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Issue #729: July 11-17, 2021

Q: I am running the latest version of Windows 10 and am using their Edge browser. I have had my opening page set to for search. The latest update to Edge reset my opening page to their Bing search engine and I attempted to reset the opening page to as I had before. I have tried everything available in the settings menu and even gave up and enlisted Cox tech support to see if this simple adjustment could be made to getting the start page I want. After an hour of their trying we gave up. So now I log into Bing and click over to – a minor inconvenience but still a bit irritating. Do you have any insights into what might be going on with Edge and their insistence on opening with Bing to exclusion of others? I was able to use start page successfully for years. The problem developed after the most recent Edge update. I tried a system restore with no success.

– John S.
Niceville, Florida

A: Let me start by first saying that it is not really practical to try and use System Restore to remove major product updates, like Microsoft’s new Edge browser. Even if you do succeed in restoring your system to a point before the installation took place, Windows Update is going to detect that your system doesn’t have the latest update to the Edge browser, and it will download it and automatically install it for you, putting you right back where you started. Meanwhile, any other recent changes you’ve made are also rolled back.

I don’t have any special insight into it other than to say marketing marketing marketing. When has Microsoft ever just rolled over and accepted competition without having some ace up their sleeve to play when you least expect it? A browser reset seems like a perfect opportunity to also reset some of your personalizations – especially those that take your search business to their competition. Am I making accusations? I am not. But you reported an occurrence, and asked what “might” be going on.

Let’s go through some concepts, and then through some setups procedures, and see if we can get your browser to behave itself the way you want it, shall we? I want to be certain that you, and everybody else are aware of the distinction between your browser’s Home Page, Startup Page(s), and its Default Search Provider, because there is no concept of an “opening page” as you cited in your question.

There was a time, before browsers had tabs and could have multiple pages open simultaneously, that you could define one, and only one Home Page. When you launched the browser, it automatically loaded the defined Home Page. Also, if you clicked the Home button, which was always present on the toolbar, it loaded the defined Home Page, thereby replacing whatever content was currently loaded.

In the current version of Edge, this “Home” functionality has mostly been supplanted by the concept of Startup Pages, which open as a group when Edge launches. Your implementation might not even display the Home button by default anymore. The functionality is still there, it’s just a little harder to find in the settings.

To configure the Startup Pages, click the 3-dots button in the upper-right corner of Edge, and select “Settings”. In the Navigation bar that opens, click “On startup”. Select “Open a specific page or pages” and configure away. Note that Edge also has the ability to take a snapshot of all the currently open tabs, and use these at startup.

The configuration of the Home button is on the “Appearance” menu of the navigation bar of all places. Scroll down under “Customize toolbar” and you’ll see “Show home button”. Note that any page you configure here will not open when the browser launches, but only when you click the Home button.

Another thing that’s changed over time is the way browsers implement searching. You can search right from the address bar, and despite Microsoft defaulting to their own Bing search engine, you are ultimately in control of which search provider is used. In that Navigation Bar, click on “Privacy, search, and services” and scroll all the way down until you see “Address bar and search”. Click the right-pointing arrow. From here, find “Search engine used in the address bar” and click the drop-down to make your selection. You should even see your preferred DuckDuckGo as an option.

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