The one feature Microsoft Edge, the new browser featured in Windows 10, has been missing is extensions. In preparation of the next major Windows 10 upgrade, code-named Redstone, Microsoft has just released a new Insider Preview build. The most exciting new feature of build 14291 is browser extensions for Microsoft Edge.
Let us show you how to install Microsoft Edge extensions, which extensions are available right now, and how you can manually port extensions from Chrome to Edge.
The Long Wait for Edge Extensions
The wait is over, extensions for Microsoft Edge have landed. Drew DeBruyne, General Manager for Microsoft Edge, explains his team’s vision for Edge extensions.
Since the beginning of the Microsoft Edge project, our roadmap has always included extensions in order to support a vibrant community of developer innovation on top of the browser, enabling new and interesting scenarios for our customers.
He also hints at what might have caused the delay; extensions can compromise security, unless properly implemented.
[O]ne of our highest priorities is to ensure that Microsoft Edge is the safest, most reliable and fastest browser we could build. (…) With this in mind, we have built Microsoft Edge so customers can add extensions to the browser with the confidence that they will operate as expected.
This may also explain the limited number of extensions on offer right now. That said, the Microsoft Edge Team emphasized that they are participating in the creation of a standard API for browser extensions, an initiative led by the W3C Browser Extensions Community Group. In theory, this standard will make it easier for developers to build cross-browser extensions.
Meanwhile, the installation process for Edge extensions is rather convoluted, but end users can expect a more streamlined experience.
Initially our Insiders will download and then sideload extensions for testing purposes, but ultimately we will make extensions available to all of our customers via the Windows Store to ensure the quality of the end-to-end experience.
Where to Find Edge Extensions
In the Edge browser, click More (the three dots in a row) in the top right, choose Extensions, and the respective pane will open. Pin this pane for later. At first, you won’t see anything here, except for the option to Get extensions or Load extension.
Clicking the former will send you to the Windows Developer website, from where you can currently download three extensions:
- Microsoft Translator
Allows you to translate over 50 foreign languages. Click the icon in the Edge address bar to translate the page you’re on to your current Windows language.
- Reddit Enhancement Suite
Enhance your Reddit browsing experience with this collection of modules.
- Mouse Gestures
Lets you perform basic browsing tasks, like scrolling or opening and closing tabs, with your mouse.
You can expect to find more extensions on this page soon. Drew DeBruyne announced that extensions from Amazon, LastPass, and Evernote — among others — were in the pipeline. Although not an extension, one other app that now works with Edge — also for those of you running the mainstream version of Windows 10 — is WhatsApp Web.
How to Install Extensions
To install an extension, you first need to download and install its EXE file. Run the executable to install the extension on your computer. Once completed, a README text file will pop up to give you more information about the respective Edge extension, including the folder name the extension was extracted to.
Note that you can move the folders containing your extension, but you should use Cut & Paste or Drag & Drop — rather than Copy & Paste — to move them.
When you’re happy with where your extensions are stored, return to Edge and open More > Extensions, click Load extension, browse to the respective location, and click Select Folder. If you’re going to load more than one extension, remember to Pin the Extensions pane.
To uninstall an extension, select it from the Extensions pane and click the Remove button. Further questions around extensions for Microsoft Edge are addressed in Microsoft’s Extensions FAQ.
Unofficial Edge Extensions
Tweeten, the desktop client for TweetDeck, recently announced an Edge extension, which they ported from Chrome.
Tweeten for @MicrosoftEdge is here for Windows 10!
— Tweeten (@TweetenApp) March 18, 2016
Turn Off the Lights, which lets you dim anything surrounding the Flash or HTML5 video you’re watching, has released its Edge extension on GitHub.
— Turn Off the Lights (@TurnOfftheLight) March 18, 2016
How to Port Extensions from Chrome to Edge
According to author Eric Lawrence, it only requires a few tweaks to convert a Chrome extension into one that will work with Firefox or Edge.
So this is how you make your Chrome extension work in Firefox and Edge with minimal tweaks: pic.twitter.com/4Z1IGGIWmf
— Eric Lawrence ? (@ericlaw) March 18, 2016
Reddit user silviub88 was able to load extensions without any modifications to the scripts, though he did have to give permission to the respective directory. Like Microsoft Edge engineer Jacob Rossi, he notes that not all APIs are supported, hence not all extensions — even if you can load them — will work. Fortunately, a porting tool for Chrome extensions is on the way.
Lots of questions on this: yes we're working on a porting tool to run Chrome extensions in Edge. Not yet finished and not all APIs supported
— Jacob Rossi (@jacobrossi) March 18, 2016
Silviub88 explains the manual process in more detail, using the BetterTTV extension as an example. Obviously, the extension first needs to be downloaded using Chrome.
You can do everything yourself, no need to upload anything.
- In CMD, execute: icacls %localappdata%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ajopnjidmegmdimjlfnijceegpefgped\6.8_0 /grant “*S-1-15-2-3624051433-2125758914-1423191267-1740899205-1073925389-3782572162-737981194″:”(OI)(CI)(WDAC,WO,GE)”
- In Edge, Load Extensions from directory %localappdata%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ajopnjidmegmdimjlfnijceegpefgped\6.8_0
NOTE: If you have a different version of BTTV, replace 6.8_0 with whatever the version number is, however I would expect it to be this one.
Browsing on the Edge
Some say Windows 10 should never have launched with an incomplete browser.
Maybe this is just Microsoft’s new strategy: to maintain continued interest in Windows 10 by drip-feeding you novel and potentially exciting content and never quite letting you know what to expect. More importantly, you’re always craving for your next fix. From a psychology point of view this is brilliant.
Or maybe Microsoft just wanted to get everything right this time.
Whatever the reason, it took Microsoft a long time to release extensions for Microsoft Edge. Right now, the installation process is rather convoluted and only three officially tested extensions are available. However, by the time most consumers get hold of this new feature, as part of the Windows 10 Redstone upgrade expected in mid 2016, we should see a good selection of Edge extensions and an easier way to install them.
Which extensions would you like to see and would any make you switch from Chrome to Microsoft Edge? Have you found other Edge extensions or have you ported one yourself? Please share with us in the comments!