Manage Extensions. Enable “Allow extensions from other stores.” in the left sidebar.

1Password

Download from: Microsoft Edge Add-ons Store

1Password is my prefered password manager. It does not require additional setup beyond the installation of the extension and desktop app. This extension requires that you install it from the web store belonging to the browser you use it in (in this case, the Microsoft Edge Add-ons Store).

Microsoft Editor

Download from: Microsoft Edge Add-ons Store

Microsoft Editor is practically a free (and less annoying) copy of Grammarly. Premium features are free with any work or school Microsoft Account, so make sure to sign in with one of those accounts after installing the extension. Note that if you left “Automatic sign in on Microsoft Edge” enabled earlier in this tutorial, your Edge profile will become associated with that account.

Momentum

Download from: Microsoft Edge Add-ons Store

Momentum is a replacement for the new tab page in Microsoft Edge. Note that Edge may try to disable the extension immediately after installation because most extensions that replace your new tab page are malicious. You can create an account to sync settings or remain signed out during installation. After the very short onboarding process, you will have a beautiful new tab page with a background image that changes every day. This extension recommends that you install it from the web store belonging to the browser you use it in (in this case, the Microsoft Edge Add-ons Store).

Privacy Badger

Download from: Microsoft Edge Add-ons Store

Privacy Badger works to automatically detect and block new trackers before other extensions add them to blacklists. Its default settings are sufficient, but you must complete the tutorial/onboarding or else it will reappear each time you open the browser.

Important: this extension can break some websites, such as online banking. To disable it temporarily, click on the Extensions menu in the toolbar, select Privacy Badger, and select Disable for this site. The page will immediately be reloaded, so don’t press it if you have unsaved changes. If disabling doesn’t fix the issue, remember to re-enable it using the same process to maximize privacy.

uBlock Origin

Download from: Microsoft Edge Add-ons Store

uBlock Origin is the best multipurpose blocker (ad blocker) by a large margin. All other ad blockers should be uninstalled to prevent interference that may cause data leakage and other incompatibilies. Note that uBlock Origin is NOT the same as uBlock.

Important: this extension can break some websites, such as news sites that use “anti-adblock.” To disable it temporarily, click on the Extensions menu in the toolbar, select uBlock Origin, click the large power button, then press the reload button that appears next to it. The page will immediately be reloaded, so don’t press it if you have unsaved changes. If disabling doesn’t fix the issue, remember to re-enable it using the same process to maximize privacy.

Once the extension is installed, click on the Extensions menu in the toolbar, select uBlock Origin, and select the Settings (cogs) icon in the bottom right. The following subheadings represent the tabs at the top of the uBlock Origin settings page.

Settings

Enable cloud storage supportOn

Turn this setting on if you use multiple devices with Microsoft Edge. Default settings are sufficient for the rest of the page.

Filter lists

Note that you may need to press the chevron (arrow) to expand and see all options within the following sections.

Auto-update filter listsOn
Suspend network activity until all filter lists are loadedOn
Parse and enforce cosmetic filtersOn
Ignore generic cosmetic filtersOff
Built-inCheck all
AdsCheck all
PrivacyCheck all
Malware protection, securityCheck all
MultipurposeCheck all
Cookie noticesCheck all
Social widgetsCheck desired
AnnoyancesCheck all
Regions, languagesCheck desired
CustomCheck all

uBlock Origin is extremely efficient, but the more filters, the worse performance you’ll get. Thus, you don’t need to turn on region-specific filters for regions you do not live in/access frequently.

Important: these settings will block cookie notices. Later in this tutorial, we will install a plugin that deletes cookies you don’t need. Thus, the cookie notices in which you allow or deny the storage of cookies are unnecessary. However, if you choose not to install that extension later on, you may want to leave those notices unblocked.

Make sure you press “Apply changes” and “Update now” at the top of the page. You can now close uBlock Origin’s settings as all other default settings are sufficient.

Auto Quality for YouTube™

Download from: Chrome Web Store

This extension allows you to encourage YouTube to use the maximum quality for all videos. After installing it, visit YouTube.com. Then, click the Extensions menu in the toolbar, select Auto Quality for YouTube™, and select your desired Default Quality. It’s unnecessary to select anything higher than your monitor’s resolution.

It’s a good practice to prevent extensions from accessing websites it doesn’t need access to. Visit YouTube.com, click on the Extensions menu in the toolbar, click the three dots to the right of Auto Quality for YouTube™, hover over This Can Read and Change Site Data, and select “on youtube.com.”

Chrome Remote Desktop

Download from: Chrome Web Store

The Chrome Remote Desktop extension is only necessary if you intend to use the current computer as a Chrome Remote Desktop host. As this is an uncommon use case for most people, I’ve omitted detailed instructions on how to set it up. However, if you are not very technologically inclined, Chrome Remote Desktop is an extremely useful tool for allowing access to your computer to trusted friends and relatives for remote assistance.

Important: never, under any circumstance, allow remote access to anyone you do not know personally and trust in real life.

T0 set up Chrome Remote Desktop for remote support, visit remotedesktop.google.com/support and follow the provided instructions.

