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Edge in the Creators Update: improvements for enterprise admins and IT pros

A couple of weeks ago, Chakra, the rendering engine powering Microsoft's Edge browser, got a sizeable set of tweaks as part of the Creators Update. Those were implemented to improve JavaScript performance, as well as add support for new features. Not to be left in the dust, IT pros and enterprise administrators have now gotten a highlight of features in the latest version of Edge, which are specifically geared towards them.

In a post on the Edge Developer Blog, authored by Puneet Arora, Principal PM of Edge, underlines the fact that with Windows 10 version 1703 (Creators Update), the built-in browser was updated to EdgeHTML 15, which includes "a number of performance, security, and compatibility improvements".

The first category Arora highlights is management, where new policies have been added to improve management scenarios which would arise due to use of "Mobile Device Management (MDM), Microsoft Intune, and Group Policy". Specifically, this update brings into the fold some of the missing policies that have been requested via feedback from customers.

The initially highlighted set of policies concerns compatibility, with IT pros now being given the ability to sync favorites between Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge in real time, turn off or completely disable Adobe Flash in their organizations, as well as set Flash as "click to run".

Then, changes related to the overall experience have been brought to the fore, as admins will now be able to prevent the "First Run" page from opening in Edge, users instead being shepherded to their default page. There's also the option to configure the Start page via the "Configure Start pages" policy, as opposed to the previous iteration in which you were only able to lock down Start pages.

Search has gotten a few improvements of its own, with enterprise admins now being able to set up additional search engines, set a default search engine, or simply decide if they would allow their employees to change the default search engine or not.

Another new addition worth noting is the option to allow or disallow address bar drop-down suggested searches, as well as the possibility to enable the clearing of browsing data on exit. As this is not everything available, a full list of policies that can be implemented is present at this link.

Moving on to productivity-oriented tweaks, the choices to set tabs aside, as well as enable tab previews also get mentioned in passing, since these features "improve the overall experience of the browser".

In terms of the fundamental features of the browser, changes made to improve battery efficiency, increase speed, and provide better security via Arbitrary Code Guard and Code Integrity Guard are underlined. As a point of particular interest, Edge's Principal PM underlines that due to the refined sandbox, there had been a reduction of the "attack surface available by up to 90% in some areas".

While the main topic is about Edge, folks who are running IE11 and need to manage the sites added to Enterprise Mode (otherwise known as Compatibility Mode), can use the Enterprise Mode Site List Manager, if they have a short list of sites to manage. If the number of sites is relatively large, those same folks can use the Enterprise Mode Site List Portal.

From the looks of it, the new additions are meant to simply make life easier for those managing both Edge and IE11 in their organizations, at the same time allowing for more flexibility in individual browser customization.

Are you an enterprise admin or IT pro, and if so, what do you think of these new additions? Sound off in the comments below!

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