Edge is the default browser and there will be no Internet Explorer app comes with Windows 11. Unless you manually install Chrome or Firefox, you must use Edge for all your browsing activities. Hence, it is necessary to learn using Microsoft Edge browser for your safe and secure browsing. In this article, we will explain 10 tips to improve your privacy when using Microsoft Edge browser in Windows 11.
Website Tracking and Privacy
Almost all websites collect information when you visit the site. For example, websites use Google Analytics to find the traffic details like number of users, geographical locations, etc. Similarly, websites also track your browsing activities to serve personalized advertisements. When you open a web hosting related website, you will notice all other sites you visit start showing hosting related advertisements regardless of the content.
Though this will not disturb you in many situations, it depends on personal concerns. In addition, there are websites explicitly collect and sell your information to marketing agencies. Therefore, you should be cautious when providing any personal details online without appropriate knowledge.
Edge offers considerable number of settings that you can use to protect your privacy. Before we start, remember that privacy not only depends on the browser settings but also on your own activities. You should not wander around the internet clicking malicious links or downloading files from unreliable websites and blame the browser for not protecting you.
1. Set Tracking Protection
Edge offers three levels of tracking protection to prevent websites from collecting data – basic, balanced and strict. By default, the tracking prevention is enabled with balanced level to block known trackers and limit the personalized advertisements.
- Click on the “Settings and more” three dots icon showing on the top right corner and select “Settings” from the menu.
- Go to “Privacy, search, and searches” from the sidebar.
- Make sure the “Tracking prevention” is turned on.
- Select “Balanced” option for the optimal working.
Remember, setting strict tracking prevention may stop some websites to work properly. You can also enable strict mode and provide exceptions to only allow the exempted sites. Click on the “Blocked trackers” to view the list of trackers blocked by Edge and unblock if required for the proper working of a website.
2. Clear Browsing History
If you are using public computer, then make sure to delete your browsing history after you finish the work. Simply press “Control + Shift + Delete” shortcut keys when you are in Edge. It will open the “Clear browsing data” pop-up like below. Select “All time” for “Time range” and click on “Clear now” button.
By default, Edge will select items like browsing history, download history, cookies and site data, cached images and files and delete them. However, you can scroll down and select additional items for deletion like saved passwords and site permissions.
Note: If you have enabled IE mode in Edge, you will see an additional link in the “Clear browsing data” pop-up to clear IE mode history. Similarly, if you use multiple profiles in Edge, make sure to delete the history for correct profile as the history is stored separately for each profile.
3. Set Automatic Clearing of Browsing History
Clearing browser history is a clever idea to keep your activities private, however, you may forget to delete the history sometime. It will be annoying to see the shortcuts of websites you have visited on the new tab page unexpectedly. The solution is to permanently enable clear browsing history option whenever you close Edge browser.
- Go to edge://settings/privacy page and scroll down to “Clear browsing data” section.
- Click the option “Choose what to clear every time you close the browser”.
- You will see a list of items, select “Browsing History” and other options from the list as you need.
- Edge will automatically delete the selected items whenever you close the browser.
4. Use InPrivate Mode
This is the best option for browsing private websites in a common or public computers. Incognito or InPrivate mode in Edge will not save any browsing data when you close the browser. The sites will not appear in the history or on the new tab page quick links. You can press “Control + Shift + N” to open a new In-Private window.
5. Send Do Not Track Requests
When you are in Edge privacy settings page, scroll down to “Privacy” section and enable “Send “Do Not Track” requests” option. This will send a request to websites that try to track your activities by setting cookies. However, many websites do not process this request and simply ignore.
6. Disable Tracking from Microsoft
Though Microsoft claims they protect your privacy from other services like Google, they also track your browsing activities to serve relevant content and personalized advertisements. You can stop most of the data sharing with Microsoft, if not all, from the Edge privacy settings page.
- Edge new tab page by default will show the news feed from msn.com based on your browsing interests along with advertisements. You can stop sharing the browsing data with Microsoft by disabling “Personalize web experience” option in Edge privacy settings page.
- Similarly, you can disable sending optional diagnostic data to Microsoft. However, you cannot disable sending required diagnostic data which essential means Microsoft always collect some data from Edge. You can check out this article on how they process the diagnostics data.
- Finally, scroll down to the bottom of the privacy settings page and disable items available under “Services” section. Click on the “Address bar and search” option and disable site suggestions that appear automatically when typing in the address bar.
7. Set Website Permissions
Go to edge://settings/content URL in Edge and check under “Site permissions” section. Here, you can click on different items like location, camera, pop-ups and redirects, ads, notifications, etc. and block or allow access for individual websites.
You can also manage cookies and trackers when viewing the site in Edge by clicking on the padlock icon showing in the address bar.
8. Enable Defender SmartScreen
Defender SmartScreen allows to stop opening malicious websites and prevent suspicious downloads. You can enable this setting in Edge privacy settings page by turning on “Microsoft Defender SmartScreen” option. You can learn more about on how to use SmartScreen in Edge in our earlier article.
9. Enable Kids Mode and Family Safety Features
Many people do not know that you can use Edge in kids mode along with family safety features. Go to edge://settings/family page and setup these features to protect your family.
10. Use Safe Passwords
Edge offers complete password management within the browser. You can use the in-built feature to save passwords and use them across all your devices by logging into Microsoft account. You can use the following two settings to improve the privacy while using passwords in Edge under edge://settings/passwords page.
- Disable “Show the “Reveal passwords” button in password fields” option so that you or someone nearer to you cannot see the actual password entered.
- Enable “Show alerts when passwords are found in an online leak” option to get a warning when your passwords are leaked. Using this option, you can change to safe passwords to protect your data.
However, if you do not want to save passwords in Edge, then disable “Offer to save passwords” option.
Note: Most of the above explained settings in Edge will be greyed out if you are using organization network. You may need to discuss with your network admin or IT support to change the settings.