Chrometana Pro – Redirect Cortana and Bing

Download from: Chrome Web Store

This simple extension redirects any Bing searches to Google, such as searches initiated from the Windows Start menu.

After installing this extension, click the Extensions menu in the toolbar and select Chrometana Pro. Check the box to enable the extension, then set it to redirect Cortana and Bing to Google. You can then close the settings page.

Cookie AutoDelete

Download from: Chrome Web Store

This fantastic extension deletes unnecessary cookies after closing websites. Cookies are small records that websites can store on your computer so that they can be retrieved next time you visit that site. While they are necessary for logins and web apps, they provide websites significant potential to track you.

There’s a small learning curve as you will need to slightly change how you use the internet, but it’s a great way to improve online privacy. This extension works in tandem with uBlock Origin, which we configured earlier in this article to block cookie notices.

If you’re not using Microsoft Edge for the first time, you’ll want to delete all your current cookies first. Note that you will be temporarily signed out of any websites you use frequently, like your email account. Click the three dots in the top right corner of any browser window and select Settings. Select Cookies and Site Permissions in the left sidebar, then click the first submenu to “Manage and delete cookies and site data.” Next, click the fourth option down called “All cookies and site data” and press “Remove All” in the top right.

Next, click on the Extensions menu in the toolbar and select Cookie AutoDelete. Click “Auto-clean disabled” to change it to enabled. If desired, disable notifications which are enabled by default, which notify you each time cookies are removed.

Important: this is how your regular use of your web browser will change. Within the extension, notice how there are options to greylist and whitelist the current website you’re visiting. Any website that requires you to log in to will need to be whitelisted, otherwise you will be asked to log in every time you visit it. To whitelist a website, simply click the blue whitelist button next to the option that begins with an asterisk (*). The asterisk is called a wildcard and means it will apply to any subdomain of the current site. Generally, this will cause the least issues.

In the extension, you can also select settings at the top middle. The default settings are sufficient, but take note of the “List of Expressions” page in the left sidebar. You can use this to remove sites from the whitelist as well as add new ones that you cannot visit directly (and thus cannot whitelist it from the extension popup), such as certain SSO authenticators.

If you made it this far, you’re past the hard part! The rest of the extensions on this list require minimal setup and don’t have a learning curve. You’re on your way to a much improved browser experience.

Google Docs Offline

Download from: automatically installed after using Google Docs

This extension is extremely self-explanatory. Leave it enabled if you use Google Docs as it allows you to continue editing if your internet connection drops.

Return YouTube Dislike

Download from: Chrome Web Store

This fantastic extension brings back a long-lost feature of YouTube: the dislike counter. It syncs with other users of the extension to provide an up-to-date dislike count for any video. This is especially useful for tutorial videos: if there is a disproportionately high number of dislikes, the video probably isn’t worth your time! No additional setup is necessary after installation.

Tasks for Canvas™

Download from: Chrome Web Store

This extension adds a to-do list to the Canvas dashboard similar to the mobile app. Canvas is a learning management system used by many educational institutions. No additional setup is necessary after installation.

Video Speed Controller

Download from: Chrome Web Store

This simple extension adds a speed control to the top left of any video on the web. Note that it can sometimes be detected by educational sites in which you are required to watch an entire video.

WaspLine Reader

Download from: Chrome Web Store

This extension is a free and open source version of BeeLine Reader, which creates a color gradient on web content. Your mileage may vary, but I find that it helps me read faster. After installing the extension, click on the Extensions menu in the toolbar and select WaspLine Reader. Check the box to enable or disable the extension when desired and change colors as necessary, as they do not automatically update in dark mode. The default color scheme is very American.

Windowed – floating Youtube/every website

Download from: Chrome Web Store

This poorly named extension is extremely useful for multitasking and screen sharing. It replaces the default functionality of the full screen button when playing videos. With the extension installed, when you click full screen on a video, you are now given the option to watch the video in full screen, in a popout window, within the current window, or in Chrome’s picture in picture feature. Below is an example of what the “In-window” option looks like. Effectively, it’s the full screen interface inside a standard window.

Youtube-shorts block

Download from: Chrome Web Store

This extension blocks the ugly YouTube Shorts interface and suggested Shorts on your YouTube feed. No additional setup is necessary after installation.

uBlacklist

Download from: Chrome Web Store

This extension adds a “Block this site” option to Google Search. In an age of AI garbage flooding Google Search results, this extension can help filter out sites you never want to see (goodbye forever, Quora). Note that this extension is unrelated to the similarly named uBlock Origin. No additional setup is necessary after installation.

Future Changes and Alternatives

I will update this article as soon as possible with new settings and options.

Arc and Orion are new browsers that try to fundamentally change how you use the web. While both are promising, I don’t believe they are sufficient replacements yet. Having the backing of Microsoft and Google’s Chromium platform makes Edge one of the most universally compatible and seamless browsers to use today.

The Chromium project’s plan to implement Manifest V3 will significantly inhibit privacy enhancing and ad blocking extensions like uBlock Origin. While its implementation has been put on hold, it will require significant reconsideration of the best browser to use (likely Firefox).

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions in the comments!

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