How to manage security and privacy in the new Microsoft Edge browser

There's a new version of Microsoft Edge in town based on Chromium. Here's how to manage the browser's security and privacy settings.

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Image: Microsoft

With the new Chromium version of Microsoft Edge comes new settings that allow you to better control your privacy and security. You can choose how to manage your browser data, browse sites in a private mode, block ad trackers through preset options, and control a range of site permissions. 

Microsoft released the new version of Edge on January 15, 2020, for Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, and Windows 7, so you should already have it by now; if not, browse to Microsoft's website to download the new Microsoft Edge based on Chromium. Click the button to Get The New Microsoft Edge Now. In Windows 10, the new version of Edge will automatically replace the old legacy version. Open Edge from the Desktop or Taskbar.

SEE: How to protect against 10 common browser threats (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

How to automatically delete browsing data in Edge when your session ends

Let's say you wish to open a website in private mode, which means any cookies and other browsing data collected will disappear when your session ends. 

  1. Click the Ellipses icon in the upper right corner to access the More Actions menu. 

  2. Click the entry for New InPrivate Window. 

  3. Read the information about using this mode, and open the site you wish to use (Figure A). 

  4. Close the tab for the InPrivate Window once you're done.

Figure A

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How to clear your existing browsing history and data in Edge

Clear your existing browsing history and data so that information is no longer available. You should always do this on a public computer, but you may also want to do this on your own computer if it's accessible to other people.

  1. Click the Ellipses icon, select History, and then select the command to Clear Browsing Data. 

  2. At the Clear Browsing Data window, review the different types of data, and check any you want to delete.

  3. At the top of the window, click the drop-down for Time Range, and select the range covering the data you want to remove: Last Hour, Last 24 Hours, and so on. 

  4. Click the Clear Now button to remove the data (Figure B).

Figure B

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How to block and unblock website trackers in Edge

  1. Click the Ellipses icon, select Settings, and then click Privacy And Services.

  2. The first option to manage is Tracking Prevention. This controls how websites track your browsing activity, typically for the purpose of serving you targeted ads. The new version of Edge offers three preset options under Tracking Prevention: Basic, Balanced, and Strict. The Basic option blocks known harmful trackers but allows most other trackers. The Strict option blocks almost all trackers but may prevent certain websites or parts of websites from working correctly. Balanced provides a middle ground. You may want to try Strict to start and see if you have trouble accessing certain sites. If so, bump it down to Balanced (Figure C).

    Figure C

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  3. Click Blocked Trackers to see which trackers have been blocked according to your settings (Figure D).

  4. Figure D

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  5. Return to the Privacy And Services screen.

If you need to use a specific site that's blocked or not working properly, you can unblock it.

  1. Click Exceptions, then click the button to Add A Site. 
  2. Type the site's URL, and click Add.

SEE: The Internet of Wild Things: Technology and the battle against biodiversity loss and climate change (TechRepublic)

How to control what browsing data is deleted when you close Edge

  1. Move down to Clear Browsing Data.

  2. Click the link to Manage Your Privacy Settings to learn more about your privacy options in Edge and with Microsoft in general. 

  3. Click the entry for Choose What To Clear Every Time You Close The Browser, then turn on the switches for any data types you wish to remove each time you shut down Edge (Figure E).

Figure E

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How to manage your privacy settings in Edge

  1. In the Privacy section, click the link to Learn More About These Settings to find out more about Edge and your browsing data.

  2. Leave the options for Send "Do Not Track" Requests and "Allow Sites To Check If You Have Payment Info Saved turned off. Do Not Track requests aren't widely supported at this point and aren't very effective. Letting sites check for saved payment info allows them to look for saved credit card or debit card information in Edge, a potential risk.

How to manage your advertising settings in Edge

  1. Move down to Personalize Your Web Experience. This is where you should decide whether you want Microsoft to use your browsing history for targeted ads and a more personalized experience with certain services. 

  2. Click the link to Learn More About Other Microsoft Ad Settings, and decide for yourself how to best manage this.

How to manage web services to improve the browsing experience in Edge

  1. Under Privacy And Services, click the option for Address Bar. 

  2. Review Show Me Search And Site Suggestions Using My Typed Characters. With this setting enabled, any characters you type in a search engine are sent to that engine to offer suggestions. With this setting disabled, the characters you type are not shared, and only suggestions from your favorites and history will appear (Figure F).

Figure F

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How to manage your site permissions in Edge

  1. To review the different types of permissions granted through Edge, click Site Permissions in the left sidebar under Settings. You can view and control permissions for cookies, location, camera, microphone, JavaScript, Adobe Flash, and more.

  2. Click each option, and decide if you wish to leave the default values in place or change them to allow, block, or ask you first. If in doubt, you can block certain permissions, except ones such as Cookies And Site Data and Images. If you run into trouble viewing certain websites or content, you can change the values to Allowed or Ask First (Figure G).

Figure G

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Also see