Microsoft has been criticised for forcing its new Chromium Edge browser on users, with the app being automatically downloaded, pinned and placed on the desktop without an option to remove it.

The software giant announced the new browser, which is replacing the existing Edge browser, last year and began rolling it out at the start of the year, initially targeted at enterprise users.

But last week the tech giant started to deliver the new browser through automatic updates on devices running Windows 10, and in a very intrusive fashion that has angered many users, as The Verge reports.

The update is for the new Microsoft Edge for Windows 10, version 1803, 1809, 1903, 1909 and 2004 is automatically downloaded.

Upon re-launch and log-in, the full-screen pop-up has been appearing on devices introducing them to the new Chromium Edge browser.
This goes through the basic setup and starts the process of importing data from another browser to Edge in the background. There does not appear to be an easy way to stop this or close the setup window.

The Edge shortcut has also been pinned to the taskbar in the first slot, with the icon also dropped directly onto the desktop without consulting the user.

The user is also prompted to make the new browser their default browser.

The tactic is deliberate from Microsoft and was dubbed the “First Run Experience” in the update notes, explaining it will auto-launch the first time a device restarts after the new Microsoft Edge is installed.

“The new Microsoft Edge does not support the removal of this update,” the notes said.

The intrusive nature of the update, which can be seen as mimicking annoying online pop-ads or malware, has been criticised by Microsoft users and tech journalists, with The Verge writer Sean Hollister saying the update “sank to a new low”.

“If I told you that my entire computer screen just got taken over by a new app that I’d never installed or asked for – it just magically appeared on my desktop, my taskbar, and pre-empted my next website launch – you’d probably tell me to run a virus scanner and stay away from shady websites, no?” Hollister wrote.

“But the insanely intrusive app I’m talking about isn’t a piece of ransomware. It’s Microsoft’s new Chromium Edge browser, which the company is now force-feeding users via an automatic update to Windows.”

The new Chromium Microsoft Edge marks a big change for the tech giant’s default browser.

“Microsoft has released a new Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge,” the company said.

“This new version provides best in class compatibility with extensions and websites.

“Additionally, this new version provides great support for the latest rendering capabilities, modern web applications and powerful developer tools across all supported OS platforms.”

From the end of this month, the new update will also be rolled out to a range of education and business Microsoft users.

Previously, users could only manually download the new browser, but it is now becoming increasingly available and even forced upon some owners of devices running Windows 10.