Edge Browser Goes Easy on Batteries in Windows 10 Creators Update

New enhancements to the Edge browser in the Windows 10 Creators Update help extend battery life, improve responsiveness and keep users safe from malicious websites.

Edge Browser Update 2

Windows 10 Creators Update is starting to make the rounds, and users who upgrade may notice sprightlier performance while using the Microsoft Edge browser along with better battery life.

Edge is the operating system's built-in browser and successor to the venerable Internet Explorer (IE). After the update is applied, Microsoft says users will be able to surf the web for a longer period between charges, at least compared to rival browsers.  

"Thanks to major improvements in Microsoft Edge, like encouraging HTML5 content over Flash, improving the efficiency of iFrames, and optimizing hit testing, Microsoft Edge on the Creators Update uses 31 percent less power than Google Chrome 57, and 44 percent less power than Mozilla Firefox 52, as measured by our open-source efficiency test that simulates real-world browsing," wrote Kyle Pflug, senior program manager of Microsoft Edge, in a blog post.

The energy savings can add up to a couple more hours of getting work done or squeezing in a movie or a couple more TV episodes into a binge-watching session. "In a head-to-head video rundown test, Microsoft Edge outlasted Google Chrome by more than three hours when streaming video," added Pflug.

Video performance aside, the Edge in Windows 10 Creators Update provides a more responsive experience overall, courtesy of an upgraded EdgeHTML 15 layout engine. The browser responds faster to clicks and other inputs like using the arrow keys to scroll on complex and JavaScript-heavy sites, said Pflug.

On the security front, Microsoft has made Edge more resistant to web-based attacks. The company has strengthened browser's sandbox capabilities, which effectively prevents websites from affecting other operating system components, said Pflug. Ongoing efforts to provide a safer experience for users has reduced the browser's attack surface by 90 percent in some cases, according to Pflug.

To combat arbitrary native code execution, a persistent threat that users often face when exploring some corners of the web, Microsoft added two features that make it tougher for attackers to target Edge. Code Integrity Guard and Arbitrary Code Guard throws a wrench into a malicious website's attempts to inject code into memory. The technologies also make it tougher for attackers to target Edge, a disincentive to building exploits for the browser, added Pflug.

For avid online shoppers, Edge now features a streamlined web payments component. The browser now supports the W3C's Payment Request API (application programming interface), enabling users who have linked their Microsoft Accounts to the browser to quickly and securely place orders, complete with payment and shipping information.

Extending the system software's newfound augmented- and virtual-reality capabilities, Edge supports WebVR 1.1, a draft specification that provides online VR experiences. "Developers can now use this API to create immersive VR experiences on the web with the recently available Windows Mixed Reality dev kits," stated Pflug. "You can even get started without a headset using the Windows Mixed Reality Simulator."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...