Get to know the security features in Edge

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Windows 10 looks like it will ship with both Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft’s new Edge browser. So why should you use Edge over IE11? Because Edge is more secure — in fact, Microsoft has disabled several “legacy” technologies in an effort to ensure Edge doesn’t fall prey to the same (bad) reputation as IE.

Just the necessities

Edge is evocative of Google Chrome, but it’s even more minimal — mainly because it doesn’t currently allow any add-ons. Microsoft has removed several legacy IE technologies from Edge to create a secure browsing experience. These include Browser Helper Objects, toolbars, VBscript, VML, ActiveX, and Java.

Microsoft says it plans to bring a “modern, HTML/JS-based extension model” to Edge (similar to what exists in Chrome and Firefox), but not until later this year.

Private browsing

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Like most browsers, Edge has a private browsing feature called InPrivate. When you use InPrivate browsing, Edge will not store cookies, history, or temporary files from your session. To open a new InPrivate window, click the button and choose New InPrivate Window. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + P.

Advanced settings

Some of Edge’s security features can be turned on or off at your discretion from the Advanced settings menu. To manage these features, click the button, go to Settings, and click View advanced settings.

In the advanced settings menu, you can turn on features such as pop-up blocking, Do Not Track requests, and the SmartScreen Filter. SmartScreen, which was introduced in Internet Explorer 8, performs reputation checks on websites and protects against phishing. You can also choose how Edge deals with cookies (Block all cookies; Block only third-party cookies; Don’t block cookies) and saved form data/passwords.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To clear your browser history in Edge, go to Settings and, under Clear browsing data, click Choose what to clear. You can manually clear your browsing history, cookies and saved website data, cached data and files, download history, form data, passwords, media licenses, pop-up exceptions, location permissions, full screen permissions, and compatibility permissions. Choose the items you want to clear and click Clear.

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