In 18 days, Internet Explorer will turn 20 years old. But rather than celebrating with a new version, as it did for birthday number 15, Microsoft will be shoving IE away into an obscure folder with other legacy applications — you know, like Paint. Though the browser will live on, mostly for the sake of enterprise users, it will only receive security patches going forward (read: no new features or design changes). Just as important, it will no longer be the default browser in Windows. That honor now goes to Edge, a cleaner, leaner browser that makes its debut on Win 10. Microsoft hopes that with the name change, fresh design, smarter features and improved performance, Edge will be enough to convince people to set aside whatever negative impressions they may have had of Internet Explorer.
There’s not much to Edge’s design, and that’s a good thing. As in Chrome, there’s just one bar toward the top of the screen that doubles as the address box and search field. Nearby are self-explanatory icons for forward, back and refresh. Up in the upper-right corner, you’ll see four icons, which allow you to mark up a page (more on that later) or share a page (more on that later as well). The icon farthest to the left is where you’ll find your favorites, browsing history, downloads and your so-called Reading List, which I’ll tell you about shortly. Meanwhile, the icon all the way on the right brings up various settings, including the ability to swap out the default white theme for a black background. (I prefer the stock light one, but that’s just me.) Lastly, there are buttons just to the right of the address bar for adding favorites and entering Reading View. As with everything else here, these icons are exactly where you’d expect them to be, and even if you’re a first-time user, it should be obvious at a glance what these buttons are for